Hamilton relieved after 'hardest' race
|By Alan Baldwin||Sunday, August 5th 2007, 14:50 GMT|
McLaren's Lewis Hamilton said the Hungarian Grand Prix was one of the hardest races of his career despite leading from start to finish to stretch his championship lead over unhappy teammate Fernando Alonso to seven points.
The 22-year-old British rookie put behind him a pole position controversy and spy saga gripping McLaren to take his third win and 10th podium finish in 11 races and underscore his credentials as title favourite.
Spain's double world champion Alonso, who was stripped of pole and demoted to sixth place on the starting grid for unnecessarily impeding Hamilton in the final seconds of Saturday's qualifying, finished fourth, behind Kimi Raikkonen and Nick Heidfeld.
Hamilton said his teammate had not spoken to him since Saturday's controversy.
"It's been an eventful weekend and quite emotional for all the team," said Hamilton, happy to be back on top after his sensational run of nine podiums in a row ended at the Nurburgring two weeks ago with ninth place.
"With all the drama that has gone on over the weekend, it would have been easy to lose focus. It's been a bit of a downer for the team."
The McLaren rookie led all 70 laps of a race that, in contrast to all the excitement and controversy away from the track in the build-up, was uneventful and processional until the closing stages when Raikkonen closed right up on the Briton.
"I had a problem with my steering and it made it quite difficult to keep the pace," said Hamilton, who soaked his father Anthony in champagne from the podium. "I was quite nervous that something was going to break but thank God it didn't.
"It was probably one of the hardest races I've had to do and even more satisfying that I had to push that bit extra to keep him (Raikkonen) behind me."