Lewis Hamilton 'put doubt out of mind' to win gripping Hungarian GP
"I couldn't compute how that was going to work," says Lewis, who says he reeled off qualifying-style laps in late Verstappen charge
By James Galloway
Last Updated: 04/08/19 8:47pm
Lewis Hamilton admitted he wasn't sure Mercedes' gamble on a two-stop strategy would succeed - but "put doubt out of my mind" as he charged back to beat Max Verstappen in a classic Hungarian GP duel.
Hamilton had come close to passing Verstappen on track after the first round of pit stops before Mercedes decided that a return for fresh tyres with 22 laps to go was the better route to beating the Red Bull.
The world champion rejoined the track 20s behind Verstappen but quickly set about closing back in, eventually eating into the Dutchman's advantage hand over fist as the Red Bull's tyres faded badly into the closing laps. Hamilton eventually overtook into Turn One with four laps to go.
"When they told me we were going to the two-stop strategy I couldn't compute how that was going to work if I was really honest," Hamilton told Sky Sports F1.
"I thought I could make my tyres go to the end on the hards so I knew he would be able to do the same thing. So I was thinking 'jeez, pitting is going to be difficult' and I hadn't even had time to think what tyres I was going to go on to.
"They put me on the medium tyre and it didn't feel great initially when I got out, and afterwards it was ok. Then he started matching my times and I was like 'I've got to start doing qualifying laps now - I don't think these tyres are going to last but if they do, great'.
"After that I just had to put any doubt out of my mind and had to go for it and if it didn't work out, it didn't work out. If it hadn't worked out it would have been a little bit frustrating because I felt like when I was behind him on the hards I felt I would have had multiple opportunities to get by."
Coming off the back of an usually-disastrous race for Mercedes and Hamilton last week in Germany, the world champion added: "Either way, I was so determined to win this race today and recover from the last race.
"It really feels great. You wouldn't believe it but it feels like a first, I don't know how."
Hamilton praises Mercedes culture
The stirring victory was Hamilton's eighth from 12 races this year and means he heads into the summer break with a huge 62-point advantage in the world championship. Team-mate Valtteri Bottas, who remains his nearest mathematical challenger, endured a tough race and finished only eighth.
Hamilton said Mercedes' immediate bounce-back from Hockenheim was testament to the working environment and culture at the Silver Arrows, F1's five-time world champions.
"The rapport that we have is second to none," explained Hamilton. "The working relationship we have, the balance and the honesty between everyone, there's no BS between any of the people who we work together with.
"After a bad race like the last one, there are tears, there's full openness, you don't bottle stuff and carry it with you. We are able to let it out, move forward, communicate, not feel embarrassed and let it go and that's so, so key to success.
"I can't imagine there being a working relationship like this anywhere else in years to come."