Formula 1 championship leader Lewis Hamilton says it will take Mercedes “two or three races” before it is able to unlock the full potential from its latest aerodynamic upgrade package.

The reigning world champion squad introduced a major aero update - which included a cooling upgrade to help combat its overheating weakness - at the German Grand Prix, but the delivered results were not as strong as initially hoped.

Mercedes was still in the process of understanding the update package heading into race day at the Hungarian Grand Prix, which Hamilton ultimately won after an inspired strategy call enabled him to pass Max Verstappen in the closing stages.

Speaking ahead of the race, Hamilton said: “We’re always learning about the car, things happen across the weekend.

“Including the weather, that if we now look at it we’d be oh this happened in qualifying run one compared to run two and we understand it a lot more.

“I’d say it was more the aero package, not that it’s not delivering, it’s just that you have to set the car up slightly differently to get the perfection out of that package.

“It takes two or three races before you squeeze everything out of an update package – you don’t just put them on and they work perfectly. Your always trying to fine-tune them.”

Verstappen was able to beat the Mercedes duo to pole position in Hungary and turned in another strong performance to match Hamilton throughout the majority of the race, before he encountered tyre struggles late on.

Asked if Red Bull’s recent progress, coupled with Verstappen’s form, can propel the Dutchman into the title fight, Hamilton replied: “Time will tell. I think he’s done a great job and they have clearly done a great job in quite a few of the races now.

“I think they will probably be quick here and there, there will be places like Singapore where they will probably be strong, but they are in general, slowly, collectively catching up.

“It’s easier to catch up than it is to stay ahead, to be the leader in many different aspects. But it’s great to see them progressing. We want the competition so we’ll be ready for the fight whatever the case.”