Lewis sets out to usurp Vettel
BUDAPEST: Lewis Hamilton aims to continue his momentum from the British home race at Sunday’s Hungary Grand Prix in order to snatch the Formula One championship lead from Sebastian Vettel for the first time in the season.
Hamilton could on Saturday set the stage for a possible sixth victory on the 4,381-kilometre Hungaroring by drawing level with Michael Schumacher on a record 68 pole positions.
Hamilton, pictured, moved within one point of Ferrari’s Vettel with victory in Silverstone on July 16 and moving ahead at the start of the second half of the 20-race season and heading into a four-week summer break would be a big confidence booster for the Merecedes driver.
“This result really opens up the championship – and we go to Hungary next, where I’ve always gone well,” Hamilton said. “Without a doubt we hope it stays the way that it’s swung this time but, as you know, a pendulum swings. We’re just hoping that we can be on our toes to react to whatever is thrown at us in the next races.”
Mercedes motorsport chief Toto Wolff had a similarly cautious approach regarding Hamilton.
“The win in front of his home crowd was emotionally charged and I am sure he is carrying that energy with him right now. As we see almost each weekend, he is equalling and matching new records – and building a legacy as one of the sport’s greatest drivers,” Wolff said.
“Budapest has always been a good circuit for him but, as he knows, the past is no guarantee of future performance. It’s all about the right preparation, hard work and delivering on the day.”
While Mercedes delighted in Hamilton’s win ahead of teammate Valtteri Bottas, Ferrari have to pick up the pieces after Kimi Raikkonen had to settle for third and Vettel even for seventh after both suffered late punctures.
“There is no reason for panic but we have to be careful,” said Vettel who appears to have run out of steam a little after finishing first or second in the first six races before missing the podium in three of the following winless four.
Vettel won in Hungary two years ago and will hope that the trend continues that no driver wins two races in a row this season.
Ferrari boss Sergio Marchionne has urged “an instant reaction” and team principal Maurizio Arrivabene also hopes they can rebound in Hungary.
“The hard fact is that we lost a lot of points in both the constructors’ and drivers’ championships. We leave here, set on improving quickly, with humility and determination.” – dpa