Lewis Hamilton scored his first victory for Mercedes at last year’s Hungarian Grand Prix, which gave the Brackley-based outfit something to smile about as the sport headed into its summer break.
The Brit started the race from pole position after setting the fastest time in the top 10 shoot-out on Saturday, finishing just ahead of Sebastian Vettel and Romain Grosjean. His team-mate Nico Rosberg was fourth, with Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen next up.
Felipe Massa, Daniel Ricciardo, Sergio Perez and Mark Webber completed the top 10, with the latter failing to set a time due to a KERS failure. He only just made it out of the Q2 drop-zone, which was filled by Adrian Sutil, Nico Hulkenberg, Jenson Button, Jean-Eric Vergne, Pastor Maldonado and Valtteri Bottas.
Paul di Resta had a disastrous qualifying session and found himself down in 18th after Q1, just behind Esteban Gutierrez. He started ahead of Charles Pic, Giedo van der Garde, Jules Bianchi and Max Chilton.
Conditions were warm and dry for the race. Unlike the last round in Germany, Hamilton managed to hold on to first place into turn one. Vettel dropped to second and did well to hold off Grosjean and Rosberg. The latter fell to ninth after colliding with Massa at turn five, but did not suffer any damage.
Hamilton was the first of the front-runners to pit at the end of lap nine and emerged just behind his former team-mate Button. He swiftly made his way past the Brit, which proved to be a crucial and race-deciding move.
Vettel also re-joined the track behind the McLaren driver, who was running a long first stint on the prime tyre, after he pitted, but the German could not find a way through. This helped Hamilton escape up the road and pull out a dominant lead.
It took Vettel until lap 24 to pass Button and move up to second place. Grosjean, who had closed in on the Red Bull racer, also attempted to overtake the McLaren and despite moving up to third, the two did touch and the Frenchman was later handed a 20-second time penalty for the collision.
After pitting for the second time, Grosjean passed Massa for sixth around the outside at turn four. It was a brave move but he was given a drive-through penalty for it, after the stewards deemed that he put all four wheels over the while line while making the overtake.
At the front of the field, Hamilton pitted for the final time on lap 50 and moved on to the prime tyre for his fourth stint. He emerged behind Webber and Hulkenberg, but the Brit swiftly moved ahead of the two drivers. Vettel took to the pit lane five laps later and re-joined behind Raikkonen, but he caught up to the Finn in the closing stages of the race.
Hamilton stormed to his maiden win for Mercedes and his first victory of the season, dominating the final part of the Hungarian Grand Prix to finish 10 seconds clear of Raikkonen. The Lotus driver just managed to hang on to the runner-up spot, with Vettel having to settle for third.
Webber and Alonso completed the top five, with the former putting in a strong drive to recover from a difficult qualifying session. Grosjean finished in sixth and held on to the position despite his 20 second time penalty. Button, Massa, Perez and Maldonado (who scored Williams’ first point of 2013) rounded out the top 10.
It was a bittersweet day for Mercedes though, with Rosberg retiring late in the race with an engine failure. Vettel’s lead in the championship remained a very comfortable one, but Raikkonen moved up to second and Alonso fell to third as the sport headed into its summer break.
Images courtesy of Octane Photographic