Lewis Hamilton put aside all talk of Mercedes burning up their tyres in the heat to take victory at an extremely hot Hungaroring.
With the track temperature nudging 51 degrees C at the start of the 70-lap grand prix, even polesitter Hamilton feared he would be out of contention before long. However, with Sebastian Vettel having to fight off Romain Grosjean at the start, and getting stuck behind Jenson Button, Hamilton began to build a lead.
The 2008 World Champion also made decisive overtaking moves after pit-stops, while Vettel had to drop back from cars he was following because of overheating issues.
Romain Grosjean had an eventful race but a drive-through penalty and contact with other cars dropped him to P6, while team-mate Kimi Raikkonen's two-stop strategy allowed him to gain position on Vettel and hang on until the flag.
It was potentially going to be one of the hottest grands prix of recent years with temperatures expected around 38C and a predicted track temperature of up to 55C. In the end the blistering Hungaroring climbed to 34C on Sunday with 51C on the track - but that was hot enough.
Grid: 1.Hamilton, 2.Vettel, 3.Grosjean, 4.Rosberg, 5.Alonso, 6.Raikkonen, 7.Massa, 8.Ricciardo, 9.Perez, 10.Webber, 11.Sutil, 12.Hulkenberg, 13.Button, 14.Vergne, 15.Maldonado, 16.Bottas, 17.Gutierrez, 18.DiResta, 19.Pic, 20.Van der Garde, 21.Bianchi, 22.Chilton.
Webber, Perez and Button would start on the Medium tyre, while the top 8 would be on Softs.
With a large amount of dust swirling around the bowl-like circuit, a start from the dirty, even-numbered side of the grid was a distinct disadvantage and as the red lights went out P2 Sebastian Vettel immediately came under pressure from Romain Grosjean in P3 on the outside and Nico Rosberg on the inside. Lewis Hamilton was well clear of the melee behind but as the cars flowed through Turns 1 and 2 Vettel worked hard to keep Grosjean at bay who in turn had Alonso to contend with.
Alonso made a place up past Rosberg but would have to settle in behind Grosjean. His Ferrari team-mate Felipe Massa was engaged in a tussle with Raikkonen down to Turn 4 when Rosberg came in from the side and swiped his front wing. Rosberg immediately dropped back through the field and finished the opening lap in P12.
Positions on Lap 1: 1. Hamilton, 2.Vettel, 3.Grosjean. 4.Alonso, 5.Massa, 6.Raikkonen, 7.Webber, 8.Button, 9.Ricciardo, 10.Perez, 11.Maldonado, 12.Rosberg, 13.Di Resta, 14.Sutil, 15.Hulkenberg, 16.Vergne
Webber had jumped from P10 to P7, Button was up to P8 from P13 and Paul Di Resta had made up five places and passed his Force India team-mate.
Sebastian Vettel, having weathered the storm at the start of the race was keen to keep Lewis Hamilton in DRS range and by Lap 2 the gap was just 0.5 seconds. Then on Lap 3, Lewis claimed the Fastest Lap and began to edge clear, to 0.7 and then to 0.9 on Lap 4.
Romain Grosjean was still in very close attendance to Vettel but dropping Fernando Alonso a long way back; by Lap 5 the Frenchman had opened up a 5.4 gap on Alonso.
With Webber and Button having started so strongly on the Medium tyres, the front-runners on Soft tyres were eyeing the gaps between themselves and the 7th and 8th place men fearful that they would exit behind them and get stuck.
Hamilton was only two seconds ahead of Vettel on Lap 8 and with his sector times falling off on Lap 9 he dived into the pits at the end of the lap. He exited just behind Jenson Button's McLaren. With Button likely to go till the mid-twenties before pitting again, it was crucial to get past quickly , which he did on Lap 11 under DRS at Turn 1, just as Vettel was pitting.
Vettel exited right behind Jenson Button and so Lewis Hamilton now had a buffer. With Fernando Alonso pitting at the end of Lap 12 that left the two Lotuses in P1 and P2 - and such was Grosjean's pace (and Vettel being held up behind Button) that it seemed inevitable that Grosjean would leapfrog Vettel when he pitted.
The two Lotus cars came in line astern on Lap 13 but it was perhaps a lap too late as Grosjean was still behind Vettel and Raikkonen had fallen to P10 when they emerged.
