By Abhishek Takle
BUDAPEST (Reuters) – Triple Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton won the Hungarian Grand Prix on Sunday 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 on 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.”
Sunday’s win was the 48th of his career and fifth of the season.
Until Sunday he had shared the record for Hungary GP wins with seven times 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.
Australian Daniel Ricciardo finished third for Red Bull after pushing the Mercedes pair hard enough at one point for the champions to tell Hamilton to pick up the pace.
Ferrari’s four times 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 Finn had started 14th but a long first stint saw him challenging the Dutchman.
The battle between the pair provided a moment 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.
Fernando Alonso was the sole surviving McLaren in seventh.
McLaren’s hopes of a strong result on the back of their best qualifying performance since renewing their engine partnership with Honda were dashed early on, with Jenson Button falling down the order with hydraulics problems.
The 2009 world champion also collected a drive-through penalty for a breach of radio rules before finally retiring late in the race.
Rosberg, who has also won five races this year, will have the chance to seize back the lead in his home German Grand Prix. The race at Hockenheim, absent from the calendar last year, takes place in just a week’s time.
“It was all down to the start in the end,” said Rosberg of Sunday’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.
“To have the next race coming up very quickly sounds good, at my home race…it’s going to be awesome.”
(Editing by Alan Baldwin)