Hamilton still dreams of title, but Lotus could derail McLaren
British driver bullish after win in Hungary, but Lotus also have reason to celebrate
LEWIS HAMILTON won the Hungarian Grand Prix in Sunday and immediately claimed that could still win the Formula 1 drivers' title this year, even though he is down in fourth place, 47 points behind leader Fernando Alonso.
"Game on," said the McLaren driver after the race. "This shows it's all to play for." However the British driver made a tacit admission that he would need his rivals to slip up when he said that Alonso's fifth place finish had taken the gloss off his performance. "Not enough points taken from Fernando, as he still got 10 points," he confessed.
The race also produced further evidence of the emergence of Lotus as a force to be reckoned with this season, as Kimi Raikkonen pushed Hamilton all the way to the finish in second and Roman Grosjean also made it onto the podium. And if Hamilton believes he has a chance of glory then so too must Raikkonen who is just one point behind the McLaren driver in the standings.
Hamilton held off the challenge of Raikkonen and Grosjean during the race but paid tribute to them afterwards. "Lotus are going to win at some stage," he told the BBC. "That car looks absolutely fantastic to drive; they are doing a great job."
He added that the Lotus is likely to get even faster as the car is upgraded during the season and said that if the Oxfordshire-based outfit improved the exhaust of the car "the rest of us are going to be in trouble".
Indeed McLaren is now under serious pressure from Lotus, which only returned to the sport after a 15-year hiatus in 2010. Raikkonen is breathing down Hamilton's neck and Grosjean is now tied with Jenson Button, whose season has stalled, in seventh place on 76 points. And that means that Lotus are only one point behind McLaren in the constructors' race, and are three ahead of Ferrari.
The Hungarian Grand Prix was the last race before the summer break, and hostilities will be resumed at Spa in Belgium on 31 August.