Hamilton emerges as title contender with first win for Mercedes

2013 Hungarian Grand Prix review

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It’s ten months to the day since Lewis Hamilton announced he would be driving for Mercedes in 2013.

When the news broke Hamilton had already won three races for McLaren in 2012. And after the announcement Mercedes went for five consecutive races without scoring a single point.

As the new season dawned there can’t have been many people who thought Hamilton would win his first race for Mercedes before either McLaren driver stood on the podium.

But in the tenth race for their new partnership Hamilton produced a battling drive of the highest order to win the Hungarian Grand Prix.

Hamilton leads as Rosberg loses out

As in Germany the front row was shared by Hamilton and Vettel. The Mercedes driver pipped the Red Bull by the slender margin of 38 thousandths of a second.

But with track temperatures soaring to 50C as per the forecast, Hamilton was pessimistic about his chances of victory ahead of the race. The Mercedes has struggled to make its tyres last this year, and although Nico Rosberg had run a reasonable 18-lap stint on Friday doubts persisted over their race form.

When the red lights went out Hamilton motored away smoothly from the clean side of the grid while Vettel, struggling for purchase on the dusty side, squeezed third-placed Romain Grosjean hard to stay ahead.

Vettel prevailed, leaving Grosjean to dish out similarly firm treatment to Fernando Alonso, who had beaten Rosberg off the line. Alonso later objected to Grosjean’s driving but the Lotus driver hadn’t broken any rules – yet.

As the field accelerated out of turn four Rosberg tried to take advantage of Massa on the outside of turn five. He would probably have made the move stick had he not turned in a fraction too tightly, provoking contact between the two which sent him off the track, slipping down to 12th place.

Vettel goes after Hamilton

Vettel immediately unleashed the RB9’s potential, slashing Hamilton’s lap one lead to 0.56s at the end of lap two.

That gave him the opportunity to use DRS to attack. But it proved insufficient to overcome Hamilton’s straight-line speed advantage of more than 10kph. Within three laps the Mercedes was back out of range from Vettel’s DRS.

Hamilton continued to edge clear, pulling out a 1.8 second lead by lap seven. Vettel had Grosjean breathing down his neck, the Lotus driver close enough to use his DRS but not to make a move.

Two laps later Hamilton’s sector times began to rise and Mercedes wasted no time getting him into the pits. He emerged behind Jenson Button but the first time they came down the pit straight together Hamilton sped past using DRS, passing easily on the inside.

Vettel’s tyres lasted two laps longer than Hamilton’s before they began to wilt. Far from losing time behind Button, Hamilton was able to lap within two tenths of his best up to that point. More importantly, he was eight-tenths of a second quicker than the last lap of Vettel’s first stint. That more than cancelled out the half-second Vettel gained courtesy of the race’s fastest pit stop on lap 11.

Button thwarts Vettel

Like Hamilton, Vettel emerged from the pits behind Button. But that straight-line speed deficit told again – it took Vettel until the end of the second DRS zone to get within touching distance of a move on Button. And when he tried one he succeeded only in losing part of his front wing against Button’s left-rear.

Making matters worse for Vettel, his engine temperatures were rising in Button’s wake, and race engineer Guillaume Rocquelin was soon on the radio urging him to drop back. Vettel complied for five laps, Grosjean stalking him all the while, before drawing the McLaren in again.

By now Button’s medium tyres were 23 laps old, and when Vettel launched an attack on him at the unlikely overtaking spot of turn four it opened the floodgates. Grosjean took the McLaren at the chicane – carelessly banging wheels with Button as he did – and Alonso picked off the McLaren at the exit of the corner.

But for Vettel the damage had already been done. Having trailed Hamilton by 1.7 seconds at the end of the first stint, he was now over 13 seconds adrift.

Grosjean penalised for pass

Like Button, Mark Webber had also started on the medium tyres and ran on them until lap 23. That put the Red Bull driver in the lead for nine laps. After his first pit stop he fell back to fifth, but that was still five places higher than he’d started.

Following his brush with Button, Grosjean came in for an early second stop on lap 25. The stewards were already deliberating the contact between the pair, but they were about to have another incident to investigate.

