Lewis Hamilton has warned both himself and the Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport team from taking their position in both championships for granted, heading into the second half of the season.
Following an unexpected pole position in wet conditions yesterday, Hamilton controlled the dry Hungarian Grand Prix from start-to-finish, only relinquishing his lead to championship rival Sebastian Vettel when making his sole pitstop on lap 25, to take his second win in a week and his sixth career victory at the Hungaroring.
The result leaves the four-time champion 24 points clear at the top of the Drivers’ Championship after twelve rounds, a stark contrast to his position at this race 12 months ago – where he trailed Vettel at the top by 14 points.
Hamilton called the first half of the 2018 championship a “rollercoaster ride” and stressed the importance of continuing their good form into Belgian Grand Prix late next month and beyond.
“We’ve definitely had ups and downs in this championship,” reflected Hamilton. “It’s such a rollercoaster ride – but the team has just remained strong.
We’re in a great position right now, but what’s important is that we don’t drop the ball. The last two weekends have been such a blessing with the rain, I’m so grateful.
“The guys have worked so hard this year, they really deserve a good result.”
Hamilton ceded that Scuderia Ferrari would have had the beating of Mercedes this weekend in fully dry conditions and said that the reigning champions have to keep working in order to lower the performance defecit.
“There’s still a lot of work to do because Ferrari are still slightly ahead of us,” he added.
“They had the pace this weekend, especially on this circuit. Today I had them covered, but had they been on pole, we would have struggled.
“So we’ve got some improvements to make in our overall package to try and close the gap to them, but I’m really happy with the job everyone’s done so far, we just have to keep going.
“The goal is now to really pull together and become even stronger for the second half. That will be key to add to what we’ve built in this first half of the season.”
When asked about his plans for the three-week break, Hamilton rubbished the chances of a static recharge, opting to embark in a more hands-on relaxation technique. In the wake of 33C ambient and 60C track temperatures in a gruelling race in Budapest, the Brit said that he wants to improve his physical condition further in order to bring the fight to Vettel and Ferrari as the season reaches its climax.
“I’m excited about the summer break; I will do different stuff over these two weeks, but I will be training through the whole period of time, trying to improve my physique,” he continued.
“Physicality-wise, I’m not struggling out there at all, but there are always areas where you can be better, and I want to make sure I come back with more energy so we can turn up the heat in the second half of the season.”