Hamilton's damage limitation in Hungary keeps him top
PUBLISHED: 18:37 03 August 2008 | UPDATED: 21:34 26 October 2009
HOCH ZWEI / Michael Kunkel
LEWIS Hamilton has extended his World Championship lead following an eventful Hungarian Grand Prix. The McLaren Mercedes driver is now five points clear of reigning world champion Kimi Raikkonen after salvaging fifth place at the Hungaroring today. Things
LEWIS Hamilton has extended his World Championship lead following an eventful Hungarian Grand Prix.
The McLaren Mercedes driver is now five points clear of reigning world champion Kimi Raikkonen after salvaging fifth place at the Hungaroring today.
Things looked to be going wrong for the 23-year-old from Herts at the circuit near Budapest.
Having qualified on pole, he was soon overtaken by Ferrari's fast-staring Felipe Massa at the first corner.
Hamilton then suffered a damaged front tyre and pitted earlier than expected for a new set of rubbers on lap 41, dropping from second to outside the points in the process.
With race leader Massa seemingly coasting to the chequered flag, Hamilton's grip on the title race was being loosened.
However, Brazilian Massa's engine then blew three laps from the finish line, handing Hamilton's McLaren team-mate Heikki Kovalainen a surprise maiden Formula 1 victory.
With Massa retiring from the race, Hamilton eventually crossed the line fifth to maintain his lead in the drivers' standings.
Hamilton admitted things didn't quite go to plan, but was happy to come away still top of the leaderboard.
"The race could have been better for me," said Hamilton.
"My start was okay, but Felipe's was better and he managed to overtake me.
"I managed to maintain the gap during the first stint and felt comfortable in the second stint because I was matching his times but was going to be running longer to the final stops.
"I feel I could have had a go at passing him, but the damaged tyre halted my progress. I don't yet know what happened.
"But at least I scored four points and maintained my lead in the championship, so this result is not too bad for me."
After 11 races, Lewis leads the drivers' championship with 62 points.
Valencia in Spain is the next destination for the European Grand Prix on August 24.