Grosjean left the pits behind Felipe Massa and rapidly closed on the Ferrari. Wasting no time, he launched an ambitious move around the outside of turn four – and pulled it off.

Or so he thought. Within a few laps the stewards concluded he had completed the move with all four wheels off the track – albeit by a tiny margin. He was handed a drive-through penalty which ended his chances of finishing on the podium.

Vettel goes after Raikkonen

Having freed himself of Button, Vettel chipped into Hamilton’s lead over the rest of the second stint. The gap was just under 12 seconds when Hamilton made his second pit stop on lap 31.

But when the Red Bull driver did likewise three laps later he was dismayed to see Button’s McLaren get to turn one before him again. Fortunately for Vettel, Button was running a short middle stint on soft tyres and was soon out of his way. Though not before Vettel lost all of the meagre gains he’d made on Hamilton and then some.

As his chances of getting back on terms with Hamilton diminished, Vettel’s greater concern was now the advancing Lotus of Raikkonen. Having fallen behind Massa at the start Raikkonen had made his first pit stop on the same lap as his team mate – the Lotus crew slickly turning around both cars within moments of each other.

Raikkonen stretched his second stint out to 29 laps, making a two-stop strategy viable. It kept him in clear air and within range of the delayed Vettel.

When the Red Bull driver pitted for the final time on lap 55, it left him with 15 laps to hunt down the Lotus. It took just three laps for him to get within DRS range, but even that plus the Lotus’s 13-lap older tyres were barely enough to overcome his straight-line speed deficit.

Vettel was also managing a car problem, Rocquelin telling him to enter fail codes on his steering wheel (as team mate Webber was also doing). As he had done while chasing Button earlier, Vettel dropped back briefly then went on the attack again.

His best chance to take the Lotus came on the outside of turn four with two laps to go. But he got onto the dirt, ran wide and had to settle for third place.

Hamilton clinched first Mercedes win

Meanwhile Hamilton was making wheel-to-wheel combat look easy. He emerged from his final pit stop just in time to see Webber go by. But he dived up the inside of the Red Bull at turn three, forcing Webber wide, and seized the position.

That was the last obstacle between Hamilton and victory, although Mercedes got a fright when Rosberg’s car expired with engine failure six laps from home. They weren’t sure of the cause of the problem – it didn’t seem to be related to the heat – so they didn’t know if Hamilton’s car would last.

Hamilton had been disbelieving when he’d taken pole position the day before, but his reaction to winning his first race for Mercedes was one of pure delight – and not a little vindication.

In a reverse of the finish in Germany it was Raikkonen who held Vettel off to the flag. The Lotus driver then came to a stop immediately after crossing the finish line – he had been advised to save fuel earlier in the race.

Webber finished five-and-a-half seconds behind his team mate after starting eight spots back, while Alonso resisted Grosjean back for fifth. A 20-second time penalty for colliding with Button made no difference to Grosjean’s finishing position, and Alonso avoided punishment for using DRS three times when he wasn’t supposed to.

Williams finally score

Massa, eighth, was sandwiched by the two McLaren drivers. Behind them Williams’ long wait for a point finally came to an end as Pastor Maldonado inherited tenth thanks to Rosberg’s late retirement. His team mate had dropped out shortly after half-distance with a hydraulic problems.

A drive-through penalty for speeding in the pits left Hulkenberg 11th followed by the two Toro Rossos. Jean-Eric Vergne finished ahead of Daniel Ricciardo, the latter losing several positions due to a slow first pit stop. Both Force Indias retired with hydraulic problems.

A dramatic swing in performance at the rear of the field saw Marussia, who had been on a par with Caterham until now, finish a lap behind their closest rivals. “We were struggling with the balance the whole time and having to work so hard to preserve the rear tyres,” said Jules Bianchi.

Hamilton emerges as a contender

Marussia’s plight was one manifestation of how the change in tyres this weekend has affected the championship. That Mercedes and Red Bull have found the new tyres more to their liking is consistent with what we’ve seen so far this year.

