Hamilton says Mercedes have ‘potential to win’ after ‘fairly epic’ drive to second in Hungary

Seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton has set his sights on a primary victory of the season when F1 returns following the summer season break, after the Mercedes driver delivered his best drive of the season to complete second in Hungary – his fifth podium in succession.

Hamilton was on the again foot for the Budapest race after a DRS situation in qualifying meant he began seventh – whereas crew mate George Russell began on pole for the primary time in his profession, because the Silver Arrows confirmed a shock flip of tempo after a depressing day on Friday in free apply.

READ MORE: Verstappen recovers from P10 to take Hungarian GP win as Mercedes safe double podium

However a powerful begin hauled Hamilton into fifth and two sturdy stints on the medium tyre opened the door for a closing stint on the comfortable, which gave him the tempo to grab second from Russell, crossing the road 7.8s adrift of race winner Max Verstappen.

“It’s massively satisfying and an incredible feeling for us given the 12 months we’ve had and to see the progress we’ve began to make,” stated Hamilton. “Simply getting P2 final week [in France] was enormous and it’s two races in a row George and myself have shared the rostrum, which is incredible.

“To start out seventh and rise up right here is a good restoration. The race was misplaced on the primary medium tyre stint, however sure, the second and third a part of the race was fairly epic.”

2022 Hungarian Grand Prix: Pole-sitter Russell battles to remain forward at begin in Hungary

He added: “There was potential for a win. If we had each been up there, we may have labored along with assist technique smart, but when we’re in a position to take this tempo within the second half we are able to battle with [Red Bull and Ferrari].

“To battle and battle with Ferrari for the primary time, that’s enormous. Pink Bull are forward. The very fact Max spun and completed 10 seconds forward says sufficient, however we’ve nonetheless made enormous progress and so to have consistency and two double podiums within the final two races offers us nice hope.”

It was a case of combined feelings from Russell, who fended off the Ferraris of Carlos Sainz after which Charles Leclerc to take care of the lead early on – however didn’t have the tempo to take care of a fast-recovering Verstappen within the Pink Bull and struggled on the mediums within the closing stint as gentle rain fell and temperatures dropped.

READ MORE: ‘It was a catastrophe’ – Leclerc ‘very dissatisfied’ with P6 end in Budapest as he singles out what price him victory probability

“We did every part proper for each of us to battle for the win nevertheless it didn’t go our method,” stated Russell. “It was all the time going to be difficult as a result of there was rain all through.

“Realizing you’re on comfortable tyres I used to be rubbing my arms, pulled a spot to Carlos after which the rain stopped. It was a great first stint and I pitted early to cowl Max and the Ferraris however Max was too quick and that put us in a tough place on the final stint on the mediums.

“I used to be struggling. My engineer stated we had 25 laps to go and I believed this could be difficult. Lewis did a tremendous job and had higher tempo on the finish.”

Reigning world champions Mercedes at the moment are simply 30 factors behind Ferrari within the chase for second within the constructors’ championship, as F1 heads into its summer season break earlier than the Belgian Grand Prix on August twenty eighth.

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