Hamilton earned his second successive win on Sunday with his triumph in Hungary to extend his lead to 24 points in the championship over his Ferrari rival Sebastian Vettel.
The Silver Arrows took advantage of their rivals at the Hungaroring on race day as Ferrari took the wrong decision to delay Vettel’s pit stop as it allowed Valterri Bottas to jump ahead and fend off the German long enough to deny him a chance at catching up to the race leader – Lewis Hamilton.
Sebastian Vettel had thrown away a sure-fire victory at Hockenheim last week as he ploughed into the barriers to allow Hamilton to climb further up the grid.
After Hungary, Hamilton now leads comfortably at the top of the standings while Mercedes also 10 points ahead of Ferrari in the constructors’ championship as they look to retain their double titles for a fifth straight year.
But Mercedes team principal Wolff insists that the advantage will continue to swing one way or another across the next nine races and believes they cannot afford any complacency.
“We came to Hungary with damage limitation as our motto, so it’s pretty good to be leaving after out-scoring our rivals, even if by just a few small points,” Wolff reflected.
“Lewis drove a faultless race: he made a perfect start, then started building the gap on the ultra-soft tyre.
“He took that first set longer than we had planned before pitting, then managed the soft extremely well to the finish. It’s a simple race to summarise but that doesn’t take anything away from the skill it took to deliver such a polished performance.
“In the other car, Valtteri drove what I think was his best race in his time so far at Mercedes. He held position at the start and then did a perfect job after pitting early until he started to run out of tyres in the final laps.
“I saw the contacts with Sebastian and Daniel as racing incidents, he was on the dirty inside line in each case and was defending with everything he had left.
“The trouble was that he didn’t have a lot left at that stage. He raced hard and fifth place is not much of a reward after that drive.
“Lewis’ win is the perfect way to finish the first part of the season but we know that this one is going down to the wire.
“The momentum swings one way then the next from weekend to weekend. We need to keep on taking it one race at a time if we want to come out on top.”
F1 returns after a month-long mid-season break with the Belgian Grand Prix on August 24-26.
2018 Driver Standings
|5||AUS||RED BULL RACING TAG HEUER||118|
|6||NED||RED BULL RACING TAG HEUER||105|
|10||MEX||FORCE INDIA MERCEDES||30|
|12||FRA||FORCE INDIA MERCEDES||29|
|13||FRA||SCUDERIA TORO ROSSO HONDA||26|
|19||NZL||SCUDERIA TORO ROSSO HONDA||2|