Lewis Hamilton has expressed his delight at securing a timely fifth win of the 2016 Formula 1 World Championship season in the Hungarian Grand Prix as he nosed ahead of Nico Rosberg in the overall standings for the first time this season.
Having faced a 43 point margin to Rosberg as recently as the Monaco Grand Prix – round six of the 2016 season -, Hamilton came to round eleven in Hungary having already whittled the deficit down to just a single point courtesy of four wins in five races.
HUNGARIAN GRAND PRIX RACE REPORT: Lewis Hamilton grabs F1 lead with Hungarian Grand Prix win
Despite losing out to Rosberg for pole position at the Hungaroring, Hamilton's superior getaway would spur him on to reel off a comfortable lights-to-flag victory on a largely trouble-free afternoon for the defending champion, a result that subsequently lifts him ahead of his Mercedes team-mate by six points.
Indeed, Hamilton admits his great start was critical to his performance, saying he was always in control despite some 'unknowns' with the Pirelli tyres as track temperatures soared as high as 53 degrees.
“The race the start was everything,” he said. “I got a good start and had one of Red Bulls on the inside of me so I was pressured quite a lot into turn one. The team did a fantastic job with the strategy, preparing the car as always, and the guys back at the factory continuing to push flat out so a huge thank you to them.
“Compared to practice we knew the temperatures were much higher, it was 43 degrees [in practice] and today it was 53, so it is an unknown how long these tyres are going to last. We have a target that we need to get to, so once I got into the lead I was able to manage my tyres, my car and manage the gap and react only when needed to.
F1 RESULTS: Hungarian Grand Prix Race Results
“The backmarkers caused a bit of trouble towards the end but I was able to keep the buffer to the right amount. There was one moment I think in the whole race where I thought 'great I haven't made any mistakes' and then one moment I had a lock-up, ran wide and then Nico was all of a sudden on my tail. It was an exciting moment, then afterwards it was head down and increase that lead.”
Hamilton now heads to Mercedes' and Rosberg's home German Grand Prix round, which marks a return to the Hockenheimring after it was dropped for the 2015 season.