Webber takes championship lead

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BUDAPEST, August 2- Australian Mark Webber took over as leader of the Formula One world championship on Sunday with a mature and measured victory in an incident-filled and controversial Hungarian Grand Prix.The 33-year-old Red Bull driver took full advantage of other people’s problems, including those of his German team-mate Sebastian Vettel, to produce an assured drive that brought him his fourth win of the season and the sixth of his career.

"It was a bit of a gift for me but you know I haven’t had many of them," said Webber, who was taking part in his 150th Grand Prix.

"It was an incredible day for the team. One-two was our goal but we were unfortunate not to get that."

Webber finished the 70-lap race 17.821sec ahead of two-time champion Fernando Alonso of Ferrari with Vettel, hampered by a drive-through penalty for infringing the safety car rules, finishing a frustrated and angry third in the second Red Bull at the Hungaroring.

"I didn’t understand what was going on and why I was penalised," said Vettel.

"I didn’t hear anything on the radio after briefly losing connection. I was warming up my car and was sure we had another lap (under the safety car). It’s a disappointing day for me."

Webber’s win lifted him to 161 points in the title race and ahead of 2008 champion Lewis Hamilton of McLaren, who was forced to retire with gearbox problems, on 157 points.

Vettel is now third on 151 with defending champion Jenson Button of McLaren fourth overall on 147 points.

Brazilian Felipe Massa finished fourth for Ferrari on the circuit where last year he suffered serious head injuries after a horrifying crash with Russian Vitaly Petrov grabbing his career-best finish in his rookie season in fifth place for Renault.

Another rookie, German Nico Hulkenburg, did the same by taking sixth place for Williams ahead of Spaniard Pedro de la Rosa of Sauber and Button, who came home eighth for McLaren.

Japanese Kamui Kobayashi, who started on the back row, was ninth in the second Sauber and Brazilian veteran Rubens Barrichello claimed the final point in 10th place for Williams after surviving a dangerous move by Michael Schumacher.

"It was the most dangerous incident of my career," said Barrichello, who was squeezed towards the pit wall by his former Ferrari teammate Schumacher.

The German seven-time champion was later penalised 10 places on the grid for the Belgian Grand Prix on August 29 for his controversial move.

Vettel, who had only translated one of his previous six pole positions into victory, enjoyed a near-perfect getaway off the grid as he left his rivals trailing.

In hot sunshine, with the track temperature at 46 degrees celsius and the air hovering around 28 degrees, it was always going to be a battle of attrition as much as speed and strategy on a track known as ‘Monaco without the barriers and houses’.

A safety car intervention on lap 16 because of debris on the track was the unexpected incident that slowed Vettel’s charge to victory and Red Bull responded by calling him in for a swift pit stop.

Others followed but Webber stayed out to inherit the lead when racing resumed on lap 18, with a lead of four seconds that he was soon extending.

In the mayhem of the pit-lane, Rosberg lost a wheel off his car during a bungled stop – a Sauber mechanic saved it from causing widespread injury as it careered wildly.

Then Robert Kubica was released too soon by Renault and collided with the luckless Adrian Sutil of Force India.

Hamilton was then forced out by transmission problems and, when an angry Vettel came through the pits shaking his fists, it was clear a dramatic finish was likely.

Webber, out in front, put his foot down to open up a 23sec lead before he pitted after 43 laps and, following a dazzling pit-stop by his crew, retained the lead to the finish.

In the constructors’ championship, Red Bull took over on top with 312 points ahead of McLaren on 304.

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