Lewis Hamilton took the lead in the Championship for the first time in 2016
(Photo from: dailynewshungary.com)
Lewis Hamilton took the championship lead in Hungary after claiming victory ahead of his teammate Nico Rosberg. Hamilton, who won his fifth race in six races moved above his Mercedes teammate for the first time this season and now has a six point lead after being as far as 43 points down. It was also Hamilton’s fifth Hungarian Grand Prix win, eclipsing Michael Schumacher previous record of four.
Hamilton started from second in changeable qualifying conditions after Nico Rosberg, somewhat controversially, beat him to pole, after the Brit slowed on his fastest lap following Fernando Alonso’s spin. However Hamilton was only shown a single waved yellow flag whereas Rosberg was seen driving past waved double yellows, a higher level of danger, and still set his fastest time.
He was about to keep his lap to complete another front row lockout for Mercedes with the two Red Bulls of Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen on the second row. Sebastian Vettel and the consistently impressive Carlos Sainz were on the third row with Fernando Alonso, Jenson Button, Nico Hulkenburg and Valtteri Bottas rounding out the top 10.
Race day and the rain of Saturday had dispersed leaving the circuit bathed in sun. As the lights went out the Mercedes drivers both had very equal starts as they headed down to turn 1 however Hamilton was strong on the brakes and moved into the lead. Daniel Ricciardo also had a great start from third and temporarily found himself in second after a fantastic move around the outside of turn 1 split the two Mercedes’ however Rosberg fought back and was back in second by turn 3.
As the race developed the field began to spread out with the Mercedes and Red Bulls locking out the top four positions followed by Sebastian Vettel, Alonso and Sainz. However Jenson Button was having a terrible race, early hydraulic issues left him with brake issues early on, which lead to a conversation with his team over the radio. This was deemed illegal communication by the FIA and he was handed a drive through penalty. The Brit would eventually retire on lap 60 with an oil leak.
Back at the front and the leaders were coming in for their pitstops, with Vettel the first to blink and used the undercut to his advantage to overtake Verstappen for fourth during the stops. Kimi Räikkönen also gained during the pitstops, having starting of the soft tyres in comparison to the majority starting on super-softs, he made them last 29 laps and rejoined in seventh having started the race in 14th.
The order remained the same until the second round of pitstops when another set of soft tyres was bolted onto Hamilton’s Mercedes on lap 41 and he controlled the race from there. Rosberg was close in second though never close enough to mount an attack. Vettel slowly closed in on Ricciardo in third though it was not enough and Ricciardo took his first podium of 2016. Behind Max Verstappen finished fifth, though his defence for position on the charging Räikkönen raised a few eyebrows up and down the paddock. Behind the top six finished Fernando Alonso in seventh, Carlos Sainz eighth and Valtteri Bottas and Nico Hulkenburg rounded out the top 10.