The question now is whether Hamilton’s victory is the beginning of a more sustained championship challenge from him. The next two races are on ‘power tracks’ which should suit the Mercedes, and it’s telling that Ross Brawn said any decision on their priorities will be taken after those two races.

Vettel can leave Hungary content that he increased his points advantage over his nearest championship rival. But he may be increasingly concerned about the threat posed by the driver who’s in fourth place, 48 points behind, who’s just rediscovered his winning form with a new team.

2013 Hungarian Grand Prix

Browse all 2013 Hungarian Grand Prix articles

Images © Daimler/Hoch Zwei, Red Bull/Getty, McLaren/Hoch Zwei, Lotus/LAT, Williams/LAT

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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75 comments on “Hamilton emerges as title contender with first win for Mercedes”

  1. Lewis’ best race since USA last year. Perfect weekend. Fast, consistent, great overtakes, looked after the tyres and car. Faultless.

    Mercedes have been so impressive this year. The car is MILES quicker than last years, they’re bringing updates (that work well) to almost every race, they’re making good progress on the tyres. And 2 great drivers to maximise its potential. A team on the ascendancy.

    1. What worries me about the Merc is this sense that I have that nobody in that team, and I mean nobody, has a clue as to why their tyres worked in Hungary. It seems like it’s all down to fate for them, or is it destiny however you want to look at it.

      1. jimscreechy (@)
        29th July 2013, 13:36

        I thought that originally till I saw Ross Brawn’s rather coy interview. He rather casually downplayed the teams understanding of the tyres and simply seemed to cover all aspects of development and progress with a rather sombre… ‘we’re doing what we can to make the car competitive’ having seen him operate over the years I have come to respect this as ‘we are working furiously to get things right, but I’m saying diddly squat till we see on track performance and results’

  2. It’s all to play for folks. HAM can still do this as I strongly suspect with the qualifying advantage that Merc have, he can really be a thorn in VET’s challenge in Spa, Monza and pretty much everywhere in the Asian leg of the season. VET has his work cut out. HAM will have a tough time matching VET’s consistency as it’s not his strong suit. But who knows HAM may surprise us all. May the best man win.

    Meanwhile, RIP to the #Samurai’s challenge :( — As a Ferrari fan, hugely disappointing.

    1. I think Lewis consintency is OK, his big challenge is Seb’s consistency. On a bad day Seb manages to be on the podium and Lewis will not need only a good car but good performance from Lotus, Ferrari, Webber and Nico to keep Seb off the podium.

      I’d love to see Lewis 25 points behind after Singapore, let’s see.

      1. Or less of course :-)

      2. jimscreechy (@)
        29th July 2013, 13:50

        You’re so right. Ham is just quality, but you cannot fault Seb’s consistency and even more, the teams willingness to put all their effort into his rather than Webber’s results. Seb has that assurance that the come hell or high water, even if it means scrapping Mark’s car to get the bits that didn’t make it on the grounded flight, he will absolutely have the best the team can give him and their unwavering backing. Also the RB9 is a very comprehensive package, it doesn’t have the big variation in consistency between tracks that many of the other cars, including the Mercedes have. It must be a very reassuring feeling to know regardless of where your racing, the package you have is always close to peak performance. All that said, I will take nothing from Seb, he is quite simply a fantastic driver, one of my top 3 in ability and definitely on of my favourites. I don’t by all this ‘Its only because he has the best car malarkey’, his car hasn’t always been the fastest, he (and the team, tactically or otherwise) have just done there homework in finding what it takes to get a win, then they’ve delivered. THis in itself is a pretty serious accomplishment and given them there well deserved WDC’s.

  3. So I guess what HAM meant by “shocking pace” is that it will “shock” everyone how good it is. Nice bit of sandbagging Lewis though I think you raced extremely well and it wasn’t all car. I picked VET as pole sitter on 1:19.500 and was quite happy until HAM pipped him. I’m not a fan of HAM at all but I think he really worked for this win and completely deserved it. I’d like to see RIC finish within a shout of his grid position though.

