Formula One News » Hamilton secures maiden win with Mercedes in Hungary Posted on 28/07/2013
Hamilton had been pretty pessimistic about his chances going into the race, but he made a good start from pole position and three-stopped his way to success, eventually beating Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel, who were second and third respectively, by just over 10 seconds.
It was Hamilton’s fourth victory at the Hungaroring and it sends him into the summer break on a real high.
“This is an incredible feeling,” said Hamilton. “The team did a brilliant job. We hoped the tyres would work, but we had no idea it would go as well as it did. The last 20 laps we were just managing the tyres and cruising.
“I think you could tell though I was hungry for it today. I usually get stuck in track. But I was not having it today. I was just going for it.”
“[Overall], it is probably one of the most important wins of my grand prix career and I hope there is now many more wins to come,” Hamilton added.
Raikkonen meanwhile utilised a two-stop strategy in his Lotus to haul himself up from sixth to second at the flag, despite coming under intense pressure late on from Vettel. At the finish just 1.5 seconds split the two.
“Obviously I keep making life difficult on Saturday [by not qualifying very well] and we paid the price. We did two stops and it was tight with Seb. We knew it would be. The tyres really dropped off on the last 2-3 laps, but I had no doubt I could hold him off,” stated the Finn.
“It was not the best race for me,” added Vettel. “The start was difficult. I lost a bit and then I came out behind Jenson [Button, after my first stop]. I damaged the front wing battling with him [on lap 17], but then we tried to hang in there and fight back.
“We did all we could.”
Despite only taking third though, Vettel still increases his lead in the Drivers’ Championship, and the Red Bull man now has a 38-point buffer on Raikkonen. Kimi moves up to second in the Drivers’ classification, 1 point ahead of Fernando Alonso. In the Constructors’, Red Bull Racing also stay top, now 69 points up on Mercedes (277 points versus 208 points).
Behind, Mark Webber put his woes in qualifying firmly behind him to take a strong fourth in his Red Bull RB9, just 5.5 seconds behind Vettel, while Alonso was fifth, 13.3 seconds further back and over 30 seconds off the winner, much to his and Ferrari’s disappointment.
“This race ends what’s been a generally difficult month for us and, with Silverstone and Nürburgring, is part of a cycle where we were not up to par,” Alonso conceded.
“However, looking at the points we have obtained, we haven’t lost out too much and today, Hamilton and Raikkonen helped us to keep the gap from growing too big to Vettel in the lead,” the Spaniard continued.
“Now, our aim is to work hard to arrive at Spa and Monza with a more competitive car. There are still nine races to go and the points available are more than enough. The team can do it and the potential is there, so I don’t see any reason why we can’t fight right to the end of the championship, as we have always done”.
Lotus #2 Romain Grosjean completed the top-six, despite picking up a drive-through penalty for his move on Felipe Massa on lap 29 in Turn 4, after all four wheels went off track. His earlier move on Jenson Button – some 5 laps earlier – also caused controversy and post-race the Frenchman was hit with a 20-second time penalty, although it didn’t affect his finishing position.
Further back, Button ended up seventh for McLaren, with Massa’s Ferrari eighth and team-mate, Sergio Perez ninth: “That was a fun race – although I seemed to be a target for other cars!” Button remarked. “Sebastian tried many times to get past me, and clipped my rear wheel into Turn Two – he may have damaged his wing, but I was lucky not to puncture. With Romain, I don’t know what he thought – unless I took to the grass, it was inevitable we were going to touch! I don’t think he was thinking at that point.
“Seventh position might not look too exciting – particularly after we fought for fifth at the last race – but we’ve done a good job this weekend and taken a step forward – and that’s a nice little boost to send everyone off into the summer break.”
Pastor Maldonado took tenth and the final point to finally get Williams off the mark, inheriting the position late on when Mercedes man Nico Rosberg had to retire with an engine blow out.
“I had a really good start from P15 and made a few overtaking manoeuvres during the race which were on the limit, which is especially pleasing as at this track it is very hard to overtake,” said Maldonado. “The car felt consistent, maybe not as fast in the second and third stints, but very consistent.
“I really want to keep scoring points now and be even stronger during the second part of the season.”
Of the rest, Nico Hulkenberg finished in P11 for Sauber, with Toro Rosso’s Jean-Eric Vergne and Daniel Ricciardo 12th and 13th, followed by the Caterham’s of Geido van der Garde and Charles Pic and the Marussia’s of Jules Bianchi and Max Chilton in positions 14 through to 17.
In terms of retirements, in addition to Rosberg, Paul di Resta also retired late on, suffering a hydraulic issue, similar to the one that sidelined his Force India team-mate, Adrian Sutil, just 19 laps in. Williams’ Valtteri Bottas and Sauber’s Esteban Gutierrez also failed to finish, with the former stopped by hydraulics, while the latter had gearbox problems.
F1 now goes on its summer break before resuming with the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps, which runs from August 23-25.