Jul 30, 2013, 1:00 PM EDT
Lewis Hamilton’s first win of the year in Hungary has given him renewed confidence that he can compete for the world championship this year.
Mercedes’ victory in the punishing heat of Hungary was a surprising result for a team which has struggled in hot conditions earlier this year.
Hamilton now believes he has a car he can compete for the title with: “It feels as if it’s there with the Red Bulls and the Lotuses,” he said after the race. “Our pace was very similar.”
“If we can continue with our qualifying pace, get ourselves up front and have the tires working as they did today we can fight with them.”
Hamilton believes he is in a strong position heading into the second half of the season with nine races remaining: “Last year I didn’t feel like I had the car to win ten races. This year I feel I have a car that can win ten races.”
“The tires are going to play a massive part but I truly believe in this car. It feels awesome.”
Hamilton lies fourth in the championship table with 48 points separating him from leader Vettel. Mercedes are Red Bull’s closest competitors in the constructors’ championship with 208 points to their rival’s 277.