Published: Wed, August 01, 2018
Sport | By Matt Richards

World champion Lewis Hamilton rules in Hungary to stretch his lead

World champion Lewis Hamilton rules in Hungary to stretch his lead

Lewis Hamilton will head on his summer holidays 24 points clear of Sebastian Vettel after winning the Hungarian Grand Prix.

"I think Lewis had a lot in hand", Vettel said.

Hamilton in lead doesn't mean that he has significant immunity in the championship race.

After crashing out of the lead of the German Grand Prix one week ago, Vettel missed out on a shot at victory in Hungary this weekend despite having the quickest auto in normal conditions. That he isn't must surely be a cause for concern at Maranello, even if the German was not admitting it after the race. "I am really, really happy to be going into the break with back-to-back wins, and that boost will last a long time for our team, and that is encouraging for everyone".

The victory was Hamilton's record sixth in Hungary, fifth of the season and 67th of his career.

Vettel started on the softs and went for a longer first stint than Mercedes, anxious by Ferrari's quick getaways, who opted for ultrasoft that were quicker at the start but faded more rapidly.

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But the rain in qualifying turned events in Hamilton's favour. "We've got to try and catch them", said Hamilton of Ferrari's perceived pace advantage.

Overtaking is notoriously hard at the Hungaroring but, even so, the concern at Mercedes before the race was how to prevent Vettel from beating them even from fourth, so much faster did they believe the Ferrari was in the hot, dry conditions.

Vettel was on a different tyre strategy to his rivals in Hungary after starting on the soft compound tyre rather than the ultra-soft.

The bad news for Sebastian Vettel is that Lewis Hamilton usually gets stronger after Formula One's summer break.

Despite running on ultrasoft tyres against the softs on the Mercedes, Vettel then had to spend nearly twenty laps behind Bottas while an untroubled Hamilton cruised to victory.

Bottas and Vettel made contact as the Ferrari driver overtook the Mercedes for second position at Turn 2 and squeezed Bottas towards the apex.

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The Ferrari driver emerged behind Bottas, and it looked set to finish that way before Vettel took second by driving round the outside of the Finn at the first turn with five laps to go. It would have been close.

These five seasons were dominated by Vettel, who finished second once and won the other four championships.

"Still 20 laps from the end everything was feeling OK, I had good control of the pace and my position".

"I got a hit from behind".

"I don't know how much length the tyre was on but I guess it was around 50 - 54 laps", he said of Bottas following his early stop in reaction to Kimi Raikkonen's early stop, "the tyre was completely shot". A pit stop here costs around 21 seconds.

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