Lewis Hamilton confident he will head into summer holidays as world championship leader


Lewis Hamilton hunts a sixth win in Hungary

Hamilton currently holds a one-point advantage over Sebastian Vettel thanks to his dominant win at his home grand prix at Silverstone.

But the three-time world champion fully expects to stretch that gap now that his Mercedes team have overcome a rocky start to the campaign.

“I think we’re still showing we are the best team,” said Hamilton. “It’s been great work by the team collectively – and we’ve not even brought many updates to the car.
“The last race we didn’t bring an update, so we’ve just been able to exploit the car more and learn about the race.”

Vettel steered his Ferrari to victory in two of the opening three races of the season. But the German has managed just one podium finish in the past four outings.

But Vettel dismissed the suggestion this is a must win race for his title chances, despite the momentum swinging from Ferrari to Mercedes.

“I think we’re still showing we are the best team”

Lewis Hamilton

“I’m not stressing too much,” he said. “On paper, it should be a good race for us. I like the track, we know we have to do. The fact that it’s the last race before the summer break doesn’t change anything.

“I’m feeling positive. We know the car is strong. We know we can fight for the victory.

“Rest assured, we weren’t happy with Silverstone but we have some bits here that should help us.”

Hamilton can draw level in the record books with Michael Schumacher if he claims his 68th pole position today

And Hamilton sees no reason why Mercedes’ advantage in qualifying should not continue on a track where he has enjoyed such success.

“We’ve mostly had the upper hand in qualifying,” he said of his chances of seeing off Ferrari, not to mention Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas.

If you look at the qualifying stats we’ve had that gap and then the race gets a little bit closer and it’s been a bit more scattered through the 10 races.

“But we’ve definitely managed to understand the car better, understand the tyres better and really start to utilise the car.”

Vettel, meanwhile, played down a rumoured switch to Mercedes next season when his contract with Ferrari expires at the end of the current campaign.

“We have other things to do,” said Vettel. ”In the summer there’s a bit more time, there’s a couple of weeks rest where there’s no race but for now, focus is extremely high on working on the car.

“A piece of paper can be signed fairly quickly so that’s not a problem.”

And asked if he wanted to stay with the team for 2018, Vettel added: “I don’t see why not. I’m not in a rush, I don’t think the team is in a rush as far as I understand. I think they would tell me otherwise. There’s no problem, nothing wrong.”

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