Lewis Hamilton has kicked off the summer break in style – winning the 2018 Hungarian Grand Prix and extending his title lead in the Championship.
Throughout the weekend, Ferrari and Red Bull Racing looked to be the dominant teams with what was claimed to be a ‘damage limitation’ weekend for the Mercedes-AMG Petronas team however it all changed in Qualifying where Lewis Hamilton claimed his 77th pole position following the rain fall.
Today, before the race the sun was shining and the weather temperatures were soaring – it all looked like things would play into the hands of Ferrari however with a great start, Lewis Hamilton maintained the lead and got away to control the race.
Overall, it was a clean start with drivers keeping out of trouble. A little issue for Leclerc who’s race ended early however it was tyre management for most of the teams, knowing that at a later stage there would be overtaking and battles to get through.
“No Power!” Another disaster for the Red Bull Racing team with another failure – this time for Verstappen who suddenly lost power, pulled up on the side of the track and brought along a Virtual Safety Car. Frustration for the Red Bull Racing driver and team overall.
A bittersweet result for the team, Daniel Ricciardo was the other driver who was making his way through the grid – at a steady pace. Pulling some great moves and offering fans around the world some excitement with his overtakes around the circuit.
Lewis Hamilton comes into the pits first, letting Sebastian Vettel lead the race – a quick stop for him who comes back out in P2, behind Vettel and in front of Bottas who’s covering Raikkonen back in P4.
Raikkonen having a good afternoon, putting the pressure on Bottas but also managing his car and tyres knowing that there will be opportunities towards the end of the race.
Ferrari pit Raikkonen again before pitting Vettel – a problem for Raikkonen in the pits with a slow stop undoing his good work. Vettel on the other hand has a smooth pit-stop. On the new tyres Raikkonen looks a lot stronger than Vettel. Lewis Hamilton back in the lead and controlling the situation as he starts making his way through the back of the grid.
Throughout the race, Vettel sounded and looked slightly pressured – questioning the team throughout the race and asking for information through team radio. “What’s the situation?” in regards to Bottas and Hamilton ahead.
Another Virtual Safety Car made an appearance due to Stoffel Vandoorne losing power and going slowly round the circuit – pulling over to one side until the track was clear.
Now, Bottas had been out on these tyres for a while – he starts mentioning that there’s “a problem with the rears” and you can see that he’s starting to lose pace as Vettel closes the gap however can’t make his way past. The dirty air doesn’t do the car any good and you can see that Vettel starts getting slightly frustrated.
With Vettel being stuck behind Bottas, this started slowing his lap-times down meaning that Raikkonen was also starting to close the gap but allowing Hamilton to open up the gap in the lead as he continued to control the race and the situation.
Finally, on Lap 66, Vettel makes a move on Bottas – at first not managing to make his way past however when trying again, he does but closes the door a bit too quick with contact between himself and Bottas. It could have been a lot worse for Vettel who manages to continue to the end of the race however Bottas had to come into the pits for a wing change.
Raikkonen also manages to make his way up into P3 – taking advantage of the situation for what previously looked like a P4 result.
Leaving the pit-lane, Bottas returns to the circuit now only to have Daniel Ricciardo closing the gap to him and just 2 laps later – contact between Bottas and Ricciardo. This time, it was much more Bottas’ fault due to a lack of downforce. The team quickly jump on the radio asking Bottas to give the place back to Ricciardo.
Another race win for Lewis Hamilton who as mentioned above extends his title lead in the championship and goes into the summer break feeling great about the second half of the season. It’s not all play – Lewis Hamilton will be working on the car with the team to make sure they’re in the lead and able to battle with Ferrari.