Heartbroken Hamilton breaks Mercedes duck

Updated: 2013-07-30 08:12

By Agence France-Presse in Budapest (China Daily)

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Heartbroken Hamilton breaks Mercedes duck

Speedy Brit dedicates victory in Hungary to his ex-girlfriend

Heartbroken Lewis Hamilton on Sunday dedicated his victory at the Hungarian Grand Prix, his first win as a Mercedes driver, to his former girlfriend Nicole Scherzinger.

Hamilton, having started from pole position, kept his title hopes alive with a comfortable win over Kimi Raikkonen, in a Lotus, and triple world champion Sebastian Vettel, in a Red Bull.

But it was his emotional post-race dedication to former Pussycat Doll singer Scherzinger, from whom he split earlier in the summer, which dominated the event's aftermath.

"Winning is just the greatest, of course," said Hamilton, whose victory was his first since leaving McLaren to race for Mercedes this year and the 22nd of his career.

"But I feel like ... the thought on my mind through the whole race was of someone who is special to me and I wanted to dedicate it to her ..."

Asked if that person was Scherzinger, he nodded.

Then, asked if he had struggled with his emotions in preparing for the race, he said: "Yes, it's been the toughest couple of months of my life.

"Coming into the race, my parents were concerned for me and just wanted to try to lift my spirits and help me keep my focus on, and clearly it's not affected my driving.

"I've been driving great and I've been very happy with how I've been qualifying for the last couple of races, but it just doesn't feel the same nowadays.

"A couple of years ago we were here together and I think I won, so I have great memories."

Hamilton, 28, and Scherzinger, 35, endured something of a rollercoaster romance as they lived on different continents and had demanding jobs and lifestyles.

On Sunday, Hamilton, the 2008 world champion, led from pole position to the checkered flag, apart from three short spells for pit stops, as he secured his fourth victory at the Hungaroring in sweltering conditions.

He is now fourth in the title race with 124 points, behind leader Vettel on 172 and Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso on 134 and 133 respectively.

"It's an incredible feeling and I'd like to thank all the fans here," said Hamilton.

"My team did an incredible job, we studied a lot last night and were hoping the tires would last.

"We had no idea it would go that well, but I was hungry for it today. I was going all out. Usually, I get stuck in traffic, but today I was going for every move I could. I wasn't having any of that.

"This has been one of the best and most important wins of my career."

Raikkonen said: "I keep making my life difficult on Saturdays so we pay the price. I had a good car, we did two stops, it was tight with Seb at the end, but we gained some good points in the championship."

Vettel, who appeared upset by a brush with the Finn during their duel, said: "It was not the best race. The start was difficult and when Lewis pulled in we thought we could do it on the softs.

"But I damaged my front wing which did not help. I tried to hang on in there and tried to fight back with Kimi. I could not get him on the straight. I told Kimi I was not happy, but he was laughing. That's racing."

It was the Mercedes team's third win of the season, Nico Rosberg having won the Monaco and British races.

Australian Mark Webber finished fourth in the second Red Bull ahead of two-time champion Alonso and sixth-placed Frenchman Romain Grosjean of Lotus.

Grosjean was later penalized 20 seconds for a clash with Jenson Button but he retained his sixth-place finish.

(China Daily 07/30/2013 page23)