Lewis Hamilton said he was taking the positives from his pole position qualifying lap on Saturday to boost his spirits after missing out on the podium in Sunday’s Hungarian Grand Prix.
The seven-time world champion made a poor start and was well beaten by runaway championship leader and defending double champion Max Verstappen of Red Bull.
It was Red Bull’s record 12th consecutive race win and Verstappen’s seventh in succession, leaving Hamilton’s Mercedes a distant fourth.
“The initial getaway wasn’t the worst I’ve ever had, but it obviously wasn’t as good as Max’s! I had a bit of wheelspin and obviously Max was on the inside and ran me wide - and then I got done by the two McLarens,” he said.
“So definitely, not a great start! Actually, it was reminiscent of 2015 when I fell back from first too.
“After that I just didn’t have the pace to keep up with the guys. The balance of the car was pretty awful in the first stint, I had a lot of understeer, a snap of oversteer through corners and I just couldn’t keep up with them.
“But then bit by bit the car became more drivable. So, I’m going to take the positives from yesterday. It was amazing from the team to get to where we were and to beat everybody in qualifying,” Hamilton added.
“That was really spectacular for us and while it shows we don’t have the best car it was an incredible lap. We have a lot of work to do. It looks like we are a long way from the Red Bull in a race and now we are behind the McLaren, but we just got to keep pushing.”
Hamilton’s teammate George Russell came through the field from the back of the grid to finish a strong sixth.
“P6 was beyond our expectations,” he said.
“Strategists quoted P11 before the race, P7 if we maximised. At the end we were P6, ahead of both Ferraris who started 12 positions ahead of us.
“The car was really quick. This place is one of my favourites and as a team we generally do well here, so it was no surprise how quick we were today.”
Team chief Toto Wolff said: “Yesterday was a mega Lewis lap, but we screwed it up with George in qualifying. I think we had the second-quickest car today but we didn’t monetise on it and ultimately Verstappen won.
“The start played a role, but that can happen. We brought the tyres in maybe too carefully.
“We are going to fight back and win races and championships, but you’ve seen the pace Verstappen and Red Bull have. It’s like a field of F2 cars against their F1 car.”
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