LEWIS Hamilton resisted late pressure from Kimi Raikkonen to win the Hungarian Grand Prix from lights to flag - and said: “It’s good to be back.”
While Hamilton launched his McLaren from pole position, and made what he described as “the best start I’ve had all year”, Raikkonen started fifth in his Lotus and lost a place to championship leader Fernando Alonso, which forced him to lap behind the Ferrari for his first stint and conserve his tyres.
Raikkonen had a problem with his KERS, which failed at the start of the race and only later returned at 50 per cent power.
Lotus team-mate Romain Grosjean, who started second, put initial pressure on Hamilton before pitting on lap 19 and losing a second during his stop due to a slow-rear tyre fit.
Raikkonen profited from the various pitstops and rose to fourth on a long 26-lap stint on soft tyres before repitting for mediums on lap 46 - six laps after Grosjean, and five after Hamilton.
The Finn exited the pits just as Grosjean, who had been held up by a backmarker, came screaming down the main straight, which caused their engineers to sweat as they went through turn one side by side.
Raikkonen had little choice but to force Grosjean wide in order to steal the racing line and hunt Hamilton.
He was soon within a second of the Englishman, but the McLaren driver was able to eke out faster third sectors. There were no other opportunities for the Lotus to pass.
Hamilton, whose championship hopes were reignited after he retired at Hockenheim last time out, said: “(Lotus) were unbelievably rapid.
“At another circuit, with more overtaking opportunities, perhaps the result would have been different.”