Vettel sees hope in Hungary despite qualifying woe

Lewis Hamilton arrives at Friday's free prctice

Lewis Hamilton is a heart-on-sleeve character Credit Tamas Kovacs MTI via AP

Hamilton leads second-placed Vettel by 24 points after winning the past two races, and the German driver needs little reminding his British rival turned around a 14-point deficit at the same stage previous year to take the title by 46. The German driver won the season opener in Australia and the next race at Bahrain in April keeping Hamilton at bay.

"We came here knowing that the Ferrari would be really quick this weekend", Hamilton said shortly after getting out of his auto.

"Then it's a bit hard to foresee the traffic and knowing how well you go through traffic or not, and in that case I lost quite a lot. What a attractive day and a great crowd - and a great job from the team". 'Our bosses stopped reading what Christian Horner is saying about us since 2015, ' said the Frenchman. We had to pit early to cover Kimi (Raikkonen).

"So, we'll see. Should be an exciting second part of the year".

"I think the laps that I had were fine, but just not quick enough".

Ricciardo admitted this month his options were "pretty limited" following what he perceived as a lack of interest from Ferrari and Mercedes, and the latter have since secured Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas for 2019. "I wasn't sure what was going on", Vettel said.

"I am happy to see that the vehicle is fast, it has worked well on every track so far, so I think this is the most important thing".

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It's worth exploring what happened, how Bottas came so close to taking Vettel out, and what it means for the rest of the season.

Vettel, Ferrari, Hamilton and Mercedes arrived in Hungary all thinking this was a race the Scuderia would win.

In lap number 6, the auto of Max Verstappen (Red Bull) slowed down, showing lack of power and he gave up the race as well.

But with his negotiations with Red Bull continuing to drag on, Ferarri's interest could be reignited. Red Bull are to switch to a Honda engine next season.

Hamilton now has 213 points to Vettel's 189 after the 12th of 21 races this year and before the championship takes a European summer break.

Following Lewis Hamilton's win at the Hungarian Grand Prix last weekend, he has now raced 110 times for Mercedes, which is the same amount of races he competed in for McLaren. This gave Raikkonen a chance to move up into third place.

Lap 68 - Ricciardo tries overtakes Bottas and there's another crash in the following curve! The Silver Arrow's succeeded to gain control of the race.

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"'The start was a bit hectic, I got beaten around a little bit". Bottas's vehicle is damaged and he has to come into the pits.

For Hamilton, it was a dream scenario and, with 10 laps to go, he was 18 seconds clear of the unyielding Bottas, who had both Ferraris bottled up behind him, within a second, until Vettel lunged by with five laps to go. By half race distance on lap 35 he was almost 25 seconds behind Vettel.

'And he would have said the same about Lewis if he'd be in same situation and had a similar race.

After one lap under Virtual Safety Car (VSC) conditions, Hamilton resumed his charge.

Lap 50 - With 20 laps to go its Hamilton, Bottas, Vettel, Raikkonen, and Ricciardo.

Bottas retained his second place after everyone had pitted by virtue of a slow pitstop by Ferrari for Sebastian Vettel saw him come out of the pitlane behind the Finn.

"We could have probably caught him but not passed him".

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Lap 39 - Raikkonen maks his second pit stop and drops back to fifth.

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