Lewis Hamilton is relishing the prospect of having more battles with Max Verstappen after their thrilling duel for victory at Formula 1’s Hungarian Grand Prix.

The pair engaged in a nail-baiting, race-long scrap for victory during Sunday’s race at the Hungaroring, with Hamilton ultimately prevailing after he was able to make the most of much fresher tyres to pass Verstappen in the closing stages, following a masterstroke strategy gamble by Mercedes.

Hamilton shadowed Verstappen throughout the opening stint before he made his first real move on Lap 39, attempting a bold sweep around the outside of Turn 4, only to run wide. But having eclipsed a 20-second deficit having moved onto a two-stop strategy, the championship leader was able to pull off a straightforward pass for the lead with three laps to go.

“Honestly, there really is no better feeling from a racing driver’s point of view, when you have a race like this and face a really strong competitor and a great driver like Max at their best,” Hamilton said.

“Max is at his best and is continuing to perform great. It’s really comforting and really important to see the respect level between us. It was really respectful driving and I hope to continue that.

“When I got into second I was like ‘ok, this whole battle we’ve been talking about me having with Max, we are going to have that today’, and it was really awesome.

“He put the car in some really good places. I gave him space and more but that’s really just from a mindset that we are fighting slightly differently.

“If we were fighting on the same points, it may have been a lot more aggressive, but there was no need for that and it was really just about making sure that when you do finally pull off an overtaking manoeuvre that it was a clean, full sweep by.”

Hamilton said he is encouraged to see F1 respond to recent criticism of the sport with four exciting races on the bounce, and hopes for more close fights with Red Bull and Ferrari in the second half of the campaign.

“I really am happy, that, particularly after a period of time where everyone was so negative talking about the sport, and then of a sudden we get this big step up from the Red Bulls and now we have a really good battle on our hands and it looks like it will stay,” he added.

“I think Ferrari will come back into play at some of these races like Spa and Monza, they will be quick on the straights and there aren’t a lot of corners, so those places I think they will be really strong. I think that bodes well for them.

“Red Bull have been doing great, it's awesome to see and I hope their performance continues. And I really, really hope we have more battles like that.” 

 

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