Hamilton Victorious in Hungary
By: James Musoke on July 29, 2012 | 9:45 A.M. EST
Lewis Hamilton captured his second win of the season on Sunday. (Photo: Getty Images)
McLaren driver Lewis Hamliton claimed his second win of the season at the Hungarian Grand Prix, holding off a surging set of Lotus cars to become only the third driver to win multiple races this season.
Hamilton started the race from pole, holding off the speedy Lotus of Romain Grojean whose exceptional pace kept McLaren on their heels during the early stages of the race.
After two rounds of pits stops, it was Kimi Raikkonen's Lotus that took center stage and looked like a dangerous threat to the leading McLaren, who was now sprinting for the finish line. Raikkonen managed to close the gap to under a second numerous times, but could never quite get close enough to attempt a pass on Hamilton, who kept his composure to record his third career victory at the Hungaroring.
“Well, what can I say? I’m over the moon!” Hamilton said. “The team did a fantastic job! Absolutely brilliant! It was a really enjoyable race but it wasn’t at all easy. In fact, I reckon that it was one of the toughest races I’ve ever driven but, guess what, I’ll savor it all the more for that. I was under a lot of pressure throughout all 69 laps. First, Romain Grosjean and then Kimi Raikkonen were right behind me, all the way through, and I had to look after my tires without letting my pace drop, which was pretty tricky at times.
“The feel of the car is changing all the time. You get different messages from the tires with every lap. But they lasted - I managed to make them last. It was a case of managing the gap behind me, over the whole lap, every lap. In particular, I had to make sure that, every lap, I always had a big enough gap at the last corner, so that I wouldn’t be overtaken in the DRS zone on the pit straight. And I managed to do that every time. As I said, the team did an absolutely incredible job.”
Overall, it was an impressive day for the Lotus team, with Raikkonen coming from fifth place on the grid to finish second, and his teammate Grosjean coming in third place to earn the team a well-deserved double-podium finish.
"Both cars on the podium end a pretty good weekend for the team,” said Lotus Team Principle Eric Boullier. “For everyone back at Enstone, we must pay credit as they work so hard for results like this, but seldom get to taste the champagne at the track. I’m very happy that Romain came back after a tough weekend in Germany and I’m very happy to see Kimi fighting for the win. Our new approach to qualifying is delivering. We qualified better this weekend and we chased the leader of the race for many laps. On a different track layout which allows overtaking, I think we could have won this race.”
Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel finished the race in fourth place, ahead of the championship leader Fernando Alonso who rounded out the top five. McLaren's Jenson Button could only manage sixth place, with Williams driver Bruno Senna in seventh, Red Bull's Mark Webber in eighth, Ferrari's Felipe Massa in ninth and Nico Rosberg from Mercedes finishing 10th.
It was a grim day for the seven time World Champion Michael Schumacher, who ended up starting the race in last place because of an engine stall on the starting grid. Schumacher was then handed a drive-through penalty for speeding on pit lane, which dropped him even further behind the leaders. The German, who was won four times here previously, was forced to retire his Mercedes on the 58th lap for mechanical reasons.
“Today was obviously one of those races that you will not look back at for very long,” Schumacher said. “Our engine temperatures were very high before the start, and when the yellow lights came on, I switched the engine off. After I had started from the pit lane, I picked up a penalty and then a puncture. So all in all, the beginning of the race was not very pleasant for us.”
Alonso leads the championship with 164 points, with Webber in second place with 124. Vettel is in third with 122 points, ahead of Hamilton whose victory jumps him into fourth in the ladder in front of Raikkonen.
The Formula One Championship takes a four-week summer break and will return on September 2nd for the Grand Prix of Belgium at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps.