BUDAPEST: Lewis Hamilton delivered a flawless drive from pole position to the checkered flag to win Sunday’s Hungarian Grand Prix for McLaren and revive his challenge for this year’s Formula One drivers’ world championship. The 27-year-old Briton took control of the race from the start and stayed in front, pit stops apart, as he resisted strong late pressure to come home ahead of Finland’s Lotus driver Kimi Raikkonen.
Hamilton’s win was his second of the year and the 19th of his career.
Raikkonen pushed hard to find a way of passing Hamilton in the closing laps, but the Englishman resisted despite having to fight to preserve his worn tires.
Raikkonen finished a strong second ahead of his Lotus teammate, Frenchman Romain Grosjean, and defending world champion Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull.
Current world championship leader Fernando Alonso of Ferrari came in fifth.
Hamilton’s McLaren teammate Jenson Button finished sixth, while Bruno Senna in a Williams, Australian Mark Webber in the second Red Bull, Ferrari’s Felipe Massa and German Nico Rosberg rounded out the top 10.
Alonso stays on top of the drivers’ standings, but Hamilton closed the gap and his victory in the much improved McLaren boosted his team’s hopes of mounting a challenge for the title in the second half of the season following the annual summer break.
After 11 of this year’s 20 races, Hamilton is back in fourth place with 117 points behind Alonso on 164, Webber on 124 and Vettel on 122.
As they climbed the podium, a grinning Hamilton said to Raikkonen: “It’s just like old times, Kimi.”
“I am looking forward to the continuation of the championship. There’s a long way to go and a lot of work to do ... It is very, very close but we are going to give it all we can.”
On another hot day at the Hungaroring, where the air temperature was 32 degrees celsius and the track temperature 45 degrees, Hamilton had stayed cool at the start when, after one aborted effort because Michael Schumacher’s Mercedes failed to start, he pulled away from pole position and into the lead.
Behind him, with the race reduced from 70 laps to 69 because of the aborted first start, Schumacher started from the pit lane and collected a drive-through penalty for speeding when he came in for an early tire change.