    1. @thecollaroyboys
      I really do hope Ricciardo gets Webber’s spot at Red bull.
      They’re both Australian… And more importantly, they both have the same curse of having really poor starts :P

      1. Even though Seb + Kimi would be more interesting to see, I’d love to see RIC in that car, if it doesn’t work dump him and hire… Grosjean. Unfortunately it’s getting to late for Roamin to get his act together because he’s fast.

    2. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      29th July 2013, 14:38

      I don’t understand how anyone cannot be a fan of Hamilton’s in F1. It’d be akin to not being a fan of Nadal, Messi, Fangio, or Usain Bolt.

      The guy is the fastest driver in a world of 7 billion people and like Alonso has said he has won races without the fastest car. He even took 1 pole away from the RB7 in 2011! It’s very rare that a slower car wins races in F1 nowadays without the faster cars retiring.

      1. Ya that korea pole in 2011 was a stunner!

        1. Just searched for that quali videos … and found this … What a stunning lap it was from HAM!!


      2. @freelittlebirds well firstly I’m inclined to disagree with your logic: he may well be the fastest driver on outright speed but that doesn’t make him the best, in fact I’d argue Alonso and Vettel were better. Besides that, being good at something can make you arrogant which usually isn’t heralded as a nice trait – Hamilton has that. Also, personality is what sells a sportsman to the public and Hamilton I don’t find to be a very connectable person in any sense – he most definitely does not have the persona and presence of Usain Bolt.

        I will also criticise one of your comparisons: Novak Djokovic has been consistently better than Rafael Nadal according to the ATP rankings since 2011 and although he has been dogged by injury at times I’d still rate Djokovic comfortably above Nadal.

        Back on topic, although I rate Hamilton very highly (though he’s no Bolt: Ayrton Senna is still the fastest man to grace F1 IMO) and I respect his talent immensely that doesn’t mean I like him and neither would I expect anybody else to by default as he really is not the most loveable person in the world off-track. That settles it for me.

        1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
          29th July 2013, 19:54

          I’m a huge Djokovic fan and the reason he impresses me the most is that he has breathing issues that he’s been able to overcome and be a champion. In tennis, not being to breathe is like driving a forklift. I definitely agree that Djokovic has transformed himself into a champion although at this stage Nadal has been suffering from injury and we’ll never see both of them at the top of their game.

          I fail to see this personality thing – everytime I have watched Hamilton in an interview he comes off as the nicest guy on the grid. He just seems like a calm nice guy which makes his racing aggression even more impressive. In that manner, it’s Nadal-esque because Nadal seems like a swell guy until you start playing him and he starts jumping around like a pirate:-)

          Speed is what F1 is all about – the fastest driver with the fastest car should win because the slower driver and car should never catch up with him.

  4. As the field accelerated out of turn four Rosberg tried to take advantage of Raikkonen on the outside of turn five. He would probably have made the move stick had he not turned in a fraction too tightly, provoking contact between the two which sent him off the track, slipping down to 12th place.

    Wasn’t it on a Ferrari?

    Regarding his title challenge, it’s certainly a good sign- after last weekend I though any slim hope which there might have been was gone. If this performance at a track where they were expected to be poor is actually indicative of how they will go at other races, Vettel might have a challenge on his hands.

    1. jimscreechy (@)
      29th July 2013, 14:50

      your quite right, it was a Ferrari, Massa if I’m not mistaken. I also think Rosberg just let his determination get the better of him this weekend. I think he was (and is) so resolutely determined to ensure his measure against Hamilton isn’t question he was over aggressive on the first lap or perhaps allowed his judgement to falter. Hamilton remarked last week that Nico was never this competitive during their Karting days, but I think it’s more because his talent has been undermined fairly consistently firstly against Schumacher, and now against Hamilton, that he has his back up against the wall. I kinda feel it for the guy. He held his own against Shumi and actually bettered him, but was never given credit because Shumi’s return was rather widely dismissed as poor judgment with his performances being deemed as nothing more than a shadow of his former abilities. Now Hamilton arrives at the team and once again Rosberg finds his on track abilities are being largely ignored, or perhaps overshadowed, in light of his teammate, (rather exceptional though he is) in spite of his two wins and 3 poles this season… its almost like “what have I got to do to be taken seriously. Realistically, there are few with the on track talents qualities of Vettel, Hamilton, Alonso or Raikonnen, but I think he really needs to keep it together and the credibility on track will come definitely come to him.

