SILVERSTONE, United Kingdom: Lewis Hamilton believes he is heading into the second half of the season at the wheel of arguably the fastest car, after his crushing triumph for Mercedes in the recent British Grand Prix.
Just a few weeks after team boss Toto Wolff described Hamilton’s F1 W08 as “a bit of a diva” because it was proving to be so difficult to set up, the three-time champion was purring with satisfaction about the car’s potential.
“This weekend we’ve been able to exploit the full performance of our car, particularly on both cars, more so than any other race so far this year,” said Hamilton.
“It’s a great showing and puts us in a good position and gives us a strong platform to start from for the second half of the season,” he added.
Hamilton dominated both qualifying and the race as Mercedes delivered their second one-two of the season, with teammate Valtteri Bottas finishing second despite starting ninth from a penalty for an unscheduled gearbox change.
Punctures for both Ferraris as they pursued an aggressive tyre strategy enabled Mercedes to enjoy their success with some comfort, as they reeled off their third win in four Grands Prix and Hamilton closed within a point of leader Sebastian Vettel in the title race.
The team only missed winning last month’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix because Hamilton’s head-rest worked loose when he appeared certain to triumph, but such a strong run has yet to convince Wolff of his team’s current supremacy.
“I would like to feel it, but the moment you say that, you go to the next race and feel as though you’ve been slapped in the face,” he said.
“It’s tricky and our car is not always easy to set up and we have become much better at doing so.
“This has been a great team effort in combination with the tyres, but I would like to see in Budapest, how the car works, with a low speed and high temperatures and then maybe I will have a more complete picture.”
Hamilton added that Ferrari had taken an early advantage with the speed and reliability of their car in the opening races.
“This car has been a little bit trickier to get used to and get the set-up right,” he said. “When we started off on the wrong foot, some of the weekends, we still didn’t get the car in the perfect window and didn’t exploit its performance.
“Ferrari really hit the nail on the head from the beginning. It works everywhere, but with a lot of work, a lot of analysis, we started to move forward—and particularly at the last two races, if not three.
“Here at Silverstone, we started off immediately on the right foot and it’s great that it’s happened so soon—for the midpoint of the season.”