Lewis Hamilton reckons Niki Lauda would have been impressed by his performance and the performance of Mercedes at the Hungarian Grand Prix, as they overcome Max Verstappen and Red Bull at the death for the win.
In a superb race in Budapest, Hamilton trailed Verstappen for the majority of the laps up until the 66th, which saw the Silver Arrows’ superb tyre strategy pay dividends as he got beyond the Dutchman to take P1.
After a couple of failed overtaking attempts previously, the Brit was called in to pit by Mercedes, where he was given new, medium tyres to try and make up a 19-second gap with 20 laps to do, which he achieved.
He believes former Mercedes non-executive chairman Lauda, who passed away earlier in the year, would have enjoyed the win, too.
“Honestly, we’d had brake problems all weekend. I was a bit worried,” he admitted following the win.
“I was actually doing a lot of coasting and not touching the brake for half the lap. I was just trying to save as much as I could.
“It was very difficult to get by. Their [Red Bull] defence was great. They’re quite quick on the straights. I honestly didn’t know if I could catch that 19-second gap as it’s big.
“Like the team said: ‘just get your head down and keep pushing.’
“The gap closed, and closed, and closed. The laps were like qualifying laps, every lap. Hats off to the team, and I think if Niki was here he would take his hat off.”
Hamilton was full of praise for his engineers, who made the bold decision to call him in for new tyres with 20 laps to go, which would allow Verstappen to create the near-20-second gap.
“I feel really grateful for the day, and for the team who continue to believe in me. To take a risk, take a chance on me,” he said.
“We’ve been together seven years and it never gets old. It feels like a new win for us.
“If it wasn’t for these boys and the guys back at the factory this wouldn’t be possible For a race, to be able to push like that. I was on the limit all the way.”