  5. Traverse (@)
    29th July 2013, 1:10

    I stand by my claim that Hamilton will win the WDC this season. I’m willing to bet BIG money on it!

    1. It is now between Vettel and Hamilton. I was quite doubtful, but now am willing to agree with you that Hamilton will win.

      With the raw pace of the Mercedes, the 48 point margin can easily be hauled in. There are still 10 races to go.

      Spa and Monza are next and Red Bull’s poor top-end speed will hurt them.

      Especially at Monza, Mercedes, Ferrari and even McLaren will have good pace. Red Bull are notoriously slow there. Hamilton could cut the gap by 20 points at Monza alone if things go his way.

      1. I am a Hamilton fan too, but please stop it. The gap is too wide and Vettel is a master of consistency. Even if Hamilton were to win a few more races Vettel has an uncanny knack of squeezing on to the podium just like in Hungary, and RedBull considers that a bad race. When the others have a bad race it’s usually accompanied by disastrous results. It’s good to be optimistic, but not overly so.

        1. @blackmamba

          The gap is too wide

          I disagree: Hamilton is within two wins of Vettel with nine races to go. We’ve seen similar deficits overturned in shorter spaces of time.

          1. With that logic, we should all just think who has still mathematically chance to win WDC and keep listing those people after each race. Afterall, it’s still *possible*. Hamilton can win the WDC with 49 deficit when there’s 2 races to go, ofc, so can Alonso, Webber, Massa, Raikkonen, Grosjean, Rosberg etc.

          2. @keithcollantine I am not a big fan of vettel but I think he is not going to be sitting around . Whenever he has not won , he has finished in the podium or 4th discounting the DNF . I am not Alonso to keep praying that vettel has DNF after DNF (:P) . That approach is also not good . I will be hoping for a close finish like last year and if hamilton can provide that it will be fantastic . Raikkonen is the dark horse, I believe . He may surprise us all here . No one even talks about him and the title .

          3. @lari

            With that logic, we should all just think who has still mathematically chance to win WDC

            That was not the “logic” I described. I made it quite clear that time as well as the size of the gap was an important factor.

          4. I have always said as a blogger I always find your opinions ridiculous its worse than fans, if this same result happens for the next 5 races Hamilton would only be ahead by 2pts.

          5. I’ve no idea whether you’re agreeing or disagreeing with me.

    2. Then maybe you should?….

    3. it’s VET vs ICEMAN
      LSH dosn’t have the consistency……
      next race wiLL be the comeback of LSH&Nicole Scherzinger and then it’s over for him……LOL
      VET better then evreyone in asia
      4 IN A ROW WDC surely……

      1. As a long-time Kimi fan I can’t wish enough that he wins this one. But Lotus is like a football team that miss their penalties and fail to score clear opportunities; they need to win 1-2 more races and hope for some bad results for Seb to make it a 1-2-1 duel. I reckon though that Lewis role would be similar to that of 2009, taking championship points from the chasing pack of Kimi and Alonso but won’t be able to become the real championship contender. (it is his good right though!)

    4. A single DNF can change a lot in classification. Vettel has the luxury of having a DNF, but HAM cannot.

  6. The WDC should be a good fight between Vettel, Hamilton and Raikkonen, hopefully all the way until the end of the season. Red Bull is ahead, Merc is a rising (3 pointed) star and I believe Lotus has only shown flashes of their potential. Ferrari is sadly fighting for 4th. Should be interesting.

    1. As it stands right now, I think it is between Hamilton and Vettel. Only the red bull and (now seemingly) the Mercedes have the raw pace to qualify on pole and lead a race from the front.
      Every race, Lotus and Ferrari are having to fight their way up the field to get their points and you can’t keep that up forever.

