A much happier Lewis Hamilton, boosted by his victory in last Sunday’s German Grand Prix, went into Friday morning’s opening practice for Sunday’s Hungarian Grand Prix determined to help his McLaren team break through the “wall of caution”.
The 26-year-old Briton called on McLaren to push hard, and push again, in the development war that has seen them and Ferrari fighting to close the gap on runaway leader and defending champion German Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull.
“That win last weekend sparked something special for the team, and hopefully it’s encouraged them to push even more than they’ve ever pushed before,” he said. “That’s what we need to do.
“I’m pushing and pushing and pushing, and sometimes you have to break through a wall of caution.
“I’m the one that pushes past the limits and it’s the team who are the ones who try to keep it under control, but we pushed through the limit that weekend.
“When I spoke to them on Monday, it was like we had raised our limit, raised our margins, and now we have more space, and we can keep pushing more – and that’s important.”
Hamilton, champion in 2008, was in bouncy mood at the Hungaroring on Friday morning as he topped the times and drove with elan and aggression, his 16th career win clearly giving him renewed motivation – a feeling he also attributed to having been given time, after the British Grand Prix, to rest and train properly.
He said: “I came into the weekend a lot more refreshed. At the last race at Silverstone, I hadn’t trained for four weeks and with that break I was able to train every day and get my body feeling fresher.
“I came there with a clear mind and I’d eaten at the right times. It might have made a bigger difference than I thought.”
Despite his sensational win at the Nurburgring, Hamilton was himself cautious on his chances in Hungary.
“Well, my car’s not changed,” he said. “I’m confident in its reliability, in its performance, but we know it’s definitely not the fastest car here.
“We know the others still have a very competitive car that suits certain conditions, and the Red Bull has been quick at every single track throughout the year.
“It was quick at the last race, it still grabbed pole, whereas we don’t have a car that’s fast everywhere. It’s fast in some places, not so fast in others.”
Hamilton, however, hold sout no great hopes of claiming pole position when qualifying takes place on Saturday.
“We’ve not had pole for 18 races, something like that, so it’s been over a year since we had pole, so I don’t come here thinking we can get pole,” he said.
“If we do it will be a blessing. It’s nice to start from pole. I’ve done that a couple of times here, and it makes it much easier – though I did lose out to Massa in 2008.”
Hamilton said also that he hoped the weather would remain relatively cool.
“I don’t want to speak too soon,” he said. “You never know with the weather because it could be really hot or the next day. I have heard it is going to get better and better.
“On my iPhone it says it’s going to be 22 or 23 degrees throughout the weekend, which if true will be fantastic for us. Any hotter this weekend then we might struggle so I am just hoping.”