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Lewis Hamilton of McLaren won yesterday’s Hungarian Grand Prix for a second victory in this year’s Formula One championship as he revived his faltering title challenge.
Lotus duo Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean were second and third after 69 laps of the Hungaroring circuit near Budapest. Defending two-time world champion Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull was fourth, followed by Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso, who extended his lead in the standings. The Spaniard was aiming for a 31st career victory on his 31st birthday.
Yesterday’s win was Hamilton’s third in the race and the 19th of the Briton’s career. He moved up one place to fourth in the drivers’ event, and narrowed his deficit on Alonso to 47 points from 62. Having scored only four points in the previous three races, he vowed to increase the pressure on the Spaniard, a two-time world champion.
“An amazing day, fantastic work by all the team and the fans have been fantastic,” Hamilton, world champion in 2008, said at the post-race presentation. ‘There’s a long way to go and a lot of work to do but we have shown we can compete. We are going to give it all we can.”
McLaren’s Jenson Button and Williams’s Bruno Senna were sixth and seventh. Then came Mark Webber (Red Bull), Felipe Massa (Ferrari) and Nico Rosberg (Mercedes). Alonso increased his lead by 6 points with yesterday’s result, and is now on 164. Webber, his closest competitor, has 124, followed by Vettel (122), Hamilton (117) and Raikkonen (116).
Hamilton made a strong start from pole position, followed by Grosjean. Button quickly got past Vettel to take third spot and Alonso moved past Raikkonen to take fifth. Webber surged from 11th to seventh.
That remained the pattern until lap 16, when Button went into the pits, re-emerging in eighth.
After leading drivers pitted by lap 22, Hamilton maintained the lead, ahead of Grosjean, Button, Vettel, Raikkonen and Alonso. Halfway through the race Button made a second stop to put on soft tires, dropping him to eighth, and he then lacked the pace to make a quick move up the field.
Raikkonen, who hadn’t yet made a further pit stop, showed great pace to build up a 14-second lead, followed by Hamilton, Grosjean and Vettel. Raikkonen then did stop and forced his teammate Grosjean to go wide as he re-emerged to take second position behind Hamilton. Then came Grosjean, Vettel and Webber.
Raikkonen kept up the pressure on Hamilton in the closing laps, but the Briton managed to stretch his lead to 1.2 seconds from 0.9 and held on for the victory.
“We came second, it’s not enough but we had very good speed and we’ll be trying again to win,” Raikkonen said. “At least we’re up there all the time. We’re not happy until we win.”
Red Bull leads the constructors’ standings on 246 points, ahead of McLaren (193), Lotus (192) and Ferrari (189).
Formula One now takes a break before the Belgian Grand Prix, the 12th in a 20-race series, at Spa-Francorchamps on Sept. 2.
“I think the summer break will be important, mentally and physically, but we must know we have a lot of work to do,” Hamilton told reporters. “Fernando still got 10 points, but if we can stay like this and be consistent we can close the gap.”
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