Lewis Hamilton, the 28 year old Brit in his first season with Ross Brawn’s Mercedes, finally won his first Grand Prix with the new team- after watching less fancied teammate Rosberg notch up two victories this season.
Coming into the weekend at the Hungaroring, Mercedes were in deep trouble- completely convinced that their Pirellis wouldn’t last the race in such scorching temperatures. They were not allowed to test Pirelli’s new tyres last week with the other teams, and spent most of the week gathering as much information as they could at the track.
Mercedes are easily the most dominant force in qualifying right now- with 6 of the last 7 poles belonging to them. Brawn and his team weren’t expecting this coup at Hungary, despite Hamilton starting on pole for the third consecutive time. The race was to be another matter because the Brit was winless in the last 6 races he had started on pole, with Red Bull usually lasting the distance better than any other team.
What many except Hamilton may have forgotten is that he had won the last 3 Hungarian GP, going for a record fourth win in as many years. It was the 22nd race victory of his career.
Niki Lauda hailed his new signing at the end of the race, calling it the best race he had ever seen Lewis drive- and he was right, it was almost flawless, considering the fact that was an overwhelming favorite once again. It was the slower cars that took stock and conserved their tyres well for the first half of the race, while Vettel struggled to overtake Raikkonen towards the end. Eventually, the German triple world champion failed to do so- and had to be content with 3rd place.
Ferrari remained the middling team, with Alonso pushing them as far as 5th, and falling to 3rd in the standings behind Kimi. Both of them are over 40 points behind Vettel now, and Hamilton has joined the ‘best of the rest’ battle, a mere 7 points behind the Spaniard after a consistent few races.
Many expected Mercedes to remain at the level they were last season, but Hamilton seems to have invigorated even his teammate Rosberg in 2013- the German enjoying his best season till date.
The halfway mark of the season is here, and the next race at Belgium will be held after a full month. Red Bull (http://in.bookmyshow.com/entertainment/f1-review-canadian-grand-prix-2013/21603) will be happy with their progress as compared to last season, and Mercedes are the only team on the rise- though they are still far from a consistent threat to the Champions. Ferrari has to get their act together before it’s too late. Raikkonen and his Lotus team need to find a way to climbing upon to the top step of the podium, perpetual bridesmaids since the season beginner at Melbourne.
So far, Vettel has won 4 races, Rosberg 2, Alonso 2, Raikkonen 1 and Hamilton 1.