Hamilton takes first victory for Mercedes
28 July 2013 – Lewis Hamilton claimed his first victory for Mercedes with a sublime drive during Sunday afternoon's Hungarian Grand Prix. The Briton, who started from pole position, took the chequered flag over ten seconds ahead of Lotus rival Kimi Räikkönen, while reigning World Champion Sebastian Vettel completed the podium.
As the lights went out amid near record-breaking air and track temperatures, it was Hamilton who made the smoothest getaway. Vettel narrowly avoided contact with Romain Grosjean on the run down to the first corner to retain second, with the top three going on to pull comfortably clear in the opening stages of the race.
Brushing aside his team's pre-race concerns over tyre degradation, Hamilton gave himself some breathing space with a succession of quick lap times, while Vettel fell back into the clutches of Grosjean. But although the Frenchman applied pressure, he could not make a move and the positions remained unchanged until the opening round of pit-stops.
Hamilton was the first of the front runners to switch his Soft tyres for fresh Medium rubber on Lap 10, rejoining just behind Jenson Button. Crucially, the Mercedes man quickly disposed of his former team-mate, something Vettel was unable to repeat.
It took Vettel 12 laps, and a failed move that left him with a damaged front wing, before he finally found a way past Button. Grosjean then attempted to slip through at the chicane, but he made contact with the 2009 World Champion and ran straight on.
With the aforementioned incident being looked at after the race, Grosjean gave the stewards further work to do after completing a brave move around the outside of Felipe Massa at Turn 4. Although it appeared to be one of the Frenchman's finer overtaking attempts, he was given a drive through penalty for exceeding track limits.
At this point Hamilton was in a commanding position up front. His only brief threat came from Webber, who had risen through the field on a reverse three-stop plan, making use of the Option rubber in his final stint. Despite twice rejoining behind the Australian, two prompt moves ensured little time loss and cleared the path to a fourth career triumph in Hungary.
With the top step of the podium settled, the battle for second provided the biggest entertainment. Having stuck to a two-stop strategy, Räikkönen found himself ahead of Vettel after the final round of stops, the latter rapidly closing in on fresher rubber.
But despite his best efforts, Vettel was unable to make a move, his last attempt being made around the outside of Turn 4 with two laps remaining. Webber capped a fine performance in fourth, with Fernando Alonso taking a solid points haul in fifth.
Grosjean crossed the line in sixth after his penalty, while McLaren duo Button and Sergio Pérez were sandwiched by Felipe Massa. After a late car failure put Nico Rosberg out of the race, Pastor Maldonado scored Williams' first point of 2013.
In the championship standings, Vettel leads on a total of 172 points, with Räikkönen moving into second (134). Alonso sits one point further adrift in third place.
The 11th round of the season takes place in Belgium from August 23-25, with practice, qualifying and the race covered via the GPUpdate.net Live Report