Lewis Hamilton’s first win of the year in Hungary has given him renewed confidence that he can compete for the world championship this year.
Mercedes’ victory in the punishing heat of Hungary was a surprising result for a team which has struggled in hot conditions earlier this year.
Hamilton now believes he has a car he can compete for the title with: “It feels as if it’s there with the Red Bulls and the Lotuses,” he said after the race. “Our pace was very similar.”
“If we can continue with our qualifying pace, get ourselves up front and have the tires working as they did today we can fight with them.”
Hamilton believes he is in a strong position heading into the second half of the season with nine races remaining: “Last year I didn’t feel like I had the car to win ten races. This year I feel I have a car that can win ten races.”
“The tires are going to play a massive part but I truly believe in this car. It feels awesome.”
Hamilton lies fourth in the championship table with 48 points separating him from leader Vettel. Mercedes are Red Bull’s closest competitors in the constructors’ championship with 208 points to their rival’s 277.
Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo has dominated all weekend long at the Monaco Grand Prix, leading every single practice session prior to qualifying.
And qualifying was more of the same for the Australian driver, whose quick lap in Q3 came in at 1:10.810, a new track record, to take the pole by more than two tenths of a second over Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel.
Meanwhile, Ricciardo’s teammate Max Verstappen endured a much more difficult day, which started with a hard crash in FP3.
Verstappen’s Red Bull RB14 suffered extensive damage to the right side, and even more damage was later found in the car’s gearbox. Such repairs ultimately proved too time consuming, and Verstappen will start Sunday’s Monaco Grand Prix from last.
Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton filled out the top three by qualifying third, with Ferrari and Mercedes also taking the fourth and fifth spots on the grid, with Kimi Raikkonen in fourth and Valtteri Bottas in fifth.
Force India’s Esteban Ocon, McLaren’s Fernando Alonso, and Renault’s Carlos Sainz Jr. take up spots six, seven, and eight on the grid. Sergio Perez made it two Force Indias in Q3, qualifying ninth, while Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly qualified tenth.
Full qualifying results are below. Sunday’s Monaco Grand Prix kicks off at 9:00 a.m. ET.