Lewis Hamilton Wins And Extends Lead Over Sebastian Vettel

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Lewis Hamilton clinched a comfortable victory at the Hungarian GP. Hamilton recorded his 67th win and extended his lead to 24 points at the top of the drivers’ championship. Sebastian Vettel claimed second spot as he barged past Valtteri Bottas in the final laps. Kimi Raikkonen completed the podium places, his fifth podium finish in a row. Daniel Ricciardo finished fourth and Valtteri Bottas finished in fifth position. Pierre Gasly, Kevin Magnussen, Fernando Alonso, Carlos Sainz, and Romain Grosjean rounded off the top 10 positions.

Lewis Hamilton Wins And Extends Lead Over Sebastian Vettel

The race started under clear skies and hot conditions with air temperature at 34 degrees C and track temperatures at 51 degrees C at the Hungaroring. Lewis Hamilton started from pole position. Teammate Valtteri Bottas joined him on the first row.

Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel were on the second row. Carlos Sainz and Pierre Gasly lined up on the third row. Max Verstappen, Brendon Hartley, Kevin Magnussen, and Romain Grosjean lined up at the front of the grid.

All the drivers had a free choice of tyre compounds as they qualified in wet conditions. The two Mercedes drivers started on the ultrasoft tyres. Ferrari split their strategy, Vettel started on the soft tyres and Raikkonen started on the ultrasoft tyres. Lance Stroll started from the pitlane after his heavy crash in qualification had forced a front wing change.

The Start

Hamilton and Bottas made a clean getaway and led into turn 1. Vettel overtook Raikkonen on the outside to go third behind the Mercedes drivers. Verstappen immediately overtook Gasly and Sainz and took fifth position. Sainz dropped down to P8. Charles Leclerc and Sergio Perez collided and Leclerc was out of the race. Daniel Ricciardo started 12th and his collision with Marcus Ericsson dropped him to 16th place.

When the DRS was enabled the order was Hamilton, Bottas, Vettel, Raikkonen, Verstappen, Gasly, Magnussen, Sainz, Hartley, Hulkenberg, Alonso, and Grosjean.

Verstappen DNFs and Ricciardo Moves Up

On lap 6, Verstappen’s Renault engine lost power and the frustrated Dutchman vented his anger on team radio as he pulled off the track. The Virtual Safety Car (VSC) was deployed for a lap as his car was removed.

In the meantime, Ricciardo with his trademark overtakes was picking off car after car. By lap 11, he was in the points. By Lap 16, Ricciardo had made his way upto seventh position.

First Pitstops

Raikkonen was the first of the frontrunners to pit. The Finn pitted on lap 15 for the soft tyres and rejoined P6. On lap 16, Bottas pitted and fitted on the soft tyres and rejoined P4 behind Gasly. Hamilton and Vettel were playing the long game with their first stint. Hamilton had a lead of around 7 seconds over Vettel.

Finally, on lap 26, Hamilton also pitted. He went on to the soft tyres in what looked like a one-pitstop strategy for him. He rejoined second behind Vettel, with a 14-seconds gap. Hamilton on fresher tyres started cutting the lead.

On lap 39, Raikkonen made his second pitstop for a set of soft tyres. Finally, on lap 40, Vettel made his first pitstop and changed to the fast ultrasoft tyres. But a slow pitstop meant Vettel rejoined behind Bottas and spent the next 25 laps stuck behind him. Eventually, this cost him the chance to attack Hamilton for the race win.

At the end of the first set of pitstops for the frontrunners, the order was Hamilton, Bottas, Vettel, Raikkonen, Ricciardo, Gasly, Magnussen, Alonso, Vandoorne, and Sainz.

Vettel and Bottas Clash

Hamilton extended his lead at the front as he was in free air and was unchallenged. Vettel was stuck behind Bottas lap after lap, unable to overtake the Finn even when he was in DRS range.

The unlucky Stoffel Vandoorne who was running in the points had to retire with a gearbox issue. Raikkonen on the new soft tyres closed the gap to his teammate Vettel and pulled within a second of him. He was stuck behind Vettel as the German could not find a way past Bottas. Ricciardo who had extended his early stint for 44 laps was on a new set of ultrasoft tyres and closed in on the top 4 drivers.

Finally, on lap 65 Vettel overtook Bottas, struggling now on worn tyres. The two drivers collided and Bottas suffered front wing damage. Raikkonen also overtook him and the valiant Finn dropped to fourth place.

Soon Ricciardo was on his gearbox and Bottas had another collision with him. Ricciardo took fourth position and completed a great comeback drive. Bottas was penalized and given a 10-second time penalty and two penalty points on his licence for the collision.

Hamilton Clinches a Dominant Win

Hamilton won his fifth race of the season. The Briton with his second win in a row extended his championship lead to 24 points. This was Hamilton’s record sixth win at the Hungarian GP. Vettel and Raikkonen finished on the podium for Ferrari. But on a weekend during which they had the faster car, Hamilton’s victory was a blow.

Ricciardo with a comeback drive finished fourth and won the “Driver Of The Day” award. Bottas was put on a difficult one-stop strategy by Mercedes as he stopped early on lap 15 and had to manage the soft tyres for 55 laps. Eventually, the worn out tyres hurt him and he lost three places in the closing laps to finish fifth.

Gasly held on for a strong sixth position and a good haul of points for Toro Rosso. Haas F1 had a double-points finish, as Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean finished seventh and tenth respectively. Alonso on his 37th birthday essayed another gritty drive to finish eighth. Sainz who started a strong fifth eventually finished ninth.

Summer Break

Hamilton heads into the one-month long summer break with two wins in a row and momentum on his side. A 24-point lead over Vettel gives him a comfortable cushion. Vettel will rue some of the missed opportunities and has to come back with renewed energy to do battle with a formidable foe.

An intense first half of the 2018 season has drawn to a close with the drivers’ championship lead changing hands between Hamilton and Vettel many times. It is time for the drivers and teams to get a much deserved break and hit the reset button. The F1 season resumes with the Belgium Grand Prix at Spa (24th -26th August 2018).

Hungarian GP Race Results:

Pos No Driver Car Laps Time/Retired Pts
1 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 70 1:37:16.427 25
2 5 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 70 +17.123s 18
3 7 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 70 +20.101s 15
4 3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Racing TAG Heuer 70 +46.419s 12
5 77 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 70 +60.000s 10
6 10 Pierre Gasly Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda 70 +73.273s 8
7 20 Kevin Magnussen Haas Ferrari 69 +1 lap 6
8 14 Fernando Alonso McLaren Renault 69 +1 lap 4
9 55 Carlos Sainz Renault 69 +1 lap 2
10 8 Romain Grosjean Haas Ferrari 69 +1 lap 1
11 28 Brendon Hartley Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda 69 +1 lap 0
12 27 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 69 +1 lap 0
13 31 Esteban Ocon Force India Mercedes 69 +1 lap 0
14 11 Sergio Perez Force India Mercedes 69 +1 lap 0
15 9 Marcus Ericsson Sauber Ferrari 68 +2 laps 0
16 35 Sergey Sirotkin Williams Mercedes 68 +2 laps 0
17 18 Lance Stroll Williams Mercedes 68 +2 laps 0
NC 2 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren Renault 49 DNF 0
NC 33 Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing TAG Heuer 5 DNF 0
NC 16 Charles Leclerc Sauber Ferrari 0 DNF 0

Bottas received a 10-second time penalty for causing a collision with Ricciardo

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