      Raikkonen has been totally consistent but is still 38 points off, so unless the car gets quicker he won’t be able to close that gap. Ferrari are really struggling to update their car and for the last 3 races just haven’t had the raw pace at all to win. Even Alonso can’t overcome that disadvantage, his championship is hanging by a thread.

      1. I wouldn’t discount Ferrari though, or should I say Alonso. Vettel however has a massive gap and that’s even before we get to the Asian leg which is the strongest part of the season for the RedBull.

    2. Lotus would be better off if Kimi had better Satudays, actually Grosjean does it better than him on qualifying but his poor judgement on Sundays hurts his points scoring. Racewise, that Lotus is a hell of a car.

      1. Raikkonen sets up the car for the race and produces results with that. How can you fault that?

        Grossjean and Massa seem to go more for qualifying. They pretty much consistently drop back during a race. Alonso and Raikkonen are the ones wo take the points during the race.

  7. Fun race for Hamilton fans. While I wasn’t surprised at all to see Lewis lead the field into turn 1, I was very surprised to see him maintaining a decent gap over Vettel throughout that first stint. I then assumed that his 2nd stint would surely expose the Merc’s tire woes, but it didn’t happen! Along with their amazing qualifying performances these days, it’s also beginning to look like Mercedes might actually (finally!) have the race pace to hoist themselves back into the mix for this year’s championships. One can hope!

  8. Hamilton will have to do this several more times to even draw even with vettel. Its possible but the Mercedes is erratic and vettel is not. Vettel looked like he was going to turn into the hulk on the podium they way he was gripping the railing and grimacing. But if this is a bad day for him then he can welcome several more and be a 4x champ.

    1. Even if Merc were to get on top of their tyre issues, one suspects the only way Vettel is going to be deposed is via some extremely bizarre run of unreliability. Lotus and Ferrari CANNOT qualify on the front row which only leaves the Mercs, and we all know about their problems.

    2. Looks like Merceds has solved their tyre eating problem but Vettel’s consistency is a huge mountain to climb. Like you said, Seb is on the podium on a bad day…

      But let’s see. I want Lewis to be in the mix when we arrive in Asia.

  9. One of the most accurate descriptions of the race . Great read. Enjoyed it !

  10. Do we know what the F22 fault was?
    Seems strange that the message went to SV and MW at similar times.


    1. Coulthard thought thought it could be a harvesting problem with the KERS or some other sensor, and the message was a reset mode. This could be the best guess as he used to drive for them.

    2. From memory Fail 22 was given to WEB and Fail 21 was given to VET. If they hadn’t given the drivers a different number I would have said it was Multi 21 all over again. Any one else been giving it any thought and come up with some brain storms?

      1. Both were “fail 22” @dragoll.

      2. In you Memory it was Fail 22/ Multi 21 Consipiracy running but For the real world the Message to Both Drivers is Fail 22 Fail

    3. @torort @dragoll @jcost @harsha Vettel was definitely given more than just the ‘fail 22’ message:


    4. Not sure exactly what the problem was, but I think we used to hear the FAIL 22 message to either Red Bull drivers a lot in their first year of running KERS too, when it was overheating about every second race, so I guess it was something to do with electronics, cables, circuits or even the batteries overheating inside the car @torort.

  11. Lewis winning is good news for the championship. I hope Merc can keep up their pace until the end, which could also mean Nico could nick a few big results as well.

    Sadly, its curtains for Alonso. The car is too far off the pace. Unless there is a dramatic change in their fortunes at Spa, which is highly unlikely, its over for Ferrari. They’d be better off working their 2014 car. Obviously Alonso wont give up, he will take the fight as far is at go, but this year will probably be a step too far.

    Its a clear 2 way battle between the Bulls and Merc!

    1. Lotus is still competitive and Ferrari will be better both at Spa and at Monza. They will upgrade they car ASAP, we just don’t know if that will help.

      1. The problem is that although there’s a four week gap until Spa, there’s a two week factory shutdown, leaving just two weeks for car development, which realistically is only a week and a half. Not a lot of time to transform a car to fastest from fourth fastest!

