Hamilton shows his appetite in Hungary
Former world champions produces one of the drives of his career to claim victory
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain holds his trophy on the podium after winning the Hungarian F1 Grand Prix at the Hungaroring circuit in Mogyorod, near Budapest. Photograph: Laszlo Balogh /Reuters
A short time before the Hungarian Grand Prix Lewis Hamilton tweeted: “Some are born great, some achieve greatness and some have greatness thrust upon them.” He attached a picture of himself.
There is, perhaps, more Prospero than Malvolio in Hamilton. His drive yesterday illuminated his very different stage. Ignoring Mercedes’ almost neurotic relationship with their tyres, their engine overheating problems of the weekend and one of the most demanding circuits that Formula One has to offer, he produced one of the greatest drives of his already garlanded career. This win will rank alongside the very best of his 22 victories, his first in Montreal in 2007 and his rain-splashed triumph at Silverstone in 2008 as one of his most prized.
There were matters for him to overcome, not least a track temperature of C51 and ruthlessly determined world champions around him in Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen.
Niki Lauda, Mercedes’ non-executive chairman said: “He won the race because he drove sensationally, all the passing he did. He was the best today I’ve ever seen in my life. The way he passed people and the way he really got going. Generally we were not as quick as the Red Bull but Lewis really made it all up, especially the way he passed people. He was outstanding.”
Hamilton made a flying start from pole position and it looked even better as the world champion and current leader, Vettel, appeared to get stuck in the tarmac. In contrast, it was a horrible opening lap for Nico Rosberg, who twice ran wide. Rosberg retired, his car in flames, a few laps before the end.
Jenson Button started 13th and was soon up to eighth before eventually finishing seventh and his fellow Briton Paul di Resta also made up five places in quick time, from 13th to eighth. But his race would end in retirement just before the end. Mark Webber, who started with a charge on primes, also made progress through the field from 10th as those drivers who had started on soft tyres fell away.
Hamilton made the first of his three pit stops after nine laps and came out just behind Button. But he was not held up for long by his former team-mate and that was crucial. Vettel, though, came into the pits a couple of laps later than Hamilton and was not so lucky. Button kept the German in his rear-view mirror for 12 laps.
When Vettel eventually got past Button, Romain Grosjean attempted a similar move. But yet again the Frenchman did not leave himself enough space and he collided with Button. Grosjean was in more trouble when he was given a drive-through penalty for leaving the track on Turn four.
When Hamilton made his second pit-stop just before the halfway mark he came out behind Webber but, importantly, ahead of Raikkonen. After his third pit-stop he came out behind Webber once more but soon went past when the Australian ran wide.
That placed Hamilton behind only Vettel but the Red Bull man still had to make another stop and, when he did so, Hamilton was in the lead again, this time to stay and he won with over 10 seconds to spare.