Subscribe in a reader
Subscribe to posts by Email
About Me

Monday, August 6, 2007

Lewis Hamilton wins Hungary GP

Lewis Hamilton somehow blocked out the twin distractions of a qualifying controversy and in-fighting at his McLaren team to win the Hungarian Grand Prix.

Hamilton started from pole position after his teammate Fernando Alonso was demoted five grid positions for obstructing the rookie Englishman in qualifying.

Alonso had seemingly snatched pole with a last-gasp flying lap but the race stewards judged that he had acted improperly in delaying Hamilton and denying him a chance to respond.

Hamilton took full advantage of his improved grid position, driving a mistake-free race to hold Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen to second and claim a victory that extends his driver's championship lead to seven points.

If history is anything to go by Hamilton will now go on to win the driver's title, only twice in the last 15 years has a driver leading the championship at this stage been beaten to the crown.

The 22-year-old was understandably delighted on the podium; his third grand prix win was undoubtedly his most important so far.

Nick Heidfeld of BMW was third with Alonso fourth just ahead of Poland's Robert Kubica in the other BMW.

The final point-scorers were German Toyota driver Ralf Schumacher in sixth, Nico Rosberg of Williams in seventh and Heikki Kovalainen of Renault in eighth.

Felipe Massa, currently fourth in the championship, had an unhappy weekend, finishing 13th.

The race started in bright sunshine and Hamilton made a clean getaway ahead of normally fast-starting Heidfeld.

On this occasion Heidfeld struggled off the grid and was immediately passed by Raikkonen who slotted in behind the leader.

Back in sixth Alonso made a poor start, soon finding himself back in eighth place when Robert Kubica and Red Bull's Mark Webber forced past him in the opening lap.

Alonso fought back but was soon stuck behind Ralf Schumacher who defended his fifth place expertly.

Meanwhile Sakon Yamamoto was the first man to drop out of the race. The Japanese Spyker driver lost control at turn 11, prematurely ending his first grand prix appearance of the season.

After 15 of the 70 laps Hamilton had established a lead of nearly five seconds from Raikkonen.

The leaders made their first pit stops five laps later with Raikkonen making up over a second on the McLaren man.

Perhaps spurred on by a strong Finnish contingent in the grandstands, Raikkonen continued to gain on Hamilton and the gap was down to one second by the halfway point.

Honda's Jenson Button, winner of this race a year ago, struggled towards the back of the field on this occasion.

But the Briton will still have been bitterly disappointed when he had to retire from the race after a mechanical failure at the halfway point.

Raikkonen made his second and final stop on his 47th lap, moving to the super-soft option tyres.

Hamilton stayed out for another three laps and the strategy paid off, he eventually emerged from the pits with a four-second lead.

Behind the front two Alonso had finally edged past Schumacher but he could not quite manage to pass Heidfeld and had to settle for fourth.

Raikkonen put Hamilton under intense pressure throughout the closing stages of the race but the 22-year-old showed great maturity to hang on and win by just over a second.

It was McLaren's 154th grand prix win and their sixth of the season. However the English team's joy will be tinged by the reality that, unless they win an appeal against the action the FIA has taken against them for the qualifying debacle, they will not be awarded any constructor's championship points from the race.

No comments: