Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton won the Hungarian Grand Prix from pole position for Mercedes on Sunday to go into the August break with a 24-point lead over Ferrari rival Sebastian Vettel.
Vettel was runner-up, 17.1 seconds behind, and surviving a late collision with Hamilton’s team mate Valtteri Bottas who also banged bodywork with Red Bull’s Australian Daniel Ricciardo.
Ferrari, mourning the death of former chairman Sergio Marchionne, had Kimi Raikkonen finish third to complete a podium of champions on a dry and sweltering afternoon at the Hungaroring outside Budapest.
The victory was Hamilton’s record sixth in Hungary, fifth of the season and 67th of his career.
In a race effectively decided by Saturday’s wet qualifying, when Mercedes locked out the front row of the grid against expectation, Hamilton was never challenged.
“We came here knowing Ferrari would be really quick this weekend so to come out with these points, we’ll definitely take it as a bonus,” said Hamilton in a pitlane interview after embracing team members.
“I’m really happy with how strong it’s come in the last couple of races. We’ve got to come strong in the next half,” added the 33-year-old, who won in Germany from 14th place on the grid a weekend earlier.
After 12 races, Hamilton has 213 points to Vettel’s 189.
What a beautiful day it’s been! I’m so proud of the hard work, vision and determination by our team. A huge, huge thank you to everyone. Challenges were definitely presented to us this weekend and we overcame them together 🙌🏾 @MercedesAMGF1 #HungarianGP #F1 📷 @latimages pic.twitter.com/402taEflvK
— Lewis Hamilton (@LewisHamilton) July 29, 2018
Tyre strategies were also crucial at a relatively slow and twisty circuit where overtaking is always difficult, with track temperatures hovering around 50 degrees Celsius.
Vettel started on the softs and went for a longer first stint than Mercedes, worried by Ferrari’s quick getaways, who opted for ultrasofts that were quicker at the start but faded more rapidly.
Lining up in fourth place on the grid, Vettel grabbed third from Raikkonen immediately but could not find a way past Bottas who slotted in behind Hamilton as a defence against the red threat.
“We were out of position. I think we could have gone with Lewis today with the race pace,” said Vettel.
“P2 is not really what we wanted this weekend but I think it was the maximum today.”
Raikkonen, without water during the race after Ferrari forgot to connect the bottle, made two stops and agreed third — his fifth successive podium finish — was the best he could have hoped for in the circumstances.
“We caught up with Bottas after the first stop but there was no chance to overtake. So our option was to stop again and try again. At least we got one place back but far from ideal,” said the Finn.
“I think we had pretty good speed today. But what can you do? Sometimes it’s like that, but you take the points and go on to the next one.”
Ricciardo, starting 12th, finished fourth but his Dutch team mate Max Verstappen retired early on with a Renault engine failure that infuriated both driver and team boss Christian Horner.
“We pay multi-millions of pounds for these engines and for first class, or state-of-the-art, product and you can see it’s quite clearly some way below that,” said Horner.
Bottas ended up fifth and was called to see stewards about the collisions, with French driver Pierre Gasly sixth for Toro Rosso.
Kevin Magnussen was a lapped seventh for Haas, lifting the U.S.-owned team to fifth and ahead of Force India, with double world champion Fernando Alonso eighth for McLaren on his 37th birthday.
Carlos Sainz took two points for Renault in ninth and Romain Grosjean made sure of another for Haas.
2018 HUNGARIAN GRAND PRIX: RACE RESULTS
|4th||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull||+46.419|
|6th||Pierre Gasly||Toro Rosso||+1:13.273|
|7th||Kevin Magnussen||Haas||+1 LAP|
|8th||Fernando Alonso||McLaren||+1 LAP|
|9th||Carlos Sainz||Renault||+1 LAP|
|10th||Romain Grosjean||Haas||+1 LAP|
|11th||Brendon Hartley||Toro Rosso||+1 LAP|
|12th||Nico Hulkenberg||Renault||+1 LAP|
|13th||Esteban Ocon||Force India||+1 LAP|
|14th||Sergio Perez||Force India||+1 LAP|
|15th||Marcus Ericsson||Sauber||+2 LAPS|
|16th||Sergey Sirotkin||Williams||+2 LAPS|
|17th||Lance Stroll||Williams||+2 LAPS|
|DNF||Max Verstappen||Red Bull||Power loss|
— Formula 1 (@F1) July 29, 2018
The key stats
- Despite five wins before today in Hungary and four titles, none of Hamilton’s championships have come in the same year as he’s won at the Hungaroring.
- Hamilton’s 17.123s winning margin was the second largest of the year so far – the largest was Hamilton’s 20.593s in Spain.
- The last time Hamilton had a winning streak going into the summer break – his four consecutive victories in 2016 – he still lost the championship at the season end.
- Raikkonen’s podium was his ninth in Hungary, a record for the circuit. Despite that, he’s only won once here, back in 2005.
- Magnussen’s P7 was the first time the Dane has ever scored points in Hungary.
- Sainz, who finished P9, has scored in the last three Hungarian Grands Prix.
- It was Alonso’s 37th birthday on race day, and he maintained his record of always taking birthday points – he was 10th at Germany in 2001 and fifth in Hungary in 2012.
- Ricciardo maintains his 2018 record of only appearing on the podium after winning a race after finishing in P4.
- Similarly, Bottas maintains his own record of only appearing on the podium in second place after ending up P5 in Hungary.
- Hungary marked only the second time this season that both Haas cars have finished in the top 10. The other time was in Austria.