Win In Hungary Gives Hamilton Championship Lead
Lewis Hamilton cruised to victory at the Hungarian Grand Prix to take the lead in the championship for the first time this season.
Rosberg finished closely behind the reigning world champion and got within a second on several occasions throughout the race but Hamilton could always find the extra pace to keep ahead.
Behind them, Ricciardo secured third place for Red Bull narrowly edging out Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel by just 0.674 seconds.
In another Red Bull and Ferrari battle, Verstappen and Raikkonen found themselves scraping with each other for much of the race only for the young Red Bull driver to claim fifth by 0.385 seconds.
Mercedes Dominant From The Start
The start of the Hungarian Grand Prix had all of the same hallmark’s as last year’s race with eager Red Bull drivers on the second row looking to make an early jump on the Mercedes cars.
This time, however, Verstappen tried to pass Hamilton on the inside of the opening corner but got squeezed out. Ricciardo did get alongside Hamilton around the outside of Turn 1 but when he had to slow down on the exit Rosberg seized his opportunity and passed the Australian.
From there, the top three stayed within seconds of each other through to the opening pit stop.
But as the race drew on Hamilton started to drop his lap times bringing Rosberg to within a second of the Englishman and the fast Ricciardo was closing the gap by about a second a lap. It prompted a stern ultimatum from the Mercedes pit wall to Hamilton: find some pace or Rosberg will be brought in first for the next pit stop.
Hamilton responded by going a second quicker on the next lap.
He was largely untouchable after that warning and managed to draw out a commanding gap over the challenging Red Bull.
There were some nervous moments, though, as the back markers slowed his progress and a mistake with 10 laps remaining put Rosberg on his tail. But Hamilton always had the extra speed and came home for a fifth win in Hungary to top Schumacher’s record.
“When you think that I grew up watching Michael, so to now have had similar, or one more, than he had here is just incredible.”
“I wouldn’t have [achieved it] without the great people I have worked with.”
Questions For Ferrari
The result in Hungary now puts Red Bull just one point behind Ferrari in the important constructor table.
For Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo, his third place extends his record of three podium finishes in three years at Budapest.
“I’m pleased with the podium.”
“I think the first part of the race we looked quite competitive. But then yeah, it looked like Mercedes had a bit more in their back pocket and were able to improve the pace as the race went on. In the end the fight was then with Sebastian.”
The fourth and sixth place finishes for the Prancing Horse was a disappointing result on the back of their win in 2015, and will almost certainly re-ignite the rumour mill about the future of Team Principal, Maurizio Arrivabene.
After the race, Arrivabene pointedly said: “you have to look ahead and not behind. But in the end we must not get distracted by what is going on around us.”
“But of course we can’t be happy if we stay off the podium not on it.”