The Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS drivers Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg took third and fourth position at the Hungaroring, as both overcame some misfortune during the Hungarian Grand Prix.
Hamilton was able to convert a pit lane start into a podium finish, and even survived an off at turn two on the opening lap in the tricky conditions. He knew he was helped by the safety car to keep in touch with the leaders, but had a strong race, and only lost second place a few laps from the end after being passed by the determined Daniel Ricciardo.
“It is a great result today; I was just pushing as hard as possible to get as high as I could,” said Hamilton. “It was obviously damage limitation after what happened yesterday. I can’t express the pain I feel when we have issues such as in the last couple of races; it’s hard to swallow and difficult to come back the next day and get the right balance between not attacking too much, but pushing to the limit.
“The two safety car periods helped quite a lot, but naturally I looked fast and had the pace this weekend, so there was an opportunity for more points. I was in the same race as Nico and if I let him past and he had the opportunity to pull away, then he would have come back and overtaken me. I didn’t understand why the team asked me to do that as he didn’t get close enough to overtake and I didn’t want to lift off and lose ground to Fernando.
“I would like to say a big congratulations to Daniel and Fernando. It was close at the end and it was getting very hard to keep Nico behind as he was catching at close to 3 seconds a lap. Coming back through shows how great this car and team is, and this result is much more satisfying than an easy win. Going into the break, I’m still in the fight for the championship, which is very satisfying.”
Team-mate Rosberg was frustrated with his race, losing a comfortable lead when the first safety car was deployed, and from there on in the German was fighting to gain track positions. He was able to close down a 20-second gap to join the lead battle, but ultimately could only finish fourth behind Ricciardo, Fernando Alonso and Hamilton.
“That was a disappointing afternoon,” said Rosberg. “A few things didn’t work out for me and it was a very up and down race. In the beginning it was all under control. Unfortunately the safety car cost me the lead, because I just missed the pit entry and then I couldn’t pit. I also had some braking issues after the safety car went in and a difficult period of time with handling this, which cost me some positions. Then I was able to push a lot.
“I had a great last stint and at the end there was one chance to overtake Lewis in the last lap, but it didn’t work out. So that is massively disappointing. We need to sit down and analyse internally what went wrong today. I’m still leading the championship, which is a positive thing, and I’ll be ready to attack again after the summer break.”
Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport Toto Wolff will sit down with his drivers and discuss the mid-race communications that saw Hamilton ask to let Rosberg past, but saw the Briton hold position. He was happy about the pace of both drivers who both had to fight for their position after suffering some kind of misfortune during the race.
“The conditions today made the race very difficult,” said Wolff. “The safety car periods worked out better for some and worse for others. If you look at the leading three cars before the safety car period, they ended up in fourth, seventh and eighth – and that was what really cost Nico, when he was held by the Safety Car and couldn’t get back to the pits.
“The result for us was also down to some brilliant driving from Lewis and Nico. To finish third and fourth on a circuit that’s very difficult to overtake on is probably the best we could have done today, given the challenges that were thrown our way. Again we had reliability issues on Lewis’ car and we had some very difficult decisions to make in the race.
“Obviously, we need to sit down, discuss and analyse the moment when Lewis was asked to let Nico pass – but, like always, we will do this calmly and work our way through any confusion or misunderstanding. There were so many things influencing the decisions we made and we must still determine whether we were right or not. We are not satisfied with third and fourth today, so we will look at everything and try to improve for the next race.”