Sports

Lewis Hamilton: It is far too early for title talk

Lewis Hamilton: It is far too early for title talk

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff called Valtteri Bottas a "sensational wingman" to Hungarian Grand Prix-winning team mate Lewis Hamilton on Sunday, a description that stung the unsmiling Finnish Formula One driver.

Ferrari drivers Kimi Raikkonen of Finland and Sebastian Vettel of Germany are to start from the second row, after clinching third and fourth respectively.

But the momentum of this dramatic title race has once again swung back the way of Hamilton going into the month-long season break - even though Ferrari have boasted the quicker package in recent races. I just feel sad for Valtteri.

It was still far from over, though, with Mercedes wary of Ferrari's start ability, engine prowess, and long run pace, estimating the red cars to be four-tenths faster through the opening sector alone. "I tried to defend the best I could, as aggressive as I could, but it just ended up being a bit of a mess with the end with the broken front wing and everything".

SEBASTIAN VETTEL was unhappy to see Lewis Hamilton's Mercedes a full 17 seconds up the road in Hungary and stretching the championship gap to 24 points, but it could have been much worse. After Saturday's qualifying session, Bottas said "we are free to fight, so I'm looking forward to (the race)".

Bottas, who lost part of his front wing, dropped to fifth after a late collision with Daniel Ricciardo, who overtook the Finn on the final lap in his second shot at the wounded Mercedes auto. "I think our work ethic has been very strong and the team morale is better than ever and the spirit is better than ever".

Hamilton's win here followed his victory at last weekend's rain-soaked German Grand Prix, where he was handed victory after Vettel crashed late while leading.

Raikkonen started and finished third in Hungary after adopting an unconventional two-stop strategy while the rest of the front runners opted for a one-stop.

"Compared to past year, we lost the championship I think because our vehicle wasn't quick enough to be a match in the final part of the season, despite what happened with the DNFs".

But with his negotiations with Red Bull continuing to drag on, Ferarri's interest could be reignited.

Bottas suggested he would seek talks with Mercedes over Wolff's comments, saying it remains too early in the season for him to be cast in a support role to championship leader Hamilton. Vettel's speed was good as he approached his stop; Bottas's didn't seem to be enough.

Lap 52 - VSC phase ends.

"I really could only have dreamed that we would be in the position that we are in right now", he admitted. "It means I'm doing a good race!' Usually the blue flag is for me for the Ferrari or the Mercedes, so that was a pretty cool feeling!"

"I think we need to speak after this race", Bottas said.


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