The seven-time world champion caused a sensation by securing a surprise pole at the Hungaroring on Saturday, narrowly outpacing Max Verstappen by a mere 0.003 seconds. This marked his first pole position since the 2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.
However, despite the Mercedes W14’s impressive speed in a single lap, Hamilton couldn’t prevent his performance from declining throughout the Hungarian Grand Prix.
Hamilton lost his lead to Verstappen in the initial rush to the first corner and was pushed wide around the first bend. This resulted in him being overtaken by McLaren’s Oscar Piastri and Lando Norris as well.
Hamilton was unable to regain momentum thereafter, with Red Bull’s Sergio Perez overtaking him, although he managed to bypass Piastri later in the race to finish fourth.
Despite this less than ideal result, Hamilton remained positive. He explained that he had been informed on race day morning that his car wouldn’t be able to compete with Verstappen’s pace.
“It’s clear we’re not the fastest,” Hamilton acknowledged, “Our car isn’t the quickest, but I’m immensely proud of the effort we put in to secure the pole position and outperform the reigning champion and two faster cars.”
“Today’s race mirrored reality: we simply weren’t fast enough. I was warned during this morning’s strategy meeting that I would be at least half a second slower than the Red Bull. Hence, the competition wasn’t with Max, but I was hoping we could challenge the McLarens. However, even McLaren proved too fast for us.”
Pole position winner Lewis Hamilton, from Mercedes-AMG, seen during the post-Qualifying Press Conference
Photo by: Glenn Dunbar / F1 Flow Images
Even though Hamilton only managed a fourth-place finish, Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff believes that the team had the potential to do better, but made the error of being overly cautious with tyre management at the beginning of the race.
Wolff expressed his disappointment: “We had the second-fastest car today, but the result doesn’t reflect this, which is quite disappointing.”
“We must understand how we could’ve improved. Looking at how George [Russell] climbed from a distant position, outpacing the Aston Martins and Ferraris, we certainly need to conduct an analysis.”
When questioned about why Mercedes didn’t perform as expected, Wolff explained: “I think we were overly cautious in conserving the tyres during the laps. We lost a significant amount of time after the pit stops, which worked out towards the end of the stint as we were substantially quicker than everyone else. However, I believe we erred on the side of being too conservative.”
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Hamilton Hungarian GP Performance
What position did Lewis Hamilton secure at the Hungaroring on Saturday?
Hamilton secured a surprise pole position at the Hungaroring on Saturday, beating Max Verstappen by 0.003 seconds.
Where did Hamilton end up finishing in the Hungarian Grand Prix?
Despite his initial pole position, Hamilton finished the Hungarian Grand Prix in fourth place.
What was Hamilton’s perspective on his and Mercedes’ performance at the Hungarian GP?
Hamilton was realistic about Mercedes’ performance. He had been informed that his car would not be able to compete with Verstappen’s speed, and he acknowledged that they were not the fastest. Despite the setbacks, he expressed pride in the effort put into securing the pole position.
What was Toto Wolff’s analysis of Mercedes’ performance?
Toto Wolff, Mercedes team boss, believed that the team could have performed better. He felt they were overly cautious in managing their tyres early on in the race, which ultimately affected their performance.
Did Mercedes expect to be slower than Red Bull at the Hungarian GP?
Yes, Hamilton was informed during a strategy meeting on the morning of the race that he would likely be at least half a second slower than the Red Bull.