Hamilton dominates Hungary GPposted in F129 | 07 | 2018

    POLESITTER LEWIS HAMILTON dominated, what was, a rather processional Hungarian Grand Prix. The four-times world champ’s 67th  grand prix win — and sixth at the Hungaroring — means the Mercedes driver heads into the summer break leader closest rival Sebastian Vettel by 24 points. The Ferrari driver finished second, despite late contact with the Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas. (Related: Dazzling Hamilton steals German GP)

    Bottas’ race was compromised late-on as his tyres began to deteriorate. With five laps to go, and sitting in second, place the Finn tried to fight back after being passed by Vettel. Lacking grip, he outbraved himself and slewed into the Ferrari, badly damaging the front wing on his own Mercedes. (Related: Scot Sandy Mitchell bags Spa24h podium)

    Worse was to follow for Bottas when, a few laps later he again made contact, but tis time it was with the Red Bull of Daniel Ricciardo, ,as Kimi Raikkonen stole the final podium position. (Related: Jim Clark Lotus competition)

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    It had all looked good for Mercedes at the beginning when its two drivers cleverly orchestrated the the start from 1-2 on the grid, Bottas positioning his car behind Hamilton to deny the two Ferraris any chance of challenging his team leader.

    Vettel though did get ahead of team-mate Raikkonen, but Hamilton quickly established a comfortable six-second gap over Bottas who, in turn, was clearly holding up the Ferraris. The Finn though was forced to pit on lap 15 of 70 in response to Ferrari bringing in Raikkonen a lap earlier. (Related: Vettel wins British GP as Hamilton is spun)

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    At the front, Hamilton pitted with a lead of just over six seconds and initially fell back from Vettel, but then the Englishman used his fresh soft tyres to chip away and get back within 10s before Vettel finally stopped with 31 laps to go.

    The German’s pitstop though was shoddy, hampered by a problem with the front-left wheel. The delay meant Vettel emerged back behind not just Hamilton, but also Bottas, and meant the Ferrai driver could not maximise the performance in his ultrasoft tyres to chase down Hamilton. In the end, Vettel was stuck behind Bottas for 20 laps.

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    With five laps remaining, Bottas was forced to defend into Turn 1 as Vettel closed in. The German then cut back and got ahead on the outside heading to Turn 2, but Bottas braked too late as he tried to retain the place on the inside, clipped the inside kerb and hit the back of the Ferrari, breaking the front wing of the Mercedes. Somehow, Vettel continued without damage or a puncture.

    Despite the damage, Mercedes then decided keep Bottas out, but his damage left him susceptible to the charging Ricciardo. The Aussie got a run on the Finn down the start-finish straight with four laps to go.

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    As he was passing Bottas around the outside of Turn 1, the Mercedes driver locked up again and clattered into the side of the Red Bull, an incident that damaged Ricciardo's sidepod. Post-race the stewards slapped a 10-second penalty on to the Finn’s time.

    Ricciardo caught Bottas again and passed him with an undercut exiting Turn 1 on the final lap to complete a stunning fightback, having stated the race from 12th on the grid, and dropping back to 16th on the opening lap.

    The Aussie’s late promotion to fourth gave Red Bull some consolation after losing Max Verstappen early to a problem that led team boss Christian Horner to lambast engine supplier Renault mid-race.

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    Next season Red Bull will switch to Honda for 2019, and the Milton Keynes-based team will have been encouraged by the Japanese manufacturer scoring sixth place with Toro Rosso and Pierre Gasly.

    Haas driver Kevin Magnussen came home seventh, one place ahead of Fernando Alonso who extended his first stint and jumped a pack of cars that were ahead of the McLaren early on.

    Team-mate Stoffel Vandoorne should have made it a double-points finish for McLaren, but the Belgian retired from ninth with a gearbox problem in the final third of the race. That promoted the Renault of Carlos Sainz to ninth, with Romain Grosjean claiming the final point.

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    F1 — Hungarian Grand Prix, at the Hungaroring (Result):

    1. Lewis Hamilton GBR Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport 70 laps


    2. Sebastian Vettel GER Scuderia Ferrari + 17.123s


    3. Kimi Raikkonen FIN Scuderia Ferrari  + 20.101s


    4. Daniel Ricciardo AUS Aston Martin Red Bull Racing + 46.419s


    5. Valtteri Bottas FIN Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport + 60.000s*

    
6. Pierre Gasly FRA Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda + 73.273s 

    
7. Kevin Magnussen DEN Haas F1 Team + 1 lap


    8. Fernando Alonso ESP McLaren F1 Team + 1 lap


    9. Carlos Sainz Jr. ESP Renault Sport Formula One Team + 1 lap


    10. Romain Grosjean FRA Haas F1 Team + 1 lap


    11. Brendon Hartley NZL Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda + 1 lap


    12. Nico Hulkenberg GER Renault Sport Formula One Team + 1 lap


    13. Esteban Ocon FRA Sahara Force India F1 Team + 1 lap


    14. Sergio Perez MEX Sahara Force India F1 Team + 1 lap


    15. Marcus Ericsson SWE Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team + 2 laps


    16. Sergey Sirotkin RUS Williams Martini Racing + 2 laps


    17. Lance Stroll CAN Williams Martini Racing + 2 laps

    
Retired:

    Stoffel Vandoorne BEL McLaren F1 Team 49 laps


    Verstappen NED Aston Martin Red Bull Racing 5 laps


    Charles Leclerc MON Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team 0 laps

    *10-second time penalty for collision with Daniel Ricciardo

    Related: Verstappen wins as Mercedes implodes

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    Jim McGill

     

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