After clinching his first win behind the wheel of a Mercedes GP car, Hungarian Grand Prix winner Lewis Hamilton declared his victory as one of the most important wins of his Formula 1 career.
The 28-year-old’s fourth win at the Hungaroring since his debut in 2007 was a hard-fought triumph, as well as being a one that Hamilton himself did not expect to be celebrating – even after planting the #10 Mercedes on pole position for the third time in successive races to deny championship leader Sebastian Vettel and gift himself an opportunity to rain on Red Bull‘s parade.
Hamilton on Saturday evening remained very cautious on his chances of victory, wary on the topic of whether Mercedes could survive the long game without overheating their tyres too much and falling prey to their rivals as the race drew on as has been the case on more than one occasion thus far in 2013.
However, even with this worry on their shoulders and not having had the luxury of participation in the recent young driver test at Silverstone, a fighting Hamilton showed up on Sunday to win and duly pulled off the feat that he said may have needed ’a miracle’ to succeed, declaring his first win in a Mercedes GP car as one of the most important of his career.
“We were on backfoot when we came in, not expecting it to be on pole and were surprised with that”, said Hamilton afterwards. “I think this is probably one of the most important grand prix wins of my career. To go to a new team and win with Mercedes Benz is a real privilege, the guys did a great job.
“It is an incredible feeling and my team did an incredible job. We studied a lot last night, and hoped the tyres would work for us.”
A lightning start kept Hamilton at the front, but the tyre concerns were not needed as he succeeded in maintaining a gap that eventually left Vettel out of reach. However, while the Mercedes man’s pace raised confidence for Mercedes, Hamilton’s overtaking prowess shone through just as greatly as he made several crucial moves that helped him on his way to victory, a late lunge on former McLaren team-mate Jenson Button proving the move that gifted him a 13-second lead and a long-overdue first win of 2013.
Moves on Mark Webber around the outside of the Red Bull Racing man at the long second Hungaroring bend at crucial times later in the race also capped off Hamilton’s performance, claiming that he was hungry to grab those opportunities.
“[We had] no idea it would go that well, in the last 20 minutes I was managing tyres and cruising”, added the race winner, who admitted that he was taking no prisoners on Sunday.
“I think you could tell I was hungry for it today. I was going all out. I needed to get past those people - usually I got stuck, today I wasn’t having it, I was going for every move I had.”
The win sees Hamilton move himself into a dark horse position in the world championship fight, lying just 10 points from second place in the championship and now 48 points from Vettel’s name adorning the top of the standings.
Hamilton also added that the possibilty of Mercedes continuing such form is not be out of the question as the series heads into a five-week break before Spa-Francorchamps, a track which Hamilton has won at previously in 2010, saying: “We have to work hard, you never know how the tyres will last elsewhere; if we can come here and make the tyres last, we should be able to do it anywhere.”