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Hamilton says title within grasp after win

July 30, 2012

BUDAPEST: Lewis Hamilton says his victory in the Hungarian Grand Prix proves that he can still win the world title.

The McLaren driver is still 47 points behind championship leader Fernando Alonso, who finished fifth, but Hamilton says it shows he has the pace to close the gap.

“Not enough points taken from Fernando, as he still got 10 points, but if we can continue this performance.”

Hungary was the 11th race of the season and there are still nine remaining, starting with the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps on 2 September, following Formula 1′s summer break.

Hamilton took his victory, which came from pole position, following race-long pressure from the two Lotus cars of Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean and he said their pace proved McLaren still had to improve their car.

“We need to improve the car still in many areas, and that, I’m sure, we will do,” he said.

“Lotus are going to win at some stage. That car looks absolutely fantastic to drive; they are doing a great job.

“It’s not unexpected – they’ve won world championships in the past, they are a fantastic team. And they’re picking their pace up.

“They’re that quick and yet they don’t have the rear end [exhaust-influenced aerodynamics] Ferrari, Red Bull and us have. When they get that, the rest of us are going to be in trouble.”

Despite Ferrari’s lack of pace, Alonso actually extended his lead to 40 points over his closest rival in the championship, Red Bull’s Mark Webber, who could only finish eighth.

And the Spaniard lost only two points to the man in third place, Webber’s team-mate Sebastian Vettel, who finished one place ahead of the Ferrari in fourth.

Alonso said: “It was more or less what we could do and even better because, to be honest, finishing in front of Webber and one place behind Vettel is very good for us in terms of the championship.

“We were not competitive and we struggled a bit in the race, but thanks to the strategy and the consistency of the car we were able to finish in a good position.”

Webber said: “Look, we’ve just got to stop the friendly fire. Yesterday was my fault in qually, but we have had some instances where we need to just keep doing better.

“That’s how this team operates and I’m looking forward to the back part of the championship.”

Hamilton’s team-mate Jenson Button said he felt the team’s strategy had not worked for him – he complained that they brought him in for his second and third pit stops too early.

He said: “We decided to go to for a three-stop [strategy], but every time I pitted, even though the tyres were good, I pitted into traffic.

“I don’t know why we pitted when we did. I said to the guys: ‘Is this traffic quicker than the guys I’m racing?’ And they said: ‘No.’ And I said: ‘So why have we pitted into this traffic?

“I don’t know, there must have been be a misunderstanding where I would come out of the pits. Hopefully we’ll learn from this, because it happened twice.

“I’m not happy with the strategy, but happy where we’ve taken the car.”

-Agencies


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