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Bad news for Vettel: Hamilton typically gets stronger after F1 break

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BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) — The bad news for Sebastian Vettel is that Lewis Hamilton usually gets stronger after Formula One’s summer break.

Hamilton leads second-placed Vettel by 24 points after winning the past two races, and the German driver needs little reminding his British rival turned around a 14-point deficit at the same stage last year to take the title by 46.

“The second half is always exciting, it’s always intense. It gets a bit better on our side,” said Hamilton, who won Sunday’s Hungarian Grand Prix from pole position.

“We need to apply more pressure in the second half. This is where we need to turn up the heat.”

Two weeks ago, he and his Mercedes team were trailing Vettel and Ferrari in the drivers’ and constructors’ championships.

Ferrari was lapping up the compliments about having the quickest car on the circuit and Vettel seemed in the ascendancy after taking a superb pole in Germany.

With Hamilton 14th on the grid, because of a hydraulic failure , questions were being asked about the car’s reliability.

But thanks to his exquisite driving, and mistakes by Vettel and his team, the situation has turned back in favor of Mercedes.

For all of Ferrari’s new-found speed – estimated at times to be nearly 0.5 seconds quicker than Mercedes on some sectors of the track – Vettel remains prone to lapses in concentration and his team makes sloppy errors.

On Sunday, Ferrari botched the pit stops of Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen after struggling to fit a tire quickly enough.

Raikkonen also had to drive the whole race – nearly 1 hour, 40 minutes in sweltering heat – without fluids after his team failed to properly attach his drinking bottle.

Earlier in the season, a mechanic’s leg was broken by the Finnish driver’s car following an unsafe pit release at the Bahrain GP.

In Hungary, Ferrari looked strong in practice only to wilt when rain fell in qualifying . This essentially handed Mercedes a 1-2 on the starting grid, with Valtteri Bottas alongside Hamilton.

In the previous race, rain again played havoc at Hockenheim as a nervy Vettel crashed near the end of the German GP. He had been ahead by almost 10 seconds and under no pressure.

Vettel, however, is convinced he can win the title.

“The pendulum seems to swing once this side, once that side,” he said after finishing second on Sunday. “Consistency is the key. I didn’t do myself a favor (in Germany) but it is part of racing.”

Raikkonen’s form is encouraging. While the 38-year-old driver has not won since the opening day of the 2013 season – when driving for Lotus – his third place in Hungary was a fifth consecutive podium finish, and eighth in 12 races.

Overall, he is 14 points ahead of fourth-place Bottas. Ten points separate Mercedes and Ferrari, and Raikkonen’s consistency could prove vital in helping his team land its first constructors’ title since 2008.

Vettel hopes points will flow freely, once glitches are ironed out.

“Last year we lost the championship because our car wasn’t quick enough in the final part of the season,” he said. “This year has shown our car is more efficient, our car is stronger and still has a lot of potential to unleash. So I’m quite confident with what’s in the pipeline.”

Dean Wilson out for rest of Supercross season

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“Such a massive gut punch on Saturday,” Dean Wilson wrote on Instagram on Tuesday. “Just as I was gaining good momentum riding well, feeling good and chasing my first win things turned in the blink of an eye.”

With that post, Wilson announced that he will be out for the remainder of the Supercross season, which includes races at East Rutherford, N.J. and Las Vegas, Nev. An MRI earlier in the week revealed a shoulder injury. He also sustained damage to his kidney in a Lap 8 accident while he was running in the top 10.

Wilson’s injuries will not require surgery.

Wilson’s season began with a lot of promise. Earning the holeshot in the season-opening race at Anaheim, Wilson led for a time before narrowly missing the podium in fourth.

Two weeks later, Wilson finished fifth overall in the Triple Crown event of Anaheim II. Those are his only top-fives of the season.

“The tough part of this is I have been trying so hard this year to be back where I need to be trying to get a job for next year,” Wilson continued.

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Such a massive gut punch on Saturday. Just as I was gaining good momentum riding well, feeling good and chasing my first win things turned in the blink of an eye. Started off Denver topping free practice then went on to qualify P1 in qualifier 1. Qualifier 2 didn’t get the cleanest laps but ended with a 4th. On to the main event I was running around 7th on lap 7 moving forward and as I came around for the rhythm section I tripled in and something freak happened causing the bike to nose dive after I tripled in and pile driving me into the ground. The tough part of this is I have been trying so hard this year to be back where I need to be trying to get a job for next year. It’s tough just hoping to have a ride each year. 2nd part is people saying “wilson’s hurt again, big surprise there” when it was something that wasn’t my fault. It’s a tough pill To swallow.. I injured my shoulder and got a contusion on my kidneys. Got MRI and good news is I dodged a bullet on my shoulder and I am just going to give it a few weeks of rest and therapy and see where we are at. Huge disappointment to end my SX season like this. Thanks to my whole team for everything and everybody checking in on me. I really appreciate it. I will be back.

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Next Race: East Rutherford April. 27, on NBCSN and on NBC Sports Gold

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