Hamilton wants more of a battle from its rivals

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Lewis Hamilton has called on his underachieving rivals to increase their level of play so he does not head for a seventh world championship.

Hamilton’s performance at the Hungaroring on Sunday was so emphatic – a performance that propelled him to the top of the title stand for the first time this season – that he could afford to stop for new tires in order to achieve the best lap and claim a bonus point. .

Before this gum change in four of the remaining 70 laps, Hamilton held a half-minute advantage over Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, was even further ahead of Valtteri Bottas in identical Mercedes machines and had beaten Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel – a man he once looked upon. a championship rival. Not anymore.

Hamilton’s fastest tour was more than a second faster than Bottas, 2.5 seconds faster than Verstappen, and almost 4 seconds faster than Vettel.

Hamilton now heads to the British Grand Prix at Silverstone in a fortnight, five points ahead of Bottas, who finished a disappointing third, and 30 ahead of runner-up Verstappen. So, is Hamilton’s march to Michael Schumacher’s record in danger of becoming a procession?

“Not from my seat, no,” he said. “We are working hard and we will continue to do so. Look, I don’t know what’s going to happen in these next races.

“It was a flawless effort from our team this weekend, and in all areas we delivered, so it was difficult for others to compete.

“But I like to face other teams and I hope we will still find challenges to overcome. Would I want more of a battle from others? Absolutely. ”

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However, given Mercedes’s impressive performances this season – the Silver Arrows have been set up to win seven consecutive unprecedented driver and team titles – the only challenge in the Hamilton championship is expected to be Bottas.

While the 30-year-old Finn took advantage of an extraordinary Hamilton to win the first race in Austria, he was blown away in the following heats. This is their fourth season together at Mercedes and in that span Hamilton has won 33 races against Bottas’ eight.

Hamilton’s 86th career triumph, which came a day after his 90th career pole, now puts him just five off Schumacher’s winning record.

With seven races to come in just nine weeks, chances are Hamilton will have reversed Schumacher’s tally – one that many believe could stand the test of time – before the end of fall.

“In the first round I was hit with several different punches that I wasn’t ready for,” Hamilton continued.

“But I refocused and the last two races have been fantastic. I was on the verge this weekend. I must continue. ”

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