Team Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton wasn’t expected to be victorious at the 2013 Hungarian Grand Prix, but after winning the pole and leading almost every lap on Sunday, the veteran driver is back in contention for the Formula One Championship.
Hamilton currently sits fourth overall in the standings, 48 points behind leader Sebastian Vettel, per NBC Sports.
2013 F1 Championship Standings
|Rank||Driver||Points||Behind||Wins||Top 5||Top 10||DNF||Laps Led|
*Full results via NBC Sports.
Not only did Hamilton win his first race of the season, but this was also his first victory since making the jump to Team Mercedes. With serious momentum on his side after taking the clean sweep in Hungary, the British star’s championship chances are once again alive.
Hamilton spoke to the Associated Press following his victory on Sunday, via ESPN, and spoke about how much the win means to him and how he hopes this will lead to contending for the championship:
This is probably one of the most important Grand Prix wins of my career. I hope there are many more to come. We were on the back foot when we came in, I wasn't even expecting to be on pole. Four wins [at the Hungaroring], that's incredible. I love it here.
I hope today is the first step in [catching up] but we have a lot of races coming up. I remember the first time I won, it was an exceptional feeling. Today it was a really calming feeling when I came over the line. The guys have just been phenomenal all year. I feel like I really earned my keep today.
There is no doubt that Hamilton and Team Mercedes have made great strides in 2013—they went from a team that struggled to finish well to a team all over the podium this season—and the victory on Sunday proved that the veteran driver’s ability was still at an elite level.
Add in the momentum that winning at a world-renowned track like the Hungaroring can bring to a driver with as much history as Hamilton does at the track (three previous victories in Hungary), and the tide has turned on his success this season.
While Hamilton will likely begin his ascension toward the top of the standings, it may be too little too late with Team Red Bull’s Vettel dominating the points and boasting a comfortable lead. Vettel has been on a level all of his own thus far, and it will take a complete meltdown from Team Red Bull for Team Mercedes to launch Hamilton into real consideration.
Few in the motorsports world expected Hamilton to contend for a championship in his first season with a new team, but if he can continue racing hard and getting some luck going in his direction, there is little doubt he could finish the year on a successful note.
The better Hamilton finishes in 2013, the more confident he will be heading into his second campaign with Team Mercedes.