Hamilton edges ahead of Rosberg in battle for Formula One title
Defending champion claims Hungarian Grand Prix in style after outpacing his Mercedes teammate at the start
Defending champion Lewis Hamilton produced a trademark triumph of pace and panache to win Sunday’s Hungarian Grand Prix ahead of his Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg.
The victory meant Hamilton edged ahead of Rosberg in the battle for this year’s Formula One title, with Hamilton on 192 points, six more than the German driver.
Hamilton outpaced Rosberg at the start and then controlled the 70 laps with a mixture of speed and flawless judgment in sweltering heat at the Hungaroring circuit.
His victory completed a hat-trick of successes in consecutive races, was his outright record fifth in Hungary, his fifth of the season and the 48th of his career.
Rosberg, who started from pole position, came home second ahead of Daniel Ricciardo of Red Bull, four-time champion Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari and Dutch teenager Max Verstappen in the second Red Bull.
“The start was everything,” said Hamilton. “I got a good start and one of the Red Bulls was on 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.”
A disappointed Rosberg said: “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 – the German Grand Prix – and it is my home race.”
The third-placed Ricciardo touched on his near-victory in Monaco in his comments on the podium.
“It’s great to have another podium this year,” he said. “The first one was a bit bittersweet but this one I can definitely enjoy – the smile is definitely back on my face.”
Kimi Raikkonen was sixth in the second Ferrari ahead of two-time champion Fernando Alonso of McLaren and Carlos Sainz of Toro Rosso, Valtteri Bottas of Williams and Nico Hulkenberg who was 10th for Force India.
After the deluge in Saturday’s qualifying, the race began in searing heat with air temperatures of 32 degrees Celsius and a track temperature of 52 degrees.
Hamilton made a flawless start to pull alongside Rosberg while Ricciardo surged forward on the outside in the run-up to turn one.
As they turned into the descending right-hander, Ricciardo attacked and briefly led before Hamilton responded as the front five squeezed through a sweeping trio of corners.
Rosberg, pushed back to third, fought back and emerged from the opening tussle back in second place ahead of the two Red Bulls, but he struggled to match the pace of the defending champion.
Jolyon Palmer, of Renault, was left shattered after a late-race spin cost him a chance to finish in the F1 points for the first time. The Briton, who finished 12th, said: “It was the best drive of my career but I spun it ... I’m gutted.”