BUDAPEST • Triple Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton won the Hungarian Grand Prix yesterday to seize the championship lead from team-mate Nico Rosberg for the first time this season.
The Briton took the chequered flag less than two seconds ahead of the German, who had lined up in pole position at the Hungaroring but lost out to Hamilton at the start in the key moment of the race.
Hamilton, who has now won in Hungary a record five times, leads Rosberg by six points after 11 of the season's 21 races.
The Briton has won five of the last six races, including the last three.
"The start was everything," said Hamilton. "This is a great result for the team. What a day."
HUNGARIAN GRAND PRIX RESULTS
1 Lewis Hamilton (Gbr) Mercedes 1hr 40min 30.115sec
2 Nico Rosberg (Ger) Mercedes +1.977sec
3 Daniel Ricciardo (Aus) Red Bull +27.539
4 Sebastian Vettel (Ger) Ferrari +28.2135
5 Max Verstappen (Ned) Red Bull +48.6596
1 Hamilton 192 points
2 Rosberg 186
3 Ricciardo 115
4 Kimi Raikkonen (Fin) Ferrari 114
5 Vettel 110
1 Mercedes 378
2 Ferrari 224
3 Red Bull 223
4 Williams 94
5 Force India 74
The Briton made a flawless start to pull alongside Rosberg while Australian Daniel Ricciardo, who finished third, surged forward on the outside, leading up to Turn 1.
As they turned in to the descending right-hander, Ricciardo attacked and briefly led before Hamilton responded as the front five squeezed through a sweeping trio of corners.
Rosberg, pushed back to third, fought back and emerged from the opening tussle in second place ahead of the two Red Bulls, but struggled to match the pace of the defending champion thereafter.
Hamilton then controlled the 70 laps with a mixture of speed and flawless judgment in sweltering heat at the Hungaroring circuit.
Yesterday's win was the 48th of his career and fifth of the season.
Until yesterday, he had shared the record for Hungarian GP wins with seven-time champion Michael Schumacher.
"I grew up watching Michael so to have a similar number, and now one more than he had here, is incredible," said Hamilton.
Ferrari's four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel, also a previous winner in Hungary, finished fourth after sounding off over the team radio about slower cars holding him up as he lapped them.
Red Bull's Max Verstappen held off Ferrari's feisty Kimi Raikkonen for fifth. The battle between the pair provided moments of excitement in an otherwise uneventful race, with Raikkonen clipping the back of Verstappen's car and damaging his front wing in an attempt to pass the 18-year-old.
Rosberg, who has also won five races this year, will have the chance to seize back the lead in his home German Grand Prix next week.
"It was all down to the start in the end," said Rosberg of yesterday's race. "From then on I was trying to put all the pressure on Lewis but it's not possible to pass at this track."
REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, THE GUARDIAN