Lewis Hamilton, a renowned seven-time world champion, delivered a surprise pole at the Hungaroring on Saturday, barely defeating Max Verstappen by an incredibly close 0.003 seconds. This was the dynamic driver’s first pole position since the previous year’s Grand Prix in Saudi Arabia.
The race saw Hamilton losing his front spot to Verstappen at the onset, closely followed by McLaren‘s dynamic pair, Oscar Piastri and Lando Norris, overtaking him. Following this sudden drop, Hamilton fell short in terms of racing speed to mount an effective recovery. He did fall prey to an overtake by Red Bull‘s Sergio Perez but managed to bypass Piastri to secure fourth place towards the end.
Despite the overtly modest finish less than what his fans were expecting, Hamilton wasn’t particularly discouraged. He confessed to knowing beforehand about the limitations of his car to battle Verstappen, stating, “I think it’s obvious that we’re not the quickest, we don’t have the fastest car but I’m incredibly proud of myself and our collective performance in securing the pole position and outperforming the world champion and two faster vehicles. Today’s race just confirmed it. They had informed me this morning that I would be at least five-tenths slower than the Red Bull. So the real contention was not with Max, but the McClerans. However, even they proved too speedy for us.”
Regardless of Hamilton placing fourth, his team boss, Toto Wolff, has a firm belief that Mercedes was capable of better results. Wolff voiced his disappointment at the outcome, acknowledging that they had the second fastest car on the grid but couldn’t capitalize on it. “We need to investigate how we could have performed better”, he said.
In reference to why the prestigious team did not execute as expected, Wolff stated, “I think we were overly cautious in pacing the laps. We lost significant time post the stops which only ended up benefiting us towards the end of the stint as we raced much quicker than everyone else. But maintaining this balance proved challenging and we may have been overly cautious in managing them”.