Lewis Hamilton insists he does not have one hand on the Formula One championship despite striking a major psychological blow to Sebastian Vettel in the title race.
Hamilton will head into the sport’s month-long summer break 24 points ahead of the Ferrari driver following his flawless win in Hungary on Sunday.
Vettel recovered from fourth to second, but following Hamilton’s fifth win of the campaign – and the Briton traditionally at his peerless best in the second half of the year – he could be excused for feeling he has at least one finger on his fourth title in five years. The season resumes in Belgium on August 26.
“Absolutely not, and it is far too early to think about that when you consider the ups and downs we have had this year,” Hamilton said when asked if he was closing in on the title.
“I don’t believe there is ever a time when you think you have got your hand on the championship. We still have a long way to go.
“A lot can happen moving forward, but what is important is that we continue to keep the pressure on, and work as we have done until now.”
The twisty Hungaroring circuit, situated on the outskirts of Budapest, should have been the venue for a slam-dunk Vettel victory, given the track is not suited to Hamilton’s Mercedes machinery.
But Hamilton laid the foundations for his triumph by blowing away the opposition to secure pole with a masterclass in the wet on Saturday and, in normal conditions for the race, his victory was never in doubt. He crossed the line 17 seconds clear.
It marked Hamilton’s second win in just eight days following his remarkable triumph in the rain at Hockenheim, and another blow to Vettel who has lost 32 points to his rival in just two races.
“We could have only dreamt to be in the position that we are in now,” Hamilton said.
“I am really, really happy to be going into the break with back-to-back wins, and that boost will last a long time for our team, and that is encouraging for everyone.”
To Vettel’s credit, he did his best to damage the limitation after his off-colour qualifying display, but Ferrari had the quicker car this weekend.
“Last year we lost the championship in the second half of the year because our car wasn’t quick enough, but I am quite confident that we can improve,” a spirited Vettel said. “We have more to unleash.”