Hungarian Grand Prix: Hamilton wins and leads championship
Lewis Hamilton powered to a controlled victory in the Hungarian Grand Prix – his fifth at the Hungaroring – and with it took the lead in the 2016 Formula 1 World Championship standings for the first time this season, with Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg in second and Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo claiming the final podium spot.
Victory for Hamilton catapults him to the top of the championship standings with 192 points to his credit, with Rosberg dropping down to second place with 186 points. In early May, Hamilton trailed his teammate by 43 points in the title battle.
Starting from second on the grid, Hamilton did all the hard work in the drag race to Turn 1 where he overcame pole sitter Rosberg, thereafter the Briton established a comfortable early lead before taking full control of proceedings.
When required he had the pace to keep Rosberg’s attacks at bay by simply going quicker when it mattered. The win was the 48th grand prix victory of his career, and also makes him the driver with most wins at the venue near Budapest.
Hamilton said afterwards, “The start was everything, I got a good start and one of the Red Bulls was in the inside of me so I was pressured a lot into Turn One. This is a great result for the team – what a day. Traffic was difficult today to navigate through but it was amazing.”
Rosberg fluffed his start and was forced to watch Hamilton grab the lead, heading out of Turn 1 the German had the rear-end of Daniel Ricciardo’s Red Bull in front of him and did well to muscle his way back into second through Turn 2.
Rosberg reflected, “It was all down to the start in the end. With Daniel on one side and Lewis on the other I was out of space and that was it really. It is not possible to pass on this track. We have the next race coming up very quickly and it is my home race.”
He made some tentative stabs at Hamilton’s lead but it would be fair to say he had no answer to the reigning world champion, and had to settle for second.
Ricciardo was feisty at the start but was soon in third where he remained all race long. Nevertheless the Australian was pushed hard by Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel right to the flag. But in the end he did enough to bag third place and with it third place in the drivers’ championship table after 11 rounds. Vettel was fourth.
It was a big smiling Aussie who said on the podium, “It’s great to have another podium this year. The first one was a bit bittersweet but this one I can definitely enjoy – the smile is definitely back on my face.”
One of the highlights, of a somewhat mundane race, once again involved Red Bull teenager Max Verstappen who spent the latter half of the race defending fifth place from a concerted attack by Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen.
Verstappen on aging soft tyres and Raikkonen on fresh supersofts slugged it out, with the veteran trying everything in his arsenal to get by the young Dutchman. But to no avail as Verstappen defended aggressively – too aggressively according to Raikkonen – the pair making contact at one point to the detriment of Raikkonen front winglets.
In the end Verstappen kept Raikkonen at bay, as he did at the Spanish Grand Prix – this time however it was for fifth place where he finished, ahead of Raikkonen who had to settle for sixth.
Fernando Alonso did well to finish in the McLaren, ahead of Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz in eighth, Valtterri Bottas ninth in the Williams and Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg claiming the final point for tenth.
Jenson Button had a forgettable afternoon at the track where he won his first grand prix. His McLaren suffered a loss of hydraulic pressure early on, but he continued until an oil leak eventually led him to retire form P19 after 60 laps.
The Briton was also incensed by a drive-through penalty he received for unauthorised radio communication between him and his pit wall.
The 2009 champion questioned the sanction as he insisted that his message that his brake pedal was “going to the floor” and the response it elicited was a safety issue.
Hungarian Grand Prix, Budapest – Race Result
|3||3||Daniel Ricciardo||RED BULL RACING TAG HEUER||70||+27.539s||15|
|5||33||Max Verstappen||RED BULL RACING TAG HEUER||70||+48.659s||10|
|7||14||Fernando Alonso||MCLAREN HONDA||69||+1 lap||6|
|8||55||Carlos Sainz||TORO ROSSO FERRARI||69||+1 lap||4|
|9||77||Valtteri Bottas||WILLIAMS MERCEDES||69||+1 lap||2|
|10||27||Nico Hulkenberg||FORCE INDIA MERCEDES||69||+1 lap||1|
|11||11||Sergio Perez||FORCE INDIA MERCEDES||69||+1 lap||0|
|12||30||Jolyon Palmer||RENAULT||69||+1 lap||0|
|13||21||Esteban Gutierrez||HAAS FERRARI||69||+1 lap||0|
|14||8||Romain Grosjean||HAAS FERRARI||69||+1 lap||0|
|15||20||Kevin Magnussen||RENAULT||69||+1 lap||0|
|16||26||Daniil Kvyat||TORO ROSSO FERRARI||69||+1 lap||0|
|17||12||Felipe Nasr||SAUBER FERRARI||69||+1 lap||0|
|18||19||Felipe Massa||WILLIAMS MERCEDES||68||+2 laps||0|
|19||94||Pascal Wehrlein||MRT MERCEDES||68||+2 laps||0|
|20||9||Marcus Ericsson||SAUBER FERRARI||68||+2 laps||0|
|21||88||Rio Haryanto||MRT MERCEDES||68||+2 laps||0|
|NC||22||Jenson Button||MCLAREN HONDA||60||DNF||0|
* Provisional results