Positions on Lap 14: 1. Webber (not stopped), 2.Hamilton, 3.Button (not stopped), 4.Vettel, 5.Grosjean, 6.Alonso, 7.Perez (not stopped), 8.Sutil (not stopped), 9.Massa, 10.Raikkonen, 11.Gutierrez (not stopped), 12.Maldonado.
By Lap 16 Vettel's frustration at being tucked up behind the McLaren began to boil up and he had a look inside Jenson Button in the first two corners. At the same time he was getting information from his engineers that the car was overheating and he needed to drop back into clean air..
This didn't stop him trying again on Lap 17. Button drove defensively and kept Vettel out, but the Red Bull damaged its front wing in the attempted pass as the two cars touched at Turn 2 - Vettel nudging Button's rear tyre and losing some front wing elements. What's more, Romain Grosjean saw this as his opportunity to get past Vettel. He couldn't make it, but all the jockeying for position allowed Fernando Alonso to close up by two seconds and join the battle.
Vettel obliged his engineers and dropped back while asking them to look at the front wing damage on his car. Grosjean wasn't finished with him, though, and on Lap 19 the two ran side by side toward Turn 2. Vettel kept the place. Behind them Kimi Raikkonen had more success getting past Felipe Massa who made an inexpert move on the Force India of Adrian Sutil and lost more carbon fibre off his Ferrari - which hadn't had the nose changed in the first stops.Freed of Massa, Kimi began to put in purple (fastest) sectors as he chased down Perez, the next car up the road. Adrian Sutil had been pulled back into the pits by the Force India to examine what would be a terminal hydraulic leak. Raikkonen didn't have to pass his favourite Mexican because on Lap 23 both Webber and perez pitted for the first time.
Vettel was now a colossal ten seconds behind Lewis Hamilton and finally found a way past Jenson Button on Lap 24. Grosjean tried a move too but the pair banged wheels after Grosjean was virtually past him, causing the Lotus to miss the chicane. Button then pitted for the first time. Grosjean came in a lap later - a precautionary stop as he'd only done 12 laps on a set of Mediums having made his Softs last for 13.
Positions on Lap 261.Hamilton, 2.Vettel, 3.Alonso, 4.Webber, 5.Raikkonen, 6.Massa, 7.Grosjean (two stops), 8.Button, 9.Rosberg, 10.Maldonado, 11.Hulkenberg, 12.Perez.
On Lap 26 the gap between Hamilton and Vettel was 13.3 seconds and this was gradually whittled down to 11.9 seconds by Lap 30.
Romain Grosjean produced a breathtaking overtaking move on the outside of Felipe Massa at Turn 4 on Lap 29 but spectacular as it looked, the stewards viewed that he had put all four wheels off the circuit to make it. With his incident cutting the chicane to pass Jenson Button also under investigation, Romain would end up with a drive-through penalty for one, and a post-race investigation for the other. Button (who had taken on Softs for the middle stint) made a more conventional pass on Massa a few laps later into the Turn 6 chicane.
On Lap 31 Lewis Hamilton was back into the pits for his second stop of what would now be three pit-stops over the 70-lap race. He exited behind Mark Webber in P4. It looked like the perfect opportunity for Red Bull to hold up the Mercedes, just as Button had held up Vettel, but on Lap 34 Hamilton muscled his way past the Australian into Turn 3, while Vettel and Alonso headed for the pits.
Vettel presumably didn't have a smile on his face as he exited the pits to find Jenson Button's Mclaren struggling with a Caterham.
Positions and Gaps on Lap 35:Hamilton 1.2 Webber 1.7 Raikkonen 5.4 Grsojean 5.3 Button 0.7 Vettel 7.8 Alonso 14.0 Perez 2.2 Massa.
Vettel didn't spend too long behind Jenson Button and managed to pass him again on Lap 37, the same lap that Jenson was coming in to get rid of his Softs and pick up his final set of Mediums. He was joined in pitlane by Romain Grosjean serving his drive-through penalty. Without it the Lotus driver would have demoted Fernando Alonso to P6, but as it was it brought him out right behind the Ferrari.
Having worried about the extreme temperatures, Mercedes were obviously feeling confident as Lewis Hamilton was allowed off the leash to record Fastest laps on Laps 39, 40 and 41.
On Lap 42 Kimi pitted for the final time having run a 29-lap stint. A lap later and Mark Webber came in for the second time. Webbo, having started on the Medium tyre still had to run the Softs and so when he was given a set of Mediums it was clear that he would have to stop again.
