Vettel puts mourning Ferrari ahead of Red Bull

Kristopher Nichols
August 1, 2018

Lewis Hamilton dealt another blow to Sebastian Vettel by winning the Hungarian Grand Prix and extending his championship lead.

Vettel is confident that Maranello's updates in the second half of the year will give him a big enough performance advantage to overhaul Hamilton's lead.

Lewis Hamilton's first 110 races for both McLaren and Mercedes are impressive in their different ways.

That came on lap 65 of the 70-lap race when Vettel finally passed Bottas, the Finn's right front wing touching his rear left tyre under braking, wrecking Mercedes' hopes of a one-two finish.

Now, he is almost a clear win adrift of Hamilton in their private battle to become the first driver of their generation to win a fifth world championship.

"It's great to go into the break with back-to-back wins", said Hamilton, who won in Germany last week. Ricciardo said after the race.

Bottas and Vettel had earlier touched during the overtaking move, with some debris flying off the Mercedes.

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.

Although Ferrari boasted the faster auto for both events, a crash for Vettel in Germany enabled Hamilton to snatch victory before a thunderstorm for qualifying at Budapest wiped out Ferrari's speed advantage.

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"So you sort of know but you don't know because, Lewis" information, they don't call us and say: "Our tyres still look good, you can come in earlier.' That's not how it works".

"It was good we were faster and could pull a gap to Valtteri", Vettel said.

The search for constant improvement can take a break for a couple of weeks at least with the next race not until August 26 in Belgium.

The defending world champion was only five laps later on fresh tires, but Vettel, who was heading for the race, was still kept out on the track for a while to improve the difference. On resumption, Vettel closed to within a second of Bottas, but despite tyres that were 24 laps younger, he was unable to find a pass as Raikkonen closed in.

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

"I think we could have the catching bit but not really the overtake".

"I don't mean it in championship terms, we have no number one and number two, but it was just how he was racing, was from my standpoint the best race so far with Valtteri at Mercedes in the last three years".

The Briton has now won six times in Hungary, more than any driver, but has yet to do so and take the title in the same season. If Ferrari had executed a clean pit stop he would have emerged ahead of Valtteri Bottas in the final stint and may have been able to chase down Hamilton in the lead.

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