As the Formula One fraternity prepare for a three-week summer break, Sunday's Hungarian Grand Prix only demonstrated further what an unpredictable season this has been. Just as McLaren-Mercedes looked as if they were going to dominate for a third successive race, Ferrari showed they have the pace to hold their own. Yes, it was a McLaren driver who won the race in the shape of Heikki Kovalainen, but it was undeniably Ferrari and Felipe Massa who were the stars of the show until an engine failure ended their race with just three laps to go.
After overtaking both Kovalainen and Lewis Hamilton at the start, the Brazilian then drove superbly as he edged away from the McLaren duo. Having won the previous two races and taken a commanding pole position on Saturday, you would not have blamed Hamilton for believing he only had to turn up on race day at the Hungaroring to claim the victory. But the Briton had no answer to Massa. He had been beaten fair and squarely before a blown engine wrecked his race, leaving Hamilton to finish fifth and be grateful for four points.
In warm temperatures Ferrari do appear to thrive. They are able to use their Bridgestone tyres best when the track conditions are hot, and undeniably Massa was a class apart from the McLarens. But despite being beaten on pace, it was Kovalainen's race and the Finn deserved some good fortune after a frustrating season where he has had plenty of bad luck. Massa's misfortune means Hamilton now leads the Brazilian by eight points in the title race, with world champion Kimi Raikkonen only five adrift after finishing third behind the Toyota of Timo Glock.
It is now seven races since Raikkonen last won and apart from France the Finn has rarely looked like returning to the top of the podium. A poor qualifying performance cost him here as it was only late in the event that he found clear air, where he showed he did have a strong pace in his Ferrari. The next round in Valencia on Aug 24 is going to be a step into the unknown with it being a new track. But on the evidence of Budapest, another thrilling duel between the two top teams will be in the offing.