Hamilton ends drought

BUDHAPEST: Defending world champion Lewis Hamilton finally ended his winless run when he came home triumphant for McLaren in the Hungarian Grand Prix.

The 24-year-old Englishman drove a near-faultless race to claim victory for the first time since last year’s Chinese GP. It was the 10th win of his career.

Hamilton’s win endorsed emphatically the McLaren team’s return to form after a dismal opening half to 2009 on a weekend overshadowed by Saturday’s accident during qualifying that left Brazilian Felipe Massa with severe head injuries.

Massa, 28, underwent surgery in a Budapest hospital on Saturday evening and a Ferrari statement today said he was stable and in an induced coma. Hamilton won by 11.5 seconds ahead of Massa’s Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen with Australian Mark Webber third for Red Bull, two weeks after his maiden victory in Germany.

Fernando Alonso of Renault was forced to retire after leading the opening laps when he lost his front right wheel. World championship leader Jenson Button of Brawn GP endured a tough afternoon and struggled home seventh behind fourth-placed German Nico Rosberg of Williams, Finn Heikki Kovalainen of McLaren and German Timo Glock who was sixth for Toyota. Italian Jarno Trulli finished eighth.

The race saw German Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull retire after suffering suspension damage at the opening corner in a collision with Raikkonen and that cost him second place in the title race as the Red Bull team battled through on a difficult day. Button’s two points enlarged his total at the top of the drivers standings to 70 ahead of Webber on 51.5 with Vettel third on 47.