Lewis Hamilton has quietly and efficiently climbed back into the chase for the 2012 Formula 1 world driving title with his second victory since winning the Canadian Grand Prix in early June.
Hamilton started the Hungarian Grand Prix in first spot on the grid and that’s where he finished, exactly one second ahead of Kimi Räikkönen at the checkered flag. Romain Grosjean finished third in the race.
“It is still very tough out there, as the competition is truly big, but I enjoyed every lap,” said a jubilant Hamilton on Saturday, after qualifying on the pole. On Sunday, he was just as upbeat and praised his competitors. “These are the kind of grand prix, the races you win like this, where you’re under intense pressure from great drivers like Romain and Kimi. This is the kind of day when you have to have your mind 100 per cent and I feel great because the team didn’t flinch and neither did I.”
The trio leading the pack in the world driving championship struggled to stay up with the leaders. Current points leader Fernando Alonso finished fifth in the race and second-place Mark Webber ended up eighth, while two-time defending world champion Sebastian Vettel got the closest to the podium with a fourth-place finish.
The Formula 1 calendar is now on summer break and cars and drivers don’t get back into competitive action until Sept. 2 at Spa-Francorchamps and the Belgian Grand Prix.
Hamilton said he is looking forward to having a month off, as it will give him and the team a chance to prepare for the last part of the season. “I think it’s very very very important how we manage the summer break, mentally and physically, but we’ve clearly still got a lot of work to do.”
When asked if it is frustrating to stop at a time when he seems to be building some momentum, Hamilton said he is feeling quite the opposite. “It’s not frustrating at all. It’s quite nice to go into the break knowing that we had a win. Every year that we’ve done that, it’s been a great feeling.”
With nine races left on the 2012 season, Alonso continues to lead the drivers’ championship standings. The Spaniard sits on 164 points and has a 40 point gap on his nearest challenger. From there, the standings get interesting, with only eight points separating the next four places. Webber has 124 points and teammate Vettel is two points back. Hamilton’s win in Hungary vaults him past Räikkönen into third place, but only by one point. The championship race is by no means settled. The top 10 finishers in each race are awarded points in accordance with the F1 scoring system, with as many as 25 points up for grabs at each event.