The six-time world champion finished ahead of teammate Mercedes Valtteri Bottas by almost 14 seconds and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen by 33 in partly cloudy conditions a day after heavy rain in qualifying.
Bottas won the first game – the Austrian Grand Prix – after Hamilton received a grid penalty in qualifying, then a five-second penalty in the race itself to go from fourth to fourth place.
“I’m so thankful to be back in first place and honestly, it seems like a long time to come since the last race last year. To come back this year after a tough first weekend last week is a big step forward. “
Ferrari had no one inside the first six places on the starting grid for the second consecutive week – which had not happened since 2014, according to Sky – and things got even worse for the legendary Italian team a times led by the record of seven – champion Michael Schumacher.
Its two pilots, Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel, collided in the first lap, Leclerc seeming to fall on the quadruple world champion.
Damage to Vettel’s rear wing forced him to leave the race while Leclerc needed a long stay in the pit lane before reappearing. However, he would stop a few minutes later in the fourth round.
“I apologized (to Vettel),” said Leclerc on the official Formula 1 website. “Obviously, an apology is not enough in times like this. I’m just disappointed with myself. J did a really bad job today. I dropped the team.
“I can only be sorry, even if I know it is not enough. I hope I learn from this and we will come back stronger for the next races.”
After qualifying, team manager Mattia Binotto said that Ferrari should do better.
“We have been working very hard to bring updates to the car earlier than expected, but they have not shown their value on track,” he said. “We need to understand why and change this, which just isn’t enough for a team called Ferrari.”
Sergio Perez of Racing Point was the biggest engine of the day, finishing sixth after finishing 17th on the grid.
The season continues next weekend in Hungary.