'Big vehicle change' set up Hamilton victory

'Big vehicle change' set up Hamilton victory

'Big vehicle change' set up Hamilton victory

Sebastian Vettel survived a collision with Valtteri Bottas to snatch second place at the Hungarian Grand Prix, but Lewis Hamilton's victory extended his lead in the drivers' standings to 24 points.

Vettel was released into second when Bottas stopped and inherited the lead when Hamilton came into the pits, and his pace advantage effectively left him a net second, ostensibly with the intention to hunt down the Briton on softer and fresher rubber.

Bottas, who lost part of his front wing, finished fifth after a late collision with Daniel Ricciardo, who then overtook the Finn on the final lap in his second shot at the wounded Mercedes vehicle.

It was Hamilton's record sixth win in Hungary, his fifth this season and the 67th of his career.

"We've definitely had ups and downs in this championship, it's such a roller coaster ride", he said.

"And he would have said the same about Lewis if he'd be in same situation and had a similar race".

A virtual safety auto after McLaren's Stoffel Vandoorne retired briefly raised Ferrari hopes but no further drama unfolded until Vettel managed to overtake Bottas five laps from the end.

After qualifying behind both Mercedes and his Ferrari team-mate, he started on the back-foot on Sunday and 18 points for second was sterling damage limitation.

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"We knew the Ferraris would be quick and they have been strong for the last three or four races".

The next race isn't until the 26th of August in Belgium. Kimi Raikkonen is a further 43 points behind, while Bottas trails his fellow Finn by 14 - he is 81 points adrift of Hamilton.

"I was happy today, happy to finish and get some points and have a race I feel I maximised".

"In today's race, starting P2, after Lap 1, Valtteri's race was the flawless wingman race - and I don't mean it in championship terms, because we have no No 1, we have no number two, but it was just how he was racing. In the end it was a good result for us", Ricciardo said. Still, 20 laps before the end, I was feeling ok.

At lap 22, Hamilton and Vettel were still leading, followed by Bottas and Raikonnen. The contact damaged Bottas' front wing and dropped him to fourth behind Kimi Raikkonen (before dropping to fifth at the finish), but despite the risk of a puncture Vettel emerged without damage.

"But I think all around, performance-wise, in terms of strategy - to win a championship is not just about speed".

'Last year we lost the championship in the second half of the year because our vehicle wasn't quick enough, but I am quite confident that we can improve, ' a spirited Vettel said.

"So, I am confident that we can improve and it should be a very exciting second half to the season".

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