Lewis Hamilton wins Hungarian GP to take lead in Formula One championship

Mercedes driver produces dominant display to claim eighth victory in race

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton celebrates after winning the Hungarian Grand Prix at the Hungaroring racetrack. Picture: Joe Klamar/Pool via AP
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton celebrates after winning the Hungarian Grand Prix at the Hungaroring racetrack. Picture: Joe Klamar/Pool via AP

Lewis Hamilton delivered a crushing performance to win the Hungarian Grand Prix and move to the summit of the world championship.

Hamilton dominated from start to finish to match Michael Schumacher’s record of winning at the same venue for an eighth time.

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The Briton finished ahead of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, with Valtteri Bottas third. Racing Point’s Lance Stroll took the flag in fourth ahead of Red Bull driver Alexander Albon and Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel.

Hamilton, who has now won two of the opening three grands prix, moves five points clear of Bottas at the top of the table in his quest for a record-equalling seventh title.

Following a deluge of rain an hour before the start, the race began in damp conditions. Indeed, Verstappen could count himself fortunate to even make the start after he thudded into the barriers on his way to the grid.

The Dutchman lost control of his Red Bull at the right-handed Turn 12, colliding with the wall and losing his front wing. But his mechanics pulled off a miracle job to ensure his wounded machine was repaired in time for lights out. Verstappen started in seventh, but he was soon up to third following an emphatic start in the greasy conditions.

Hamilton was supreme off his marks, too, leading the drag race down to the opening bend from Stroll and Verstappen. Remarkably, the Englishman finished the first lap three seconds clear of Stroll.

Starting alongside Hamilton, Bottas had been expected to take the challenge to his Mercedes team-mate, but his day was dealt a major blow after a poor start which saw him fall from the front row to seventh by the end of the first tour.

Bottas attempted to chase down Verstappen in the closing stages, taking on a new set of tyres with 20 laps remaining, but the Finn’s challenge fell just short. There were no such concerns for Hamilton who led by as many as nine seconds when he stopped on the third lap for slick rubber.

Verstappen stayed out for one lap more than his Mercedes rival, but his stop for dry tyres allowed Hamilton to assume the lead.

From there, the Englishman never looked back. He was even able to stop for a fresh set of tyres with four laps to run to take a bonus point for the fastest lap, crossing the line 8.7 seconds clear of Verstappen and lapping the entire field up to Albon in fifth.

As well as it being his third victory in a row at the Hungaroring, it was also his eighth in all here, matching Schumacher who won the French Grand Prix at Magny-Cours eight times.

Hamilton’s triumph, the 86th of his career, now moves him to within just five of Schumacher’s win record, and following Mercedes’ emphatic performance this weekend, the Briton is now the overwhelming favourite to join the German on seven championship triumphs.

Albon passed Vettel for fifth in the closing stages. Sergio Perez, who started fourth, finished seventh following a poor start. McLaren’s Lando Norris also suffered at the start, finishing a lowly 14th from his position of eighth on the grid.

“It was one of my favourite races,” said Hamilton. “While I was on my own out there, it was a different kind of challenge. We had great pace, great pit-stops and great strategy. It was perfect to get out on the fresh tyres in the closing laps and get the (fastest lap) bonus point.”

It was Hamilton’s second win in succession and he added: “In round one I was hit by multiple different punches that I was not ready for. But I refocused and the last two races have been fantastic. I have been on point this weekend so I need to keep it up.”

Verstappen said: “It was not what I wanted at the beginning but the mechanics did an incredible job to fix the car so to get second I am very pleased.”

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