Hamilton says first-lap slump in Hungary ‘didn’t matter’ as Mercedes remain ‘long shot away’ from race win
Lewis Hamilton says Mercedes simply “didn’t have the pace” to fight for victory in the Hungarian Grand Prix, regardless of a tricky first lap that saw him drop from first to fourth position.
Hamilton ended his two-year pole position drought with a stunning qualifying performance at the Hungaroring, but lost out to Red Bull rival Max Verstappen and the McLarens of Oscar Piastri and Lando Norris in the space of a few corners.
While he managed to re-pass Piastri as the race developed, the seven-time world champion had to settle for fourth at the chequered flag after Sergio Perez rose from ninth to third in the other Red Bull.
Reflecting on the race, and his start, Hamilton began: “I fell back… I hit the target that I was supposed to go to but just had wheelspin, then I was under attack all the way to Turn 2.
“At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter. I didn’t have the pace to hold onto those guys [Red Bull and McLaren] anyway.”
Despite enjoying a stronger final stint and cutting the gap to third-placed Perez, he continued: “Honestly, there wasn’t a lap that I enjoyed driving the car today, because the car didn’t feel good today at all. For some reason we just generally lacked pace.
“It did get better towards the end but still it was pretty tough. I knew I wouldn’t be able to catch Sergio, or at least [get past] a Red Bull, because they’re obviously so quick.
“You live and you learn; yesterday was a good day and we’ll take the positives. But we’re a long shot away from winning at the moment.”
In the other Mercedes, George Russell bounced back from his shock Q1 exit to cross the line in seventh, which turned into sixth when Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc took a five-second time penalty for speeding in the pit lane.