Sports Desk, Jul 19 (efe-epa).- Lewis Hamilton took a big step toward what would be a seventh Formula One title Sunday with a victory in the Hungarian Grand Prix.
The Briton pulled five points ahead of Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas in the driver standings while becoming only the second driver in F1 history to win the same event eight times. Michael Schumacher, the retired seven-time champion, triumphed in the French Grand Prix on eight different occasions.
Hamilton, 35, got the bonus point for fastest lap on the way to winning his 86th race, just five fewer than Schumacher’s record of 91.
Max Verstappen (Red Bull) overcame starting seventh on the grid and withstood a late challenge by Bottas to take second place, relegating the Finnish Mercedes driver to third.
It was the third podium finish in three outings for Bottas, who won the Austrian Grand Prix and came second to Hamilton in the Styrian Grand Prix, where Verstappen was third.
Despite reaching the podium twice, the Dutchman trails Bottas in the driver standings by 25 points.
Racing Point’s Lance Stroll, who started from the third position, claimed fourth place and Verstappen’s teammate, Alex Albon, was the fifth-fastest around the track in the Budapest suburb of Mogyorod after beginning the race in the 13th position on the grid.
Four-time F1 champion Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) was sixth, followed by Sergio “Checo” Perez (Racing Point), Daniel Ricciardo (Renault), Kevin Magnussen (Haas) and Carlos Sainz (McLaren).
“Believe it or not, still pushing out there, obviously particularly for the fastest lap at the end,” Hamilton said after the race. “Whilst I was on my own for the race it was a different kind of challenge. We had great pace but it couldn’t have been without these guys that were working.”
“I definitely feel round one (the Austrian Grand Prix) was multiple different punches that I wasn’t perhaps ready for – but I refocused, which I do every race. I need to try and keep this up,” he said.
Verstappen, whose car went into a barrier en route to the grid ahead of lights out, was full of praise for the crew in the Red Bull garage.
“It was not how I wanted it in the beginning ending up in the barriers. But the mechanics did an amazing job to fix the car. I don’t know how they did it but incredible. To pay them back with second place, of course I’m very pleased with that,” he said.
After three races in as many weeks, the drivers and teams can look forward to a brief respite, as the British Grand Prix at Silverstone is set for July 31-Aug. 2. EFE