Formula 1 | Lewis Hamilton quarrels: “We had the potential to win”

Mercedes finished second and third at the 2022 Hungarian Grand Prix at the Hungaroring near Budapest.

But Lewis Hamilton thinks there was more in it for him and George Russell. He said in the press conference after the Formula 1 race: “We had the potential for victory this weekend.” This is shown by Russell’s qualifying best time on Saturday.

But why wasn’t it enough on Sunday? Because Mercedes at least gambled with him, Hamilton says: In retrospect, he thinks Medium was the wrong tire choice at the start.

“I think we lost the race in the first stint,” says Hamilton. “However: the second stint [ebenfalls auf Medium] and the third stint [auf Soft] were really great.”

Lewis Hamilton struggles with the DRS bad luck

So what if Hamilton started the race on the softest compound? “Then we would definitely have been closer to Max,” says Hamilton. “But who knows? Maybe we couldn’t have stayed out that long.”

The technical problem with the drag reduction system (DRS), which spoiled Hamilton’s Q3 segment in qualifying and only allowed him to start in P7 in the race, was more decisive for the end result.

Hamilton is convinced: “If we had had the starting position that we could have achieved, we would have been far better positioned to attack Max.”

Was there really a chance against Max Verstappen?

An accompanying aspect would have been that Russell would not have had to act alone up front. “We could have supported each other in strategy,” says Hamilton. But “the fact that we were able to take on a Ferrari here for the first time is a great result for us”.

Especially since Red Bull driver Max Verstappen was too far away for Mercedes, as team boss Toto Wolff explains to Sky: “He managed that for sure.” That’s why Mercedes didn’t attack anymore in the last laps, because “there was no reason anymore,” said Wolff. Verstappen had a cushion of a good ten seconds and finished 7.8 seconds later.

But Wolff also says: If Hamilton had also “started up front, it would have been something to look at, because Lewis was strong as a bear today.”

Mercedes goes into the summer break full of hope

The latter, combined with another two podium finishes for his team, gives Mercedes driver Hamilton “great hope” for the rest of the races this year. “If we manage to carry this pace into the second half of the season, then we will certainly be able to do so soon [Ferrari und Red Bull] fight,” he says.

“Red Bull is probably still a bit ahead. Max came from P10, spun and was still ten seconds ahead in the end. That says enough about the car. We’ve still made a lot of progress.”

In fact: In the Formula 1 constructors’ championship, Mercedes has clearly caught up with Ferrari, with 14 points in Hungary alone. It is 334:304 from Ferrari’s point of view, which last did better than Mercedes at the Austrian Grand Prix. And in the Drivers’ Championship, Russell has now passed Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz to hold P4.

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