Having already warned his Formula 1 rivals that he is untouchable when 'the real Lewis Hamilton' is in attendance [see separate story – click here
], the world championship leader has claimed following his pole position for this weekend's Hungarian Grand Prix that at the moment, he is 'at his best'.
The McLaren-Mercedes star stormed to the tenth pole of his fledgling career in the top flight around the tight and twisty Hungaroring close to the country's capital of Budapest, and as he now bids to become the first driver since Michael Schumacher in 2006 to clinch a hat-trick of consecutive victories – and the first British driver to do so in more than a decade – following his Silverstone and Hockenheim successes, the omens look good.
The 23-year-old has prevailed in six of the nine outings in which he has previously begun from the top spot on the grid, and the Hungarian Grand Prix has been claimed from pole position six times in the last ten years.
“Every time I get in the car I learn something new,” Hamilton affirmed, “and I feel more and more comfortable and more at home. I can definitely say that right now I'm at my best, and this is as comfortable as I have ever been, knowing where the car is and with things going on in my life.
“I feel pretty much on top of things, but I have no doubts I have room to improve, and I will carry on doing that.”
Indeed, the Stevenage-born ace has bounced back in fine style in recent weeks, with his consummate British and German triumphs the perfect tonic to his Montreal and Magny-Cours calamities, when he ran into the back of the Ferrari of world championship rival Kimi Raikkonen in the former and picked up a brace of penalties in the latter that saw him leave both races with nul points
in the bag.
“I had a couple of dodgy races,” he reflected, “but we still had great speed, both in Montreal and Magny-Cours. [The turnaround] is no surprise, and there have been no miracles. It's just that we worked very hard to take steps forward.
“Over the past month we've done a great job in improving the car, and I'm very proud of the team for that. I feel great in the car, there's a good atmosphere and harmony in the team, and now we've qualified one-two. It puts us in a great position to challenge for the win, but I've no doubts it will be a tough race.”
The one-two to which Hamilton alludes – with team-mate Heikki Kovalainen making it an all-silver front row of the grid in Hungary – is astonishingly McLaren's first since the Italian Grand Prix at Monza almost a full year ago, and the eight-time grand prix-winner says a similar result on race day would be no less than the team deserves for all of its hard work throughout the 2008 campaign.
“It's great to have me and Heikki one-two,” he enthused. “It's about time we did that for the team, and I'm very, very happy. You can never be too comfortable, though, although I feel safe given the position we're in.
“We both have very good strategies to push on and try for the win, and we couldn't be in a better position to do that. I'll just make sure my preparations are right, and hopefully we'll have a strong race.
“It would be great to have a one-two for the team. They deserve it, and as Heikki and I have both been pushing very hard, we deserve it.”