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Hamilton looking for a high five at Hungarian Grand Prix

By Reuters - Jul 24,2014 - Last updated at Jul 24,2014

BUDAPEST — Lewis Hamilton may not be putting the Buddha into Budapest this weekend but he could be tempted to seek divine assistance if luck goes against him in Sunday’s Hungarian Grand Prix.

The Mercedes Formula One driver needs a win to cut into teammate Nico Rosberg’s 14-point championship lead after 10 of the 19 races and Hungary offers the perfect opportunity.

Hamilton has won there four times in the last seven seasons, including the last two, and the Briton shares the record for victories at the slow and twisty Hungaroring with Michael Schumacher.

Rosberg’s best result at the circuit, outside Budapest, remains a fourth place with Williams in 2009.

However, Hamilton’s season has also been beset by bad luck, with two race retirements and problems such as the front brake disc failure in qualifying that led to him starting last weekend’s German Grand Prix from 20th on the grid.

“I’m going there [Hungary] to try and win,” he told reporters after finishing third at Hockenheim.

“I just hope that the car sticks together so I can go out and do the job... I’m not planning on starting from the back there,” he added with a laugh.

Hamilton, like most Formula One drivers, is a believer in the old adage that you make your own luck in motor racing and he said he would never pray for it.

But it would be nice if some of the bad stuff went away in the last Grand Prix before the three-week European summer shutdown.

“A clean weekend is what I’m looking for, to come away from there with some strong points going into the break, get some rest time and then head back into the last part of the season,” he said.

“Maybe I need to go and visit some Indians, go and visit the Buddha, rub the Buddha belly or whatever,” joked the Briton, with a big grin. “Try all the different religions to see if I can get some luck.”

 

Williams danger

 

While Rosberg will be Hamilton’s main rival, with Mercedes having won nine of the 10 races so far, Hungary is more about aerodynamics and downforce than having the best engine.

That could put Red Bull more into the mix — although quadruple champion Sebastian Vettel has never won in Hungary despite finishing on the podium three times.

Williams — and particularly Finland’s Valtteri Bottas — have been the team pushing Mercedes hardest of late and the revived former champions are hoping for another good weekend.

Bottas has been second in the last two races, and third in the one before that, and Hungary has long been seen as a home race for Formula One’s Finnish drivers due to linguistic similarities and proximity.

“We know it’s not the best circuit for our car but we are working on getting more grip in the corners and we have some upgrades that should help as well,” said Bottas. “A good few practice sessions should help us get the set-up right.

“There are always a few fans from Finland, it’s almost like a Finnish GP, so I hope to pay the fans back with a good result.”

Hungary also has happy memories for McLaren’s Jenson Button and Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso, who both took the first wins of their F1 careers at the circuit.

Button has won there twice, most recently in 2011, while Alonso’s sole victory was in 2003.

“The Hungaroring is a great track. Everybody thinks of it as a slow circuit, but, out the back, it’s got some pretty decent corners... the sequence of S-bends that make up turns 8 to 11 are really satisfying to drive,” said Button.

“Nonetheless, it’s still a circuit where you require lots of downforce and grip, and I think we are making positive steps in that direction.”

 

Calm warning

 

Brazilian Felipe Massa has urged Formula One’s younger drivers to calm down after he suffered another big collision in the German Grand Prix.

The Williams driver had qualified third on the grid but failed to complete a lap after being pitched out at the first corner in a coming together with McLaren’s Danish rookie Kevin Magnussen.

Massa, whose car flipped and skidded along upside down before righting itself, blamed the Dane for the crash.

“This is not the first time he was in an accident on the first lap. Most of the time these young drivers they want to win the race at the first corner,” said the former Ferrari driver.

“If you take most of the accidents that happen, they happen always with them.”

Asked what he would say to Magnussen, Massa continued: “I would say what I’m saying to you: ‘Just take it easy’. I’m not the only one losing, he’s losing out as well. He spun, maybe his car was not the same, so for sure he lost points as well.

“I hope it’s enough for him to understand to take it easy a little bit more in the next race.”

Massa’s frustration was understandable, with the Brazilian sidelined while Finnish teammate Valtteri Bottas took second place — his third successive top-three finish and the 300th podium in Williams’ history.

Massa has yet to stand on the podium this year, despite having one of the quickest cars after the dominant Mercedes, and has scored just 30 points to his teammate’s 91 in 10 races.

He drew a blank in the British Grand Prix two weeks ago when he started slowly and was then caught up in the aftermath of Kimi Raikkonen’s first lap crash into the barriers.

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