Lewis Hamilton believes he could have challenged Max Verstappen for victory at the Hungarian Grand Prix if he had started the race on soft tires rather than medium hard.
Starting from 7th on the grid, Hamilton was able to pass Carlos Sainz and his teammate Georg Russell in the closing laps of the race to take second place on the podium behind Max Verstappen.
It was the second consecutive race in which both Hamilton and Russell were in the last two places on the podium. Hamilton described the result as “very satisfying” for Mercedes, who are now just 30 points behind Ferrari in the constructors’ championship.
“It feels too good for us considering the year we’ve had and all the progress we’ve made since last week.”
“Being second last week was too big for us and now the second race in a row where me and George are on the podium, which is fantastic for the team in terms of points. For both of us to finish ahead of Ferrari is great for us considering the pace we had. I think that, given the kind of weekend we had, it proved that we have a great pace.”
Hamilton changed to two sets of medium-hard tires, with the second time driving on them longer than his rivals, and in the last 19 laps on the soft tires with which he overtook Sainz and Russell and eventually finished 8 seconds behind Verstappen.
He said that the second outing on medium hard tires was responsible for his result. But he fell behind Verstappen at the start as his rivals started on soft tyres.
“I think the race was lost with the first exit on medium hard tires, but the second and third part of the race was outstanding.”
“Maybe he wouldn’t be able to stay on those tires that long and who knows.”
Hamilton’s starting position was compromised due to problems with the DRS in qualifying, which left him 7th in the standings. Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff thinks it cost him the win.
“If we had started where I think we should have, without problems in qualifying, I think we would have been in a better position than Verstappen.”