Formula 1

Hamilton Encouraged by Mercedes’ Pace towards the End of Hungarian Grand Prix

2 Mins read
Credit: Jiri Krenek

Lewis Hamilton started the Hungarian Grand Prix from pole position on Sunday, but a sluggish looking start meant this advantage was lost as he slipped to fourth place.

The Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team driver lost first place to Oracle Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen into turn one and running wide as a result meant he also slipped behind both Oscar Piastri and Lando Norris by the time he had got to turn three.

The longer the race went on the stronger his W14 felt, but Hamilton was unable to find a way to get back into the podium places, with Sergio Pérez using the superior pace of his Red Bull to deny the seven-time World Champion third place.

“My initial getaway wasn’t the worst I’ve ever had but it wasn’t as good as the others,” said Hamilton.  “I ran wide and also got done by the McLarens. After that, I didn’t have the pace to keep up with those ahead.

“The balance of the car didn’t feel great in the first stint, and I had a lot of understeer, to snap oversteer, and problems with through-corner balance. As the stints progressed, the car started to become more driveable, and the final stint was much better.

“The pace we had at the end was very strong and if we had had that throughout, we would have had a much better day.”

Despite missing out on the podium, Hamilton says there are plenty of positives to take away from the Hungaroring, especially his first pole position since the 2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, but he knows the team still have a lot of work to do to catch Red Bull.

“Nevertheless, I’m going to take the positives from this weekend,” Hamilton added.  “It was an amazing effort from the Team to take pole position.

“We still have a lot of work to do to beat Red Bull in a Grand Prix, but we will keep pushing.”

“It was definitely a good recovery” – George Russell

Team-mate George Russell admitted finishing sixth in Hungary was ‘beyond our expectations’, especially after starting a lowly eighteenth on the grid after being caught out by traffic in Qualifying.

Russell used the hard compound tyre at the start and was able to make them last until lap twenty-eight, and he ended up embroiled in a battle with the Scuderia Ferrari drivers at the end of the race.

He passed Carlos Sainz Jr. on track to run seventh and was in prime position to move up to sixth when Charles Leclerc was handed a five-second time penalty for speeding in the pit lane.

“P6 was beyond our expectations for today,” said Russell.  “It was definitely a good recovery. We thought we would be P11 in a typical race and P7 if we maximised everything.

“I’m happy with how it went. The car was really quick, and this place is one of my favourite circuits. As a Team, we usually go well here so I had a feeling we would be quick.”

Russell feels if he had maximised his potential in Qualifying on Saturday that Sunday would have been even better, and he could have seen himself involved in the fight for a podium finish.

“Of course it is disappointing as we didn’t deliver yesterday,” Russell added.  “I think we could have been right up there and if we had two cars up front, the dynamic changes completely.

“Nevertheless, we’ve extended the gap over P3 in the Constructors’ Championship so we will take it.  There are a lot of positives to come out of this weekend and we have learned a lot.

“We will go again at Spa next week.”

George Russell moved from eighteenth on the grid to finish sixth in Hungary – Credit: Jiri Krenek
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