Lewis Hamilton now leads the World F1 Championship for the first time this season after winning Sunday’s Hungarian Grand Prix – but he’s not getting carried away just yet.
The British racer took control of the 70-lap race in his Mercedes early on, and held off a determined challenge from his team-mate, Nico Rosberg, to record his fifth success at the track and seize the initiative in this year’s title race.
Hamilton had initially lost out on pole during Q3 when Rosberg set a time faster while yellow caution flags were displayed around the track. After much discussion, Rosberg’s time stood and the German therefore took pole, prompting anger from some quarters.
Hamilton didn’t let the ruling distract him, though, and instead used it as motivation when the race began as he scampered past Rosberg moments after the start to stamp his authority on the race.
Although Rosberg tailed his every move, Hamilton was in cruise control and easily swept to victory.
“I’m still fighting for every point,” said a focussed Hamilton afterwards. “The battle for the championship is very much on, and after a bad start I’m happy I’m in this position as we start the second half.”
Rosberg refused to get too downbeat despite losing his lead, saying: “The championship may well be at its halfway mark, but it is far from over. It is obvious that Lewis and I will be fighting hard at every race as we battle for the title. It is a fight I am looking forward to.
“Next we head to Germany, my home race. It is at Hockenheim and it is a track I love, so I am going to try and win there.”
Behind the two Mercedes cars, Daniel Ricciardo completed the podium in his Red Bull to keep himself third in the standings, albeit well adrift of the Mercedes duo.
Carlos Sainz Jr. continued his good form by finishing eighth for the Bicester-based Toro Rosso squad. He said: “I am very happy and this was another good result for me and the team. We seem to be strong at every race and I hope another good result can be achieved in Germany.”
Daniil Kvyat’s topsy-turvy season continued in Hungary. The youngster was unable to repeat his point-scoring drive from Silverstone, finishing 16th in Budapest.
Tenth place on this occasion went to Nico Hulkenberg who took the final point for Silverstone-based Sahara Force India, one place ahead of team-mate Sergio Perez.
Standings: 1. Hamilton, 192pts; 2. Rosberg, 186; 3. Ricciardo, 115; 4. Raikkonen, 110. Next race: Germany, July 31.