By Carol M. Creasey
Hungary has been a great track for Lewis Hamilton in the past, as he has won the race eight times, so having come second in France last week, he arrived there with hope that the car would perform well.
The team decided to experiment with the set-up in free practice, but it didn’t work as both Lewis and George were off the pace. Rain also hampered the sessions. However, by the time qualifying came round, their cars had been set up differently.
When it got to Q3, Lewis was very unlucky, as his DRS was not working, so he had to settle for seventh place on the grid for the race. However, George took his opportunity to shine, and scooped his first ever pole position, which must have meant a lot to him.
On race day, the rain was hanging around intermittently. George led off, and for several laps he managed to keep the Ferraris behind him. In the meantime, Lewis aced his start again, immediately getting into fifth place. Then drivers started pitting, Lewis had really looked after his tyres, so he stayed out longer, and at one point was leading the race.
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During the race his pace was amazing, and he was reliably informed by Bono several times, that he was the fastest man on track. At one point towards the end of the race he was eight seconds behind Sainz, and he caught up and overtook him. George was in second place behind Verstappen, and he was struggling with his tyres, so Lewis overtook him as well to claim another second place. To round off a succssful weekend, he also claimed a point for fastest lap.
The race was won by Verstappen, who started 10th, had a spin, but still managed to win in his dominant Red Bull. It has been interesting to note that for the past two races, Perez has been off the pace, and there is a rumour amongst the fans that he is running the new legal floor. Whether this is true, no-one knows for sure, but it will be interesting to see how Red Bull and Ferrari perform during the second half of the season, as it is thought that they are among the teams that have been running illegal ‘flexi-floors’.
So it was another double podium for Mercedes, well done to Lewis and George again, what a way to round off the first half of the season! When Toto was interviewed after the race he stated that if Lewis had been able to fight for pole, and start further up the grid, he might well have got his first win of 2022.
I am looking forward to the second half of the season, when the FIA’s ‘anti-porpoising’ technical directive is enforced, and its a level playing field for all cars. What is disappointing is the FIA have not acted quickly enough to enforce the TD, which makes winning the championship this year for Mercedes very hard. But I would never write off their chances, they are a top team, with two great drivers, and there may be DNFs for the other teams in the second part of the season, or incidents between drivers. Nothing is set in stone.
Out of every team, Mercedes is the only one so far with no DNFs due to mechanical problems, and Sir Lewis Hamilton is the only driver on the grid to see the checkered flag at every race. I am wishing Mercedes all the luck in the world, and I commend them and their drivers for working so hard to understand their car, the results they have achieved in only the third fastest car have been truly amazing!
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