Victorious Hamilton: I can still win the title

Julian Harris
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BRITAIN’S Lewis Hamilton is confident that he can steal this season’s Formula One drivers’ championship after storming to a dominating victory in yesterday’s Hungarian Grand Prix.

The McLaren driver won the race from pole, fending off a persistent late attack from Lotus’s Kimi Raikkonen. He had begun the day 62 points behind championship leader Fernando Alonso yet now has the Spaniard in his sights.

Lotus grabbed two podium places, with Romain Grosjean finishing third, while Alonso – who was celebrating his 31st birthday – had to settle for a fifth place finish.

“This weekend shows it is all to play for still,” said a bullish Hamilton, after he crossed the line in one hour, 41 minutes and five seconds, just one second ahead of Raikkonen. “If we can continue this kind of performance we can catch up.

“We need consistency and we need to improve the car still in many areas and I am sure we will do that.”

Hamilton’s third ever win at the Hungaroring saw him leap-frog Raikkonen into fourth position in the overall rankings on 117 points, yet he still trails Alonso by 47 points.

Red Bull’s Mark Webber is now 40 points behind Alonso on 124, after finishing a disappointing eighth in yesterday’s race. His team- mate Sebastian Vettel came fourth, remaining third in the standings on 122 points.

The drivers have a one-month summer break before the season commences at the Belgian Grand Prix from 31 August to 1 September.

Hamilton added that he and the McLaren team – with whom his contract expires at the end of the season – have “a lot of work” to be getting on with during the interval. “It is very, very important how I manage the summer break,” he said.

Hamilton’s colleague and compatriot Jenson Button endured a frustrating race, starting fourth on the grid but falling down the places due to a three-stop strategy that left him stuck behind Williams’ Bruno Senna for several laps. McLaren also considered a three-stop “plan B” strategy for Hamilton, yet his tyres held up well enough to complete the race after only two pit-stops.

Britain’s Paul di Resta, of the Force India team, finished outside the points, in 12th.