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Sun, 29 July, 2012Lotus fail to stop Hamilton's march to victory

  • Lewis Hamilton (McLaren) celebrates on the podium. © McLaren.
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Lewis Hamilton soaked up intense pressure from both Lotus drivers in Budapest this afternoon to take his second victory of the year and recover his crumbling title hopes ahead of the summer break. The Briton held the upper hand throughout the race from pole position, with first Grosjean and then Räikkönen pushing the 2008 champion hard for the top step of the podium.

Hamilton kept the lead comfortable at lights-out, but only after the first start was aborted, with the additional formation lap shortening the race distance by one lap. Grosjean kept pace with the McLaren pilot for the first two stints though, with Hamilton rarely having time to breath.

Räikkönen then came into the reckoning thanks to a long second stint to leapfrog his team-mate and hunt down Hamilton, but just as Grosjean had failed, Räikkönen too was unable to force the leader into an error or find a way past despite clearly having the quicker car.

Behind the podium finishers, Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel took fourth with championship leader Fernando Alonso taking an unlikely fifth having looked off the pace throughout the race. Webber and Button handed him a lifeline by pitting three times, allowing Alonso to move further up the order, beating Button, Senna, Webber and Massa to the line. Nico Rosberg was the final points finisher in tenth.

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