The defending champion started second alongside title rival Nico Rosberg but a better getaway would see him nose in front at turn one to snatch a lead he’d maintain all the way to the chequered flag.
Indeed, after tumultuous weekends in Budapest for the past two seasons, Hamilton would enjoy a relatively trouble-free afternoon at a scorching Hungaroring, the definitive move for the race coming in the seconds after the lights as he got the jump on pole sitter Rosberg.
Starting from the front having been exonerated in an investigation over a yellow flag infringement the night before, Rosberg couldn’t make it count as a poor getaway opened the door for Hamilton and Daniel Ricciardo to get by through Turn 1.
Though Rosberg immediately recovered second with an outside move around Turn 2, Hamilton was already out of DRS range by the time it was enabled on lap three.
Setting the tone for race out front, though Hamilton would contend with some tyre issues initially after his first stop and stubborn traffic, the gap to Rosberg would deviate from around 1s to 4s all the way through, the German only getting close with ten laps remaining when an error by Hamilton briefly bunched the pair up.
Nonetheless, Hamilton would restore his advantage in the final revolutions to take the chequered flag for his fifth win in six races, a success that puts him ahead of Rosberg at the head of the standings for the first time this season.
Daniel Ricciardo completed the podium as Red Bull Racing’s much anticipated challenge never truly materialised, the Australian rallying mid-race as his RB12 settled onto the soft tyres quicker than the Mercedes’ only for an earlier second stop – designed to spook Mercedes into covering him – to prove unsuccessful as he faded.
Making more than one complaint about blue flags, Sebastian Vettel finished on Ricciardo’s tail in fourth position in an otherwise unsatisfying race for last year’s race winner.
Max Verstappen and Kimi Raikkonen provided much of the race’s scant entertainment with an aggressive fight for fifth in the closing stages. With 14th place Raikkonen playing himself into contention by going long on the first stint and pitting on lap 29, he would spend much of his afternoon in Verstappen’s company.
Indeed, with Verstappen bottled up behind the yet-to-pit Raikkonen for 14 laps early on, the Dutchman would later have his mirrors full of Ferrari as the Finn quickly recovered ground with a late second stop for fresh tyres.
Though the sheer disparity in pace looked set to see Raikkonen scythe by, a steadfast Verstappen held his ground, prompting the pair to clash into Turn 2 on lap 47. With an incensed Raikkonen lambasting Verstappen for his hard defence, the Finn stayed on his tail despite some front-wing damage. However, Raikkonen could not get the better of the youngster, Verstappen holding firm to secure fifth.
Fernando Alonso endured a lonely afternoon to finish where he started in seventh place for McLaren, his team-mate Jenson Button proving the sole retirement of the race after an afternoon peppered by intermittent issues and a drive-through penalty for an ‘illegal’ radio communication.
Carlos Sainz, Valtteri Bottas and Nico Hulkenberg completed the top ten and the points, albeit a lap adrift of the winner.
Elsewhere, race drama was limited to a costly spin for Jolyon Palmer, who was in the hunt for points beforehand, and time penalties for Esteban Gutierrez (ignoring blue flags) and Daniil Kvyat (pit lane speeding)