FORMULA One hero Niki Lauda yesterday poured praise on Lewis Hamilton, insisting that the British driver won the Hungarian Grand Prix due to his superior performance, rather than by simply having the fastest car.
Hamilton won plaudits for completing two key manoeuvres during the race, which proved critical in keeping his Mercedes at the top of the order.
“The car was not the best, but Lewis made it all up the way he passed people – it was outstanding,” said Lauda, a three-time world champion who is now chairman of Mercedes’ F1 team.
The team’s other driver, Nico Rosberg, endured a difficult day, running off the track twice on the opening lap. Trailing in 10th, his race came to an abrupt end when his engine caught fire on lap 66.
Rosberg’s retirement was a boon to Williams, however, allowing Pastor Maldonado to move up and finish 10th – gaining the British team their first point of the season.
After the race Ferrari were given a €15,000 (£12,950) fine due to a drag reduction system (DRS) fault.
And Lotus’s Romain Grosjean picked up a 20-second penalty for hitting McLaren’s Jenson Button.
Hungarian Grand Prix result
■ L Hamilton (Mercedes), 1 hr 42 mins 29 secs
■ K Raikkonen (Lotus), 1:42:40
■ S Vettel (Red Bull), 1:42:41
■ M Webber (Red Bull), 1:42:47
■ F Alonso (Ferrari), 1:43:02
Race for the 2013 championship
■ Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull), 172 points
■ Kimi Raikkonen (Lotus), 134 pts
■ Fernando Alonso (Ferrari), 133 pts
■ Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes), 124 pts