Lewis Hamilton delivered a flawless drive from pole position to the chequered flag to win the Hungarian Grand Prix for McLaren and revive his challenge for this year’s Formula One drivers’ world championship.
The 27-year-old Briton took control of the race from the start and stayed in front, pit stops apart, as he resisted strong late pressure to come home ahead of Finland’s Lotus driver Kimi Raikkonen.
Raikkonen pushed hard to find a way of passing Hamilton in the closing laps, but the Englishman resisted despite having to fight to preserve his worn tyres.
Raikkonen finished a strong second ahead of his Lotus teammate, Frenchman Romain Grosjean, and defending world champion Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull.
Current world championship leader Fernando Alonso of Ferrari came in fifth, with Hamilton’s McLaren teammate Jenson Button finishing sixth.
Alonso stays on top of the drivers’ standings, but Hamilton closed the gap and his victory in the much improved McLaren boosted his team’s hopes of mounting a challenge for the title in the second half of the season following the annual summer break.
After 11 of this year’s 20 races, Hamilton is back in fourth place with 117 points behind Alonso on 164, Webber on 124 and Vettel on 122.
As they climbed the podium, a grinning Hamilton said to Raikkonen, “It’s just like old times, Kimi.”
The driver added, “It was an amazing day, fantastic work by all the team and the fans have been fantastic.
“I am looking forward to the continuation of the championship. There’s a long way to go and a lot of work to do but we have shown we can compete. It is very, very close but we are going to give it all we can.”
A less than ecstatic Raikkonen said that a problem with his car’s kinetic energy recovery system (kers) was partly to blame for his inability to catch Hamilton.
“We came second but we had some problems with the Kers,” said the Finn.
“We had some speed and we’ll try to win the next race. At least we are up there all the time and we put ourselves in a good position but we are not happy until we win.”
Michael Schumacher ended a dreadful day in 24th and last place, seven seconds adrift of compatriot Timo Glock.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 30th, 2012.
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