Luck finally turns for Lewis Hamilton as he fights back against adversity in Hungary
Hamilton closes gap to Rosberg despite starting from pitlane; Lewis unrepentant in team orders row
By Pete Gill
Last Updated: 28/07/14 8:50am
Lewis Hamilton believes he has raised “the middle finger to adversity” after finishing on the podium in both Germany and Hungary following two qualifying disasters in less than a week.
Having feared he would trail Nico Rosberg by over 20 points during the summer break after a fire engulfed his crippled Mercedes car during qualifying at the Hungaroring, Hamilton will instead embark on his holidays a mere 11 points off the summit after a sterling comeback drive that saw him charge from the pitlane to the podium.
In typically pugnacious fashion, Hamilton’s race was a gripping tale of the good, the fortunate and, inevitably, contentious. If the good was encapsulated by his astonishing move around Jean-Eric Vergne on the outside of Turn Four, Hamilton's good luck was to emerge relatively unscathed from a first-lap spin which saw him clip a barrier, while the controvery centred on his justified refusal to heed a request from the Mercedes pitwall to let Nico Rosberg through. Love him or loathe him, there’s no denying that Hamilton remains without peer as F1’s box office golden ticket - or that his two comeback drives over the last seven days have saved his season from derailling spectacularly.
“As painful as it has been, physically and mentally, in the last two races, to then punch through it and fight through the field is one of the greatest feelings you could have,” a relieved Hamilton admitted to Sky Sports F1. “I’ve enjoyed that.
“These last five races have been a rollercoaster ride, particularly the last two, but I am just very grateful that I was able to get through cleanly - just about at least! - and get some points. The podium is a huge middle finger to adversity!”
But it could all have ended so differently on the first lap when Hamilton, handicapped by cold brakes after meandering out of the pitlane, spun and nudged the barriers. Was that the moment when his fortune finally turned for the better?
“That was one of the worst moments in my life, but I was just saying that if l hadn’t had any luck then that was my little luck cushion right there,” reflected Hamilton.
The Englishman, bedevilled on four separate occasions this season by costly unreliability, was due a break or two and received his second of the afternoon when Sebastian Vettel spun across the pit-straight after previously stubbornly rebuffing the Mercedes.
“I could see that every lap he was going over the kerb and I was just like ‘oopps, be careful, be careful’," said Hamilton. "And then he did it again and went off and that was instrumental in the result – it had been very difficult to follow him and get past, but it was with all the top drivers.”
Nevertheless, it was the battle between Hamilton and Rosberg, both over the airwaves and over the racing line when they jousted for third place on the final lap, that was the dominant post-race talking point. While Rosberg refused to comment on his team-mate's intransigence, Hamilton was adamant he was entitled to ignore Mercedes' surprising request.
“Ultimately I would have lost points so it definitely feels strange for me, but I’m grateful I made the right decision for myself,” said an unimpressed Hamilton. “At the end of the day, I was racing for myself, I wasn’t racing for him.”
“As far as I am aware, in my mind I was racing him.”
In retrospect, the team itself may be grateful he was. Had Rosberg finished ahead of Hamilton in the event of their instruction being obeyed, then, judging by the cynicism generated by the Englishman’s mechanical malfunction in Saturday’s qualifying session, the team’s reputation may have suffered terminal damage.