Hamilton wins in Hungary
It’s been over nine months in waiting, but Lewis Hamilton has finally secured his elusive tenth Grand Prix victory with a faultless drive from fourth on the grid, beating former world champion Kimi Räikkönen and Mark Webber to complete an unlikely podium. With the Red Bulls and the Brawns unable to provide a stern enough challenge to McLaren’s impressive pace, the Woking-based team ran home comfortable winners to take a victory that looked impossible just two races ago.
At the start, the light car of Alonso bolted off pole position and led comfortably on the first lap, while Hamilton just lost out to Webber in the scramble through turn 1, despite momentarily getting past the Australian. Front row starter Vettel had a dismal first few hundred meters, as he fell behind both Hamilton and Webber before losing more places while avoiding a collision with Räikkönen, slotting into sixth.
Although Alonso opened up an initial gap of three seconds, he was soon reeled in by Hamilton, who had passed Webber for second at the start of the fifth lap, using KERS to perfection into turn 1. Alonso pitted as planned on lap 12 with less than a second of an advantage, but had to return to the pitlane on the following lap thanks to a ilfitted wheel nut, resulting in him losing his right-front tyre half-way round the lap. The Spaniard was then forced to retire due to the damage caused, costing him a possible podium finish.
Hamilton then began to strech his legs at the front, setting numerous fastest laps which extending his lead over Webber to 5 seconds before the Australian pitted on lap 19 simultaneously with Räikkönen. Fuelling for a shorter second stint allowed Kimi to leapfrog the Red Bull, and although he was able to keep a stable gap to Hamilton over the course of that second stint, he was never quick enough to challenge for the win. Any chances of victory evaporated when he was unable to find first gear at his second stop, costing him four valuable seconds.
Ahead, Hamilton kept a steady pace, and emerged from his final pitstop with almost 15 seconds to spare over Räikkönen, a gap which had doubled during the stops. After backing off to ensure the win and save the car in the final laps, Hamilton took the flag 11 seconds ahead of Kimi to complete a magnificant turnaround for a driver who started the British Grand Prix from the back row of the grid on merit and ending a five-race points drought.
With Hamilton, Räikkönen and Webber locking out the podium places, Nico Rosberg secured his second consecutive fourth place finish. He just missed out on the podium when Mark Webber emerged ahead of him at the final round of stops and the German fell back from the Red Bull as the race neared its end. Heikki Kovalainen had to work hard in the final few laps to hold off Timo Glock for fifth, while Jenson Button picked up just two points for seventh after struggling with tyre wear and graining throughout the race. Jarno Trulli picked up the final point for Toyota, after getting pushed hard by Nakajima and Barrichello throughout his final stint.
As regards the championship battle, Mark Webber takes second place, 18.5 points behind Button, after team-mate Vettel failed to score after a front suspension problem resulted in retirement. However, with only two points here today, Button has scored just nine points in the past three races which has cut his lead over Webber from 33.5 points, while Vettel has also closed up considerably. Meanwhile, another poor race for Brawn GP has seen their constructors’ championship lead cut to 15.5 points, down from the 43.5-point lead they enjoyed after the Turkish Grand Prix.