Ahead of the Hungarian Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton says “on pure pace” Mercedes doesn’t “have the pace to beat” Ferrari and Red Bull.
Although Mercedes has been showing great progress in the last few races, especially at Silverstone where they had a realistic chance of winning, Lewis Hamilton warns the team is still not in the fight at the top yet.
“No we can’t say that we’ve turned a corner,” the Briton told Sky F1.
“We’ve been on the corner for ages and we’ve been progressing around it very slowly. Silverstone was great fight and we’ve had really good consistency.
“I think in the last race we looked like we took a step back from the others, or they took a step forward again.
“So every single lap had a deficit of almost a second. But our race pace is a little bit better than our qualifying pace, and our reliability is exceptional. So that’s been very, very positive.
“We’ve also relied a lot on the others not finishing so I think that overshadows the fact that we still have a lot of work to do.”
However, with improvements made to the W13, Lewis says he is enjoying racing a lot more.
“I’m enjoying it more than just because I’m getting more in a much better place with the balance of the car in a much better place with where we put the set-up.
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“Bono and the rest of the guys are definitely happy working with the car and start to see some progress in terms of set-up and those sorts of things.”
In 2009 and 2013, when Hamilton’s respective teams at the time had troubles, his first win of the season came at the Hungaroring. When Lewis was asked by the media if this could happen again in 2022, he said:
“I can’t predict what is up ahead and whilst in a dream world past history repeating itself would be lovely, there are no guarantees of that happening this weekend.
“On pure pace, we don’t have the pace to beat these guys. Through reliability, we have capitalised on their failure but on pure pace, we can’t fight them currently and we haven’t made a step between last week and this week which is tough.”
However, with rain predicted for qualifying, the Briton is hoping for a good result.
“I hope we are closer than the second off that we were in the last race, and then maybe we can be better in this race.
“Then, if it rains, hopefully, that makes it a bit better with more opportunities and more chances,” Hamilton concluded.