Tense win as Vettel extends title lead

Sebastian Vettel after winning the Hungarian Grand Prix yesterday. His victory, with Lewis Hamilton finishing in fourth place, extended the German's lead in the World Championship to 14 points as the Formula One teams head into the traditional four-w
Sebastian Vettel after winning the Hungarian Grand Prix yesterday. His victory, with Lewis Hamilton finishing in fourth place, extended the German's lead in the World Championship to 14 points as the Formula One teams head into the traditional four-week summer break.PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

German battles steering problem, Ferrari duo manage to hold off charging Hamilton, Bottas

BUDAPEST • Sebastian Vettel won a gripping Hungarian Grand Prix yesterday in a Ferrari one-two that stretched his championship lead to 14 points after Mercedes rival Lewis Hamilton sportingly surrendered third place to his team-mate.

The German, savouring his fourth win of the season and the 46th of his Formula One career, took the chequered flag 0.9 seconds ahead of team-mate Kimi Raikkonen.

The Finn had looked faster than Vettel for most of the afternoon.

"I'm over the moon," said the German. "It may not have looked like it but it was a difficult race. I had my hands full from the start.

"Something went wrong. The steering started to go sideways. Towards the end it came back when I had a cushion but I had to stay focused the whole race."

Hamilton finished fourth after slowing down on the last lap and allowing team-mate Valtteri Bottas to go past, despite the loss of vital points to his championship challenge.

Bottas had let Hamilton through on the 45th of the 70 laps, on the assurance that the Briton would hand back the place if he could not overtake the Ferraris, and the three-time world champion duly kept his word.

  • HUNGARIAN GRAND PRIX

  • RESULTS

    1 Sebastian Vettel (Ger) Ferrari 1hr 39min 46.713 sec

    2 Kimi Raikkonen (Fin) Ferrari +0.908sec

    3 Valtteri Bottas (Fin) Mercedes +12.462

    4 Lewis Hamilton (Gbr) Mercedes +12.885

    5 Max Verstappen (Ned) Red Bull +13.276

    6 Fernando Alonso (Esp) McLaren +1:11.223

    7 Carlos Sainz Jr (Esp) Toro Rosso +1 lap

    8 Sergio Perez (Mex) Force India +1 lap

    9 Esteban Ocon (Fra) Force India +1 lap

    10 Stoffel Vandoorne (Bel) McLaren +1 lap

  • OVERALL STANDINGS DRIVERS

    1 Vettel 202 pts

    2 Hamilton 188

    3 Bottas 169

    4 Ricciardo 117

    5 Raikkonen 116

  • CONSTRUCTORS

    1 Mercedes 357

    2 Ferrari 318

    3 Red Bull 184

    4 Force India 101

    5 Williams 41

    REUTERS

"Really thanks to Lewis for keeping the promise in the end and letting me by," said the Finn. "I don't think every team-mate would have swopped back."

Hamilton, whose radio was malfunctioning for some of the race and would have had more of a chance had he been able to get past Bottas earlier, said he had done what he had to do.

"It's tough in the championship but I'm a man of my word," he said.

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff acknowledged that his intention to allow his drivers race may eventually backfire.

"We took the risk. Maybe someone will one day say, Budapest is when we lost the championship. Who knows? At the moment this is the way we want to continue," he said. "Valtteri moved over because we asked him to move over and then Lewis moved over at the end. Fair play to both of them."

If respect was growing between the two Mercedes drivers, the same cannot be said of the Red Bull duo.

Max Verstappen was handed a 10-second stop-and-go penalty for colliding with his team-mate Daniel Ricciardo on the opening lap. The impact ended the Australian's race, with the car stranded on the track and fluid leaking from the broken radiator, and brought out the safety car.

"It was amateur to say the least. It's not like he was trying to pass - there was no room to pass," said an angry Ricciardo. "I don't think he likes it when a team-mate gets in front."

Verstappen finished fifth, ensuring the top five all finished in their starting order on a circuit where overtaking is notoriously hard.

The Dutch teenager was quick to say he was sorry after his race.

"It's not nice and I apologise to Daniel and the team for that," he said. "We could've scored some really good points here."

Haas driver Kevin Magnussen also had some choice words yesterday, with his fury directed at Renault's Nico Hulkenberg.

The Dane told his rival to "suck my b****" during a live television interview with Scandinavian channel Viasat after Hulkenberg interrupted, saying: "Once again, you're the most unsporting driver on the grid".

Magnussen forced the German off the track late in the race as he sought to hang on to 11th place, incurring a five-second penalty.

Fernando Alonso gave struggling McLaren their best finish of the season so far by taking sixth place. He also set the fastest lap of the race.

Belgian team-mate Stoffel Vandoorne was 10th in a double points finish, moving the former champions off the bottom of the table and ahead of Sauber.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 31, 2017, with the headline 'Tense win as Vettel extends title lead'. Print Edition | Subscribe