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McLaren insists F1 title 'still up for grabs'

updated 10:34 AM EDT, Mon July 30, 2012
McLaren driver Lewis Hamilton won at the Hungaroring in 2007 and 2009.
McLaren driver Lewis Hamilton won at the Hungaroring in 2007 and 2009.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Martin Whitmarsh believes Lewis Hamilton can win 2012 F1 title
  • Hamilton won from pole position at Sunday's Hungarian Grand Prix
  • The 2008 champion is fourth in drivers' standings, 47 points behind leader
  • The F1 season now takes a five-week break before the Belgian Grand Prix

(CNN) -- McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh is confident Lewis Hamilton can challenge for the Formula One drivers' championship after his dominant victory in Sunday's Hungarian Grand Prix.

Hamilton's win at the Hungaroring, his second of the 2012 season, left the Briton fourth in the title race with 117 points, 47 behind Ferrari's double world champion Fernando Alonso at the top of the standings.

Despite the gap, Whitmarsh is backing the 2008 title winner to challenge for the championship over the year's remaining nine races.

"Although he's still a little way behind the drivers' world championship leader, he's now very well placed to mount an assault," Whitmarsh told the British team's official website. "Believe me, it's still all up for grabs.

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"Lewis drove with tremendous composure all afternoon, and the result was a meticulously judged victory, wrought under intense pressure throughout."

Hamilton, whose other race this season came in Canada in June, was delighted to have recorded the third Hungarian GP victory of his six-year F1 career.

"It was a really enjoyable race -- but it wasn't at all easy," said the 27-year-old. "In fact, I reckon that it was one of the toughest races I've ever driven -- but, guess what, I'll savour it all the more for that.

"Looking at the season as a whole, it's clear that after the midseason break we'll have a lot of work to do. But, for now, let's celebrate -- all of us, family, friends and fans -- and put on our Vodafone rocket-red tops, and enjoy the moment."

F1 teams and drivers now have five weeks to rest and recuperate before the season resumes with the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa on September 2.

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