Auger-Aliassime bumps slump to beat qualifier at Barcelona Open
Lewis Hamilton delivered one of the most crushing triumphs in recent Formula One history – and then called on his under-performing rivals to increase their game so he does not cruise to a seventh world championship.
So emphatic was Hamilton’s performance here at the Hungaroring on Sunday – one that took him to the top of the title standings for the first time this campaign – that he could afford to stop for new tires in order to post the fastest lap and claim a bonus point.
Prior that change of rubber with four of the 70 laps remaining, Hamilton held a half-minute advantage over Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, was even further ahead of Valtteri Bottas in identical Mercedes machinery, and had lapped Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel – a man he once considered a championship rival. Not anymore.
Hamilton’s fastest tour was more than a second quicker than Bottas, an eye-watering 2.5 sec faster than Verstappen, and almost 4 sec speedier than Vettel.
He now heads to the British Grand Prix at Silverstone in a fortnight’s time five points clear of Bottas, who finished a disappointing third, and 30 ahead of runner-up Verstappen in the standings. So, is Hamilton’s march towards Michael Schumacher’s record championship collection in danger of becoming a procession?
“Not from my seat, no,” he said. “We are working our arses off and we are going to continue to do that. Look, I don’t know what is going to happen over these next races. Hamilton’s 86th career triumph, which came a day after his landmark 90th career pole, now moves him to within only five of Schumacher’s win record, too.
With seven races to come in just nine weeks there is every chance Hamilton will have toppled Schumacher’s tally – one which many thought could stand the test of time – before the close of autumn.