Lewis Hamilton believes that the Mercedes car is now much more closely matched against Red Bull following a recent upgrade.
Max Verstappen's team appeared to have the upper hand throughout much of the first part of the 2021 F1 season, but the momentum seems to have been with Hamilton and the Silver Arrows in recent races. Hamilton thinks that the team have been helped by the upgrade which was brought at Silverstone, though admits that the battle up until this point has been challenging for them.
"It's definitely been a hard slog for us," Hamilton told media including RacingNews365.com after the Hungarian Grand Prix.
"The others, those guys with their update they had, I think probably a combination of things, but they took a really good step once we got to that midpoint, Monaco onwards. [It] was intense.
"The upgrade really has worked, and then we've just been working on our procedures through the weekend and trying to extract more from the car, and I think now we're a lot closer.
"This weekend has been very strong, and definitely surprising to see how strong it is compared to them [Red Bull], so [I'm] proud of everyone back at the factory, who continued to not give up."
Hamilton admits that the team still occasionally make mistakes, such as the strategy call at the restart in Hungary that left the British driver as the only car to take to the grid whilst every other driver pitted for dry tyres given the drying conditions of the previously damp track. This meant that Hamilton had to stop soon after to change his intermediate tyres and as a result lost the race lead.
However, the seven-time World Champion is confident that the team can continue to learn from their mistakes.
"Even today with the big mess-up, the team [are] still not giving up," Hamilton said. "[We] keep pushing, and that's what we do.
"We never give up, we keep pushing, keep fighting, and I'm so honoured to be able to race for a team like this, and we learn from these mistakes. Of course we wish it didn't happen, but it's not how you fall, it's how you get back up."
Hamilton now leads the Drivers' Standings by eight points from Verstappen, whilst Mercedes have a 12-point advantage over Red Bull at the top of the Constructors' Championship.