        1. Ferrari could be 2nd fastest car in tracks like Spa, Monza, so who knows, they only need to get from 2nd fastest to fastest during this summer break. It’s not like they’ve been 4th fastest in every race this year.

  12. Chiz (@a-flying-toilet)
    29th July 2013, 4:41

    Could the F22 fault been some coded message about Rosberg’s engine? It came on team radio just minutes after Rosberg had his engine failure. Maybe a coded message to let them know that Lewis’ engine could be close to blowing?

    1. why would they send that in code when it was known to everyone?

  13. I think this is still playing into Vettel’s hands. His closest rivals keep changing every race. After Britain, it seemed that Alonso was doing a good job of chipping away at Vettel. After Germany, it felt that Lotus was closest to Vettel. Now it seems that Hamilton is closest.

    But the only thing that has remained constant is Vettel increasing his lead little by little every time. Spain was the last race in which Vettel was off the podium (not counting Britain as he had an unfortunate retirement).

    If Vettel wins either of the next two races, I think his rivals will throw in the towel and focus on 2014.

  14. I think we’re reading too much into this.

  15. I still have my doubts whether Lewis can win the WDC this year, seeing as how Vettel is nearly two race wins ahead of him, and the fact Alonso and Raikkonen are as formidable as the German. The development race is still unclear as it was only back in Britain that Mercedes were clearly the second-rans.

    But now each of the main four contenders have “roles” in the second act of the drama: the dominant champion, the consistent accumulator (Kimi), the long shot (Lewis) and unfortunately it seems Alonso is playing the fading contender through the fault of his constructor.

    1. best description . Usually its lewis who plays ‘fading constructor every year” but this year he has finally got the huge advantage of having normal pitstops compared to 2012 :P

      1. So does that mean Ham finally gets to keep a winning trophy in F1?

  16. I only see lots of pilots stealing points from each other while Vettel increases his lead in the championship. Even after not a great race Vettel increased the gap to 38 points – the largest one this season. And lets be honest Mercedes were not unchallenged this weekend. The pole was close and the pace was close. There was going to be decent fight for the 1st between 3 teams if the track could have allowed it.

  17. Aaand suddenly I’m backing Vettel. I would much rather see Seb get his fourth title, than to see Hamilton win. Seeing Raikkonen or Alonso would be good as well, but the Ferrari just can’t keep on track with Red Bull in terms of development, and Lotus seem to find it very difficult to maximise their potential, although it was slightly improved with their strategic calls in Hungary.

    1. I’d say let them have a good and hard fought battle over it, and whoever wins deserves it. Be it Vettel, Hamilton, Kimi, or Fred. Or someone else still able to catch up?

  18. I would love to see this championship running down with at least 3 real contenders. However, I doubt that Raikkonnen will have the machinery to stay in the hunt. I really like Lotus, they are a good bunch of racing people. Sadly though, I think they miss that little thing to become a real top team. They always seem to miss a little bit, and always almost win. If they didn’t have Kimi, they would probably be in the midfield pack… I can’t judge 100% whether they are up to the pace and Kimi can’t live up to it, or the other way round… but it certainly seems to be the second case. Future looks ominous for them if he leaves.
    Merc looks strong, but we’ll have to wait until the next few races to see whether they can challange RBR. So far they’ve had great or terrible races.
    Ferrari seems to fall back drastically, and Alonso seems to lose his cools – quite undersandably.
    Can’t wait to see how things will fold out.

    1. The “little thing” they miss is money. That has cost them James Allison and ofc the development race always requires as much money as there is available. Now money doesn’t equal good progress but it gives the chance for it and seeing as Lotus is really punching abit above their weight, with extra money they could really be the real challengers, setup the car for qualifying (instead of race as it has been the case so far) and really start from the front rows and really fight for wins.

