Hamilton showers praise on team for audacious strategy
Lewis Hamilton gave his Mercedes team full credit for their inspired strategy call that helped him to victory in the Hungarian Grand Prix.
He had been unable to force his way past long-time race leader Max Verstappen on track, when the team called him in for an unexpected second pit stop at the end of Lap 48.
That put Hamilton over 20 seconds behind Verstappen but crucially on a much faster set of fresh medium tyres, and he spent the remaining laps of the race hunting down his rival. He finally blasted past him with five laps to spare.
"James, sorry I doubted your strategy," Hamilton said over the team radio on his victory lap, speaking with race engineer Peter Bonnington and team strategist James Vowles.
"That was definitely a tall order but I'm grateful we did it."
Bonnington responded: "Wow, just wow mate. What a drive!
Lewis Hamilton celebrates winning the Hungarian Grand PrixGetty Images
Vowles added: "That was an incredible drive.
"Really, really impressive You earned that ... Well done, we knew you had it in you!"
"I definitely wasn't thinking genius!"
Hamilton subsequently revealed to Sky Sports F1 exactly why he was sceptical about the change of plan at the time.
"Was I thinking 'worth a try' at the time?" Hamilton said.
"Naturally I have a different viewpoint from the car.
"I couldn't compute how that would work if I was really honest [because] I thought I could make the hards go to the end so I knew he would be able to do the same, so I thought: 'Jeez, this is going to be difficult!'
Red Bull's Dutch driver Max Verstappen (R) competes next to Mercedes' British driver Lewis Hamilton during the Formula One Hungarian Grand Prix at the Hungaroring circuit in Mogyorod near Budapest, Hungary, on August 4, 2019. (Photo by FERENC ISZA / AFP)Getty Images
Hamilton said he had put his all into claiming his seventh victory at the venue, in an effort to overcome a disappointing performance last weekend in Germany when he was laid low by illness.
"I was really, really so determined to win this race today and recover from the last race," Hamilton added.
"It feels great. You wouldn't believe it because it feels like a first - I don't know how, I've been doing this a long time, but it really feels like one of the first wins.
"I feel tired, which is how it should be.
"But I feel really grateful for the day and the team who continue to push me to the limits and take a chance on me.
Lewis Hamilton and the Mercedes team celebrate winning the Hungarian Grand PrixGetty Images
"The rapport that we have is second to none, and the working relationship we have - the balance, the honesty between everyone - there's no BS between any of the people working together. Everyone's so diligent with how they work.
"After a bad race like the last one there's tears, there's full openness. You don't bottle stuff up and carry it with you. You're able to let it out and move forward and communicate and not feel embarrassed, and let it go.
"That's so, so key to success - and then just staying united and continue working at what we do."