Lewis Hamilton achieved his 19th career Grand Prix victory with a lights to flag win at the Hungaroring, holding off the Lotus’s of Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean.
This was Hamilton’s third victory at the track and his second this season. Raikkonen’s impressive pace in the middle stint jumped him several track positions which was even more remarkable considering a technical issue with KERS. The Iceman recorded an excellent second position while his Lotus team-mate Romain Grosjean took third.
Hamilton led the majority of the Hungarian Grand Prix, but had a Lotus on his tail nearly all of the way.
Initially it was Romain Grosjean, who dismissed a strong challenge from Sebastian Vettel at the first corner, which allowed Jenson Button to then demote the Red Bull to fourth through Turns 2 and 3.
Button could not match Hamilton and Grosjean’s early pace, so the McLaren and Lotus pulled away in a two-car lead fight.
Hamilton had it under control, although Grosjean did apply some pressure for a while in the middle stint of their two-stop strategies when the Frenchman was on soft compound tyres and the Briton had medium Pirellis.
When Button made an early second of three stops, Vettel was free to start catching the leaders too, but in the end it was Raikkonen who was challenging Hamilton for the race win.
Raikkonen had been sixth in the opening stint, and then passed Fernando Alonso’s Ferrari in the first stops. His strong late-stint pace on a long run on soft compound Pirellis in his next stint then allowed the Iceman to lead for a spell and vault from fifth to second, firmly resisting team-mate Grosjean as he emerged from his final stop.
Hamilton and Raikkonen were then tied together until the chequered flag, but there was nothing the Lotus could do to pass the McLaren on this twisty circuit.
Grosjean held on to third place ahead of Vettel, who made a third pitstop without losing track position and charged back to attack the Lotus on fresh softs, to no avail.
Alonso calmly protected his championship lead on a difficult day for Ferrari, finishing fifth. For a while it looked like main title rival Mark Webber would trim a little from Alonso’s cushion. The Australian jumped from P11 to seventh on the opening lap, and then got ahead of Alonso at the second stops. But making a third tyre change cost Webber and he fell to eighth.
Button’s three-stop plan was also unsuccessful, as his second stop left him trapped behind Bruno Senna’s Williams. The 2009 world champion got back in front of the Brazilian in the final tyre changes then chased Alonso home in sixth.
Senna resisted Webber for seventh, delivering one of his best drives of the season on a day when his Williams team-mate Pastor Maldonado lost ground at the start then received a drive-through penalty for barging into Paul di Resta’s Force India.
Felipe Massa was ninth while Nico Rosberg salvaged a point for Mercedes. As for Michael Schumacher, the seven-time world champion endured one of his most depressing races in Formula One. The Mercedes driver was left on the grid in an aborted initial start, joined the race from the pits, received a pitlane speeding penalty, and then retired from P18 late on.
Birthday boy Fernando Alonso still leads the championship with 164 points – forty ahead of Mark Webber followed by Sebastian Vettel and race winner Lewis Hamilton – as the sport heads into a summer break. The drivers and teams will re-group at the magnificent Spa-Francorchamps circuit in a month’s time. After seven different winners in eleven races, the second half of the season will be fascinating.
Race results at the Hungaroring after 69 laps:
1. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1h41:05.503
2. Raikkonen Lotus-Renault +1.032
3. Grosjean Lotus-Renault +10.518
4. Vettel Red Bull-Renault +11.614
5. Alonso Ferrari +26.653
6. Button McLaren-Mercedes +30.243
7. Senna Williams-Renault +33.899
8. Webber Red Bull-Renault +34.458
9. Massa Ferrari +38.350
10. Rosberg Mercedes +51.234
11. Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes +57.283
12. Di Resta Force India-Mercedes +1:02.887
13. Maldonado Williams-Renault +1:03.606
14. Perez Sauber-Ferrari +1:04.494
15. Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari +1 lap
16. Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari +1 lap
17. Kovalainen Caterham-Renault +1 lap
18. Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari +2 laps
19. Petrov Caterham-Renault +2 laps
20. Pic Marussia-Cosworth +2 laps
21. Glock Marussia-Cosworth +3 laps
22. De la Rosa HRT-Cosworth +3 laps
Fastest lap: Vettel, 1:24.136
Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 63 laps
Schumacher Mercedes 61 laps
World Championship standings, round 11:
1. Alonso 164
2. Webber 124
3. Vettel 122
4. Hamilton 117
5. Raikkonen 116
6. Rosberg 77
7. Grosjean 76
8. Button 76
9. Perez 47
10. Kobayashi 33
11. Maldonado 29
12. Schumacher 29
13. Di Resta 27
14. Massa 25
15. Senna 24
16. Hulkenberg 19
17. Vergne 4
18. Ricciardo 2
1. Red Bull-Renault 246
2. McLaren-Mercedes 193
3. Lotus-Renault 192
4. Ferrari 189
5. Mercedes 106
6. Sauber-Ferrari 80
7. Williams-Renault 53
8. Force India-Mercedes 46
9. Toro Rosso-Ferrari 6
Next race: Belgian Grand Prix, Spa-Francorchamps. August 31-September 2.