Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton poured some cold water on Max Verstappen‘s 2022 Hungarian Grand Prix win, by indicating it shows the strength of Red Bull’s car, rather then the Dutchman’s skill as a racer.
Power unit problems for Verstappen saw him limp to tenth in qualifying, but a great recover drive saw the Red Bull man pass Charles Leclerc on Lap 41, though spun on the same lap to allow his title rival to retake the net lead of the race.
“If you really look at Max’s race he started tenth, spun and still won the race by ten seconds, that says pretty much everything about their car,” Hamilton told Sky Sports F1 post-race.
Hamilton‘s Mercedes teammate George Russell took a brilliant maiden pole position but was unable to turn that into a win, and ended up being passed by the seven-time world champion in the closing stages.
Russell said he thought Mercedes were getting closer, but agreed that Red Bull look dominant.
“Max and Red Bull are cruising,” Russell stated. “Max and Red Bull are just absolutely solid week-in, week-out and we’ve seen from the last couple of race weekends they can just bring the car home and pick up the pieces. But there’s no doubt we’re making progress.
“I think Max and Charles are on a similar level at the moment, I really feel for Charles because he’s doing a superb job and he’s been on the receiving end of a lot of bad luck.”
Opportunity missed for win?
However, Hamilton added that despite the Red Bull superiority, the elusive first win of the season for Mercedes feels closer than ever.
He wasn’t able to nail a lap in Q3 so started seventh on alternate strategy to Russell, but worked his way up the field after a lightning start and even led for three laps, and eventually finished in second ahead of his teammate.
“I’m really really happy, to be able to recover from seventh is huge for us,” Hamilton added.
“If we’d got our lap yesterday we’d have been on the front row and maybe today would’ve been a different result but nonetheless I got a good start to be able to make me way through and that last stint was pretty special.
“I honestly think in a straight-out race we might not be that far behind Max, so I’m really excited about the second half of the season.”