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Despite 17-second win, Hamilton insists Ferrari is “slightly ahead”

Following his win in the Hungarian Grand Prix, Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton has stated his belief that Ferrari still has the quickest car in 2018.

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Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton celebrates his victory in the 2018 Hungarian Grand Prix (Image courtesy of Daimler AG).

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton isn’t getting complacent with his back-to-back wins in Germany and Hungary before the summer break, admitting that Ferrari is “still slightly ahead” of Mercedes with regard to performance.

Hamilton stormed to a sixth Grand Prix victory at the Hungaroring on Sunday, but remained adamant that second and third placed Ferrari drivers, Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen, “had the pace this weekend.”

“Today I had them covered, but had they been on pole, we would have struggled,” Hamilton admitted in the aftermath of his win, which leaves him 24 points ahead of Vettel in the 2018 World Drivers Championship with eight rounds to go.

Sebastian Vettel seemed to agree with Hamilton’s perspective, saying he’s “relaxed” ahead of Formula 1’s mandatory two-week shut down before the Belgian Grand Prix at the end of August.

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Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel, pictured here, had to settle for P2 in the Hungarian Grand Prix (Image courtesy of Scuderia Ferrari).

“I am happy to see that the car is fast, it has worked well on every track so far, so I think this is the most important thing,” he said post-race in Hungary.

“The goal is now to really pull together and become even stronger for the second half,” Hamilton said, admitting that his team has to make improvements in order to close the gap.

Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff told crash.net before Sunday’s Hungarian Grand Prix that Mercedes were losing four tenths to Ferrari in just the first sector of the tight and twisty Hungaroring.

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Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff celebrates after his team locked out the front row on Saturday (Image courtesy of Daimler AG).

He said the four-tenths were down to Ferrari’s power-unit, which he described as the “best” in Formula 1.

If true, the gap could be even larger when the power-sensitive Belgian Grand Prix weekend rolls around in late August, directly after the summer break – as Ferrari is expected to introduce its third-generation power unit.

Said power unit was tested by Ferrari customer teams Haas and Alfa Romeo Sauber over the Hungarian Grand Prix weekend.

Paddock insiders have estimated the new power unit could give Ferrari a substantial boost of 40bhp.

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The race start of the 2018 Hungarian Grand Prix, with Lewis Hamilton leading into Turn 1 (Image courtesy of Daimler AG).

“We need to keep on taking it one race at a time if we want to come out on top,” Wolff said after the Hungarian Grand Prix.

The same sense of confidence was alive at Ferrari – and even alive in Kimi Raikkonen’s generally stubborn and blunt mind.

“I’m sure we can get higher podium positions,” he said, adding that things can “change quickly” in Formula 1.

“Our car has a big potential,” Vettel added after the Hungarian Grand Prix.

Steven Walton is an 18-year-old Journalism Student at the Ara Institute of Canterbury. He previously attended St Andrew's College in Christchurch, where he excelled at History and Classical Studies. Steven is the Editor-in-Chief at Green Flag F1 and spends most of his days living, breathing, and immersing in the Formula 1 world.

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