Lewis Hamilton feels that he could possibly have raced Max Verstappen more closely in the Hungarian Grand Prix if he had started the race on a different tyre compound.
Hamilton lined up in P7 on the grid, and began the Grand Prix on the Medium tyre. He put in back-to-back stints on this compound, with a particularly long second stint, before switching to the Softs with 19 laps remaining.
The Mercedes driver showed strong pace in the final stint, and was able to pass Carlos Sainz and George Russell on his way to P2, while Verstappen – who started the race on the Soft compound – won the event.
Hamilton pleased with "great recovery" drive
After facing struggles during Friday and Saturday at the Hungaroring, Hamilton was over the moon with his result on Sunday.
"It's hugely satisfying. It's a great feeling for us, given the year we've had, and obviously to see the progress that we've started to make," he told media, including RacingNews365.com.
"Just getting the second place last week [at the French Grand Prix] was huge for us already, and this is now two races in a row that George and I have shared a podium, which is fantastic for the team, points-wise.
"To both finish ahead of the Ferraris is huge for us, given the pace that they've had. And, for me, obviously, starting the race in seventh and getting up here is a great recovery.
"And I think given the troubles we had through the weekend, that shows that we've got really great pace."
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The factors that could have helped Hamilton to battle Verstappen
When asked about the key moments of his race, Hamilton credited his long second stint with helping him to have a strong end to the Grand Prix, but acknowledged that his opening stint may have affected his chances.
"I think the race was lost probably with the first stint, with that Medium tyre, but the second and the third part of the race was pretty epic," the seven-time World Champion said.
Hamilton feels that, had he started the race on the Soft tyre, he may have been able to get closer to Verstappen.
He also believes that the opportunity would have increased had he not suffered a DRS issue during Saturday's qualifying, which left him down in P7 on the grid.
"We would definitely have been closer to Max [if we'd started on the Soft], I would have thought," Hamilton continued.
"But who knows? Maybe I wouldn't have been able to go the same distance on those tyres.
"But if we had started, where I think we probably should have started, without the problem yesterday, I think then we would have been in a much better place to race Max today."
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