Positions and Gaps on Lap 44:Hamilton 15.1 Vettel 8.5 Webber 2.8 Alonso 0.8 Grosjean 4.5 Raikkonen 14.3 Button 1.4 Massa 2.8 Rosberg, Maldonado, Perez, DiResta.
Valtteri Bottas's Williams succumbed to the heat and died on the outside of Turn 14 and the DRS was temporarily disabled while the cars was recovered just off the start/finish under yellow flags. The last thing Lewis Hamilton wanted to see at that stage was a Safety Car.
Alonso came in for the final time on Lap 48 and Hamilton pitted from the lead on Lap 50 - at that stage Lewis had built a lead of 15.4 seconds. When he emerged he faced the rear wing again of Mark Webber who had relatively fresh tyres this time round having come in on Lap 43. Handily for Lewis he made to pass the Red Bull just as they came upon a Sauber and while Hamilton dived for the inside at Turn 3, Webber was stuck on the outside again as Hamilton swept him out wide at the exit.
Positions and Gaps on Lap 52:Vettel (one stop left) 7.6 Hamilton 2.0 Webber (one stop left) 7.4 Raikkonen 16.8 Alonso 1.5 Grosjean 3.8 Button 17.7 Massa
Vettel pitted at the end of Lap 55 and set off three seconds behind Kimi Raikkonen. By Lap 60 he was just 0.7 seconds behind the Finn, but after an initial look decided to bide his time and wait for Kimi's tyres to mature, close to the 28-lap vintage.
Mark Webber came in for his compulsory final time on Lap 59 and exited into the enormous gap between Vettel and Alonso in P4. He set off on his Softs, collecting Fastest Laps, but with no hope of catching Vettel or Raikkonen unless they had a coming together. Grosjean was stuck in P6 at less than a second behind Alonso but seemed to have run out of adventure for the afternoon. Button was a long way back in P7 and cruising to the flag.
Up front, Hamilton had a 10.8 second gap over Raikkonen but wasn't easing up, even after Nico Rosberg's engine gave way in clouds of smoke on Lap 66.
Vettel stopped biding his time on Lap 67, just as his engineers radioed through the coded message Fail 22 (possibly a speed sensor). Whether this was meant to keep him from risking a lunge against the Lotus it didn't work because on Lap 68 Raikkonen had to make his car very wide at Turn 4. The Red Bull's front wheel was only alongside the sidepod of the Lotus as he was pushed out wide onto the marbles and then had to spend a lap getting the tyres clean again. It would never have come off.
Vettel closed up on the final lap but couldn't find a way through. Lewis, despite the scare from Rosberg, was happily setting Personal Best sector times on his penultimate lap, having already declined to take the engineering team's advice about changing the dif.
He crossed the line for his first Mercedes victory ten seconds clear of Raikkonen and a frustrated Vettel who had been showing signs of fatigue in the car, resting his head against the cockpit sides. Webber was only 5.5 seconds shy of a podium place emphasizing what kind of job he could have done if he'd had the car 100% in qualifying.
Alonso was a distant P5 his only bonus holding off Romain Grosjean expertly for something like 14 laps. Button took P7, Massa P8, Perez P9 and Rosberg's retirement meant that Pastor Maldonado scored Williams' first point of the year.
It had been an exciting race, one which the Mercedes team had held out little prospect of winning, given their lack of experience with the new Pirelli tyre. The large Finnish contingent in the crowd celebrated Kimi Raikkonen's second place, but both he and Lewis Hamilton know that it will take a bigger reversal of fortunes than getting-stuck-behind-Jenson-Button to rob the third place man of his fourth World Championship.
01 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes
02 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus 10.900
03 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 12.400
04 Mark Webber Red Bull 18.000
05 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 31.400
06 Romain Grosjean Lotus 32.200
07 Jenson Button McLaren 53.800
08 Felipe Massa Ferrari 56.400
09 Sergio Perez McLaren 1 lap
10 Pastor Maldonado Williams 1 lap
11 Nico Hulkenberg Sauber 1 lap
12 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1 lap
13 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso 1 lap
14 Giedo van der Garde Caterham 2 laps
15 Charles Pic Caterham 2 laps
16 Jules Bianchi Marussia 3 laps
17 Max Chilton Marussia 3 laps
18 Paul di Resta Force India 4 laps
19 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 6 laps
Did Not Finish
Valtteri Bottas Williams 28 laps
Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 42 laps
Adrian Sutil Force India 51 lap