Lewis Hamilton was alerted to a tear in his suit after battling to another podium finish at the Hungarian Grand Prix on Sunday. The Brit fought valliantly up to P2, and might have even had a chance to scrap with Max Verstappen for top spot if rain had disrupted the final few laps.
Most of Mercedes’ bets were placed on George Russell after the former Williams star took his first ever pole position, and the team’s first of the season, on Saturday. Despite holding off the challenge of Charles Leclerc impressively during the early stages of the race, things eventually got away from Russell and strategy favoured his more experienced team-mate.
While Verstappen stole the show by battling from 10th on the grid to take yet another win, it was also a superb afternoon for Hamilton who advanced from seventh to second after his final qualifying lap was derailed by a DRS issue. Late pace on soft tyres saw him weave through the pack and he may have even challenged the Dutchman had the Grand Prix gone on any longer.
“I don’t now where the speed came from,” Hamilton told Sky Sports. “I was struggling at the beginning of the race but, bit by bit, I got more comfortable with the balance. I want to acknowledge my team who have never given up through this tough year.
“For both cars to be on the podium twice is special for us. George was really unlucky today. The other guys still have an edge but we’re closing the gap. Hopefully we will bring some more after the break and start fighting with those in front.
“Being cooler seemed to work better for us, I don’t know why. I was hoping it was going to rain at the end so I could challenge Max, but we ran out of laps. Two second-places in a row, I’m really happy. Thanks to the fans for the amazing support. [Over the summer break] I’ll be training, focusing, re-centring and making sure we come back strong in the second half of the season.”
At the end of the interview, David Coulthard picked up on a tear in Hamilton’s suit at the elbow. The Brit, perplexed with the discovery, explained: “That’s probably just banging against the side of the cockpit. I’ve never seen that before, but my arm is ok.”
While Mercedes will undoubtedly be delighted with a second consecutive double podium, the afternoon again belonged to Verstappen and Red Bull. A spirited fightback from the 24-year-old saw him further extend his lead over Leclerc, which stood at a healthy 63 points before the start of the race. The Ferrari star was again hampered by questionable calls from his team, and he tumbled from leading the race at one stage to finishing in P6.
“I was hoping I could get close to a podium,” said Verstappen. “Very tricky conditions but we had a great strategy. We had some good out laps and at the end we won.”
On a mid-race spin that could have gone horribly wrong, he added: “I was struggling with the clutch and shifts, we had to change a few things to not burn the clutch. That cost a bit of performance and it caught me out with that corner. Luckily I did a 360 so only lost one spot.
“I was battling a lot of guys so it was a lot of fun out there. Charles was struggling on the hard tyres. It was a crazy race and I’m very happy that we won it.”