      1. You may be right on that, but IMO there were several occasions when they could have done better on race day, but for one reason or another they couldn’t deliver.
        Of course I do understand that having more money would mean they can be more at ease in some ways, but they made some stupid mistakes. I really like Lotus, and it would be a fantastic result to reach WDC this year, but i think they lack the proffessionalism of the tp teams. I’m not sure that this is just due to lack of money. – On a second thought, this ‘non-superproffessional’ atmosphere around the team is what I like about them so much :) -now i just contradicted myself, so I finish

  19. Merc. should focus more on the constructors, they have a better chance there.

  20. Ham wins seven races, is second in the two others. Seb wins two races and is second in the other seven. Ham wins RDC.

    Not impossible.

    1. If you really believe Hamilton would win 7 races in a row I rest my case.

      1. Yeah, he’d need a Red Bull car for that.

        1. No car is currently, or consistently that good.

          1. nor has hamilton ever been in his career. he is not consistent enough to win. merc are on top of tyre troubles now, but i forsee a few races where hamilton will go backwards because of his tyre wear (not merc), because of his history with tyre wear, also he often has errors at the end of the season.

  21. Just how unlikely it is depends now on how the car’s characteristics apply to the circuits remaining and we have some data now. For Mercedes, we know about their tire situation now. They have not “solved” anything—the nature of the car is becoming more clear with more tracks. The Mercedes is not simply a tire-eater. Rather, it does not like high-speed corners combined with high ambient temp. High-grip surfaces will also cause trouble. As a case in point, the whole thing about how the heat would hurt them in Hungary was overblown. Hungary was hot, but it was hot for everyone and there were no high speed corners. And it’s low grip. Silverstone has the high-speed stuff, but it was not too hot. Monaco needless to say is low speed. It thus appears that where there is generally lower speed of cornering, OK temperature, Mercedes will be very very strong. Now that Hamilton has got his Saturday mojo back, he will be looking to win from the front where the car is good.

    On this basis I will pencil in Hamilton for Monza, Singapore, Spa (with typical weather), Abu Dhabi. India might be OK. Suzuka is going to be ugly for them, like Barcelona. Austin has a couple tire-kiling corners too and could be hella hot, so that’s out.

    So if Hamilton can get 4 more wins where the car will be good, let’s fudge it an say 5, with Vettel finishing 3rd, that’s 50 points made up. That’s his gap now with a bit to spare. Of course, at the other races, including Suzuka, he can’t just fall out of the picture. But in any case he is likely to lose too many points in these races to pull even. Therefore, Hamilton’s path to victory is to run the table on 4 tracks where the Mercedes should be strong and then snatch another one somewhere. He will also need Vettel to stumble badly at a couple races down the stretch. This whole scenario you have to put down to possible, to be supportable in the facts we have now, but it would be amazing. It would be worth another F1 movie.

    1. I’m with the 2 horse race brigade , and although it might be closer in the end I can’t see past vettel , the car is still the best in the field and he is a class driver ; combine that with the fact that the new tyres are clearly a bit better for RBR as well as mercedes it would take some bad luck for vettel to give ham a chance …not as much as ham had last year perhaps but another DNF perhaps
      would love to see kimi there as well but I fear the team lacks the resources , they admit they are in debt ; but unlike vettel kimi says it is himself who is not performing in qually
      fred? like the merc his car is quick but he has never been a great qualifier so his chances of wins are greatly reduced

  22. it was a great drive by hamilton, he always drives quick at hungary. i guess most surprising is that the mercedes worked well with the new tyres. I dont see hamilton as a title challenger, he usually goes backwards, not forwards as the year goes on, he is more likely to lose a championship when he is leading the championship then come back from 60 points down and win it. he has never dominated a series of say 3 to 4 races in a row in a season like vettel can. that and the fact that vettel will likely finish in the top 3 every race till the end of the year, i will be the first to eat my words and bow to “the best driver in f1” – if hamilton magically does it, but he is not the best, so he wont do it, he is not consistent enough, merc may have the car to do it now, but we are likely to see results now where the driver didnt get the best out of the tyres, not the car anymore.

  23. @jimscreechy : This is not true. Lewis has always acknowledged Nico’s speed & performances…He’s never doubted his competitiveness since their karting days. Even at the start of the 2013 F1 season (check Mercedes Youtube videos section) he said he’s have worked hard to achieve any success because Nico’s a strong team -mate!

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