The Hungaroring in Budapest, tight and twisty, bumpy and challenging, is not every Formula One driver’s cup of tea but when Lewis Hamilton travels there in a couple of weeks he will be in a serene state of mind.
No driver has had more success there than Hamilton, whose four wins were in 2007, 2009, 2012 and 2013, when he won in a Mercedes for the first time. That was one of his most emphatic victories.
Another win on 26 July would see him move from strength to stranglehold in this year’s championship after winning the British Grand Prix and extending his lead over his Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg to 17 points.
“It has been a great track for me in my career, and I’m excited about that, and then we have the break,” Hamilton said. “I will be training like crazy over the break to make sure I am strong for the next part of the season. Generally in my career the second part of the season has been the stronger part for me.”
It has not been lost on Hamilton that when he previously won at Silverstone, in 2008 and 2014, he went on to take the title.
“That’s the plan,” he said. “That is what I am working towards. It is five out of nine now and I have had eight out of nine poles. I am told it’s been as strong a year performance-wise from me personally. Last year was exceptional for me and to think that I am doing it just as much as that but a little bit better this year, I didn’t think I could do that.
“So I am overall really happy with that and now as I go to Hungary. I am happy, it has come together since last year but I am definitely enjoying it more now. I am enjoying life and racing more than ever.”
Hamilton will go there given further confidence after his brilliant call to come in for fresh rubber on the 43rd lap at Silverstone just as rain and Rosberg closed in on him. He is an outstanding natural driver, but not necessarily renowned for the quality of his calls to the pitwall.
“I never felt that was a strength of mine in Formula One, making those calls,” Hamilton added. ”Generally because the driver only has one view of everything and the guys outside have a better view, and so generally I would rely on the team. And definitely in the past there were times when they got it right and some times when they got it wrong.”
Hamilton said the only other time he made a call at Silverstone was in 2008, and even though he was right he was overruled by his McLaren team. “That was the only other time I got the decision right apart from today. I don’t know how the future is going to go with that but I am glad I have ticked that one off.
“I trust my judgment and I trust myself and all the decisions that I am making inside and outside of the racing world. There are opinions for and against those things but I am still driving the way I am driving, I am enjoying the racing and you can see it is all paying off.”
Hamilton went to Silverstone knowing that Rosberg had won three of the previous four races, but he said: “The last race [in Austria] was the first time I felt he was particularly quick in the race.” Rosberg’s win in Monaco followed a mistake by the team on a weekend in which Hamilton had been totally dominant.
The world champion added: “I knew how many people were going to be [at Silverstone], I knew the pressure, I’d been here before, I knew how important it was for me to really deliver.”
This article was written by Paul Weaver, for theguardian.com on Monday 6th July 2015 23.16 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010