Lewis Hamilton extended his championship lead over Sebastian Vettel on Sunday by dominating the Hungarian Grand Prix to take his fifth win of the 2018 Formula 1 season, and his sixth at the Hungaroring circuit.
Hamilton, who started on the pole, immediately seized the lead off the start and controlled the race throughout, only losing the lead during a cycle of pit stops, effectively managing his tires on a one-stop strategy.
Vettel, who started fourth, got around Ferrari teammate Kimi Raikkonen to run third on the opening lap and also utilized a one-stop strategy, but Ferrari opted to run him much longer in the opening stint – Hamilton pitted on Lap 26, while Vettel pitted on Lap 40.
The intention was to see if Vettel could jump ahead of Valtteri Bottas for second, or even get within range of Hamilton to challenge him in the second half of the race. But, Vettel was unable to build a gap big enough to keep the lead when he pitted, and a slow stop allowed Bottas back through into second.
Bottas and Vettel then battled for second in the final laps, with Vettel eventually getting close enough to try a move with five laps remaining. He tried an outside pass entering Turn 3 and tried to take the line away from Bottas on corner entry, but hadn’t cleared him enough to do so, resulting in contact between the two.
Vettel continued on, now in second, without damage while Bottas suffered front wing damage to his Mercedes W09 and lost another spot to Kimi Raikkonen, dropping to fourth.
Bottas then fell into the clutches of Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo, who had charged all the way up to fifth after starting 12th. Ricciardo tried an outside pass on Bottas entering Turn 1, but the wing damage on Bottas caused him to wash out into the side of Ricciardo mid-corner.
The contact damaged the right side of Ricciardo’s RB14, while Bottas suffered yet more wing damage. Ultimately, Mercedes ordered Bottas to allow Ricciardo through to take fourth, in anticipation of a possible penalty.
It all left Vettel and Raikkonen to finish second and third behind Hamilton, with Ricciardo and Bottas taking fourth and fifth.
Pierre Gasly had his best outing since the Bahrain Grand Prix, when he finished a remarkable fourth, to finish sixth. Kevin Magnussen came home seventh, followed by Fernando Alonso, Carlos Sainz Jr., and Romain Grosjean to round out the points finishers.
Of note: Max Verstappen suffered a power unit failure in the opening laps and dropped out, and Stoffel Vandoorne was in line to score points for the first time since the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, but suffered a gearbox failure in the final laps.
Results are below. Hamilton now leads Vettel by 24 points entering Formula 1’s annual summer break. Their next event is the Belgian Grand Prix on August 26.