Lewis Hamilton draws parallel between Mercedes W04 and 2008 title-winning McLaren
Hungarian GP winner thinks car capable of winning final nine races
By James Galloway. Last Updated: 01/08/13 3:41pm
Lewis Hamilton has lavished praise on Mercedes' W04 in wake of his first victory in the car at the Hungaroring, comparing it to his title-winning McLaren from 2008.
The 28-year-old suggested he could be poised to launch an all-out assault on the title after the summer break following his maiden win for his new Brackley employers at the tenth attempt in surprisingly commanding fashion on Sunday.
In a frank interview last month, Hamilton claimed that since securing his sole drivers' title five years ago in his second year in F1 "I've never had a car to really compete since then" - but the Briton now appears to be viewing the fast-improving 2013 Mercedes as the challenger that could return him to world title glory.
"The Mercedes is different to other cars I've driven. It's one of the best," he was quoted as saying by the Independent.
"The 2008 McLaren was pretty good. I want to say the Mercedes is even better than that."
Indeed, although Hamilton remains the points equivalent of two race victories away from overhauling Sebastian Vettel at the head of the Drivers' Championship, he has declared that Mercedes' form in the heat of Hungary indicates he does have the car to fight for victory at all nine remaining grands prix after the summer break.
Referring to his father's Anthony's suggestion from this time last year - when Hamilton also required a run of race victories that never ultimately materialised to get into serious title contention - that he needed to win ten races to take the crown, Hamilton told the British press: "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 tyres are going to play a massive part but I truly believe in this car. It feels awesome.
"It feels it's there with the Red Bulls and the Lotuses. I think our pace was very similar. If we can continue with that qualifying pace, get ourselves up front and have the tyres working as they did [on Sunday] we can fight with them."
Of the remaining grands prix on the calendar, Korea, India and the season-finale in Brazil are the only three Hamilton has yet to win in his previous six F1 seasons. Furthermore, the next two races after the August recess, Spa and particularly Monza, possess the kind of high-speed straights the W04 should thrive on.
"The tracks coming up should suit me," Hamilton acknowledged. "I am really looking forward to the second half of the season."