Sir Lewis Hamilton reckons he might have been in with a shot of winning the Hungarian Grand Prix had he not suffered his DRS issues in qualifying.
Both Hamilton and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen started the race further down the order after the seven-time champion’s DRS failed on his final run, while the Dutchman lost power.
They made their way through the field in the opening stages, before Verstappen pitted early for a fresh set of Mediums, undercutting the Mercedes.
Fearing that this strategy was too aggressive, Hamilton was left out for several more laps, so Verstappen jumped him for position as the reigning champion closed in on Charles Leclerc, George Russell and Carlos Sainz.
Ferrari decided to respond to Verstappen’s second stop onto Mediums by bringing Leclerc in for Hards and, having passed Russell for the lead, this left the Monegasque as a sitting duck as Verstappen passed him.
Hamilton, meanwhile, stayed out longer along with Sainz, and they both pitted late onto Softs, with the 37-year-old catching and passing Sainz on the same tyre, before getting past his team-mate and into second place while Verstappen cruised to victory.
It was an excellent recovery from the Briton following his dramas on Saturday, and he praised the team over the radio.
“Great work lads, what a result for the team, so happy for you all and so grateful to you all,” he said.
“Would have had the pace to win it if we hadn’t had that DRS issue.”
The 103-time race winner felt as though he could have challenged Verstappen for the win had it not been for starting seventh on the grid, but regardless, he acknowledges that second place is a fine result given where he started.
“Really, really happy with… to be able to recover from seventh is huge for us,” Hamilton told Sky Sports.
“I wish that we were able to…if we had got our lap yesterday then we would have been on the front row and then it perhaps would have been a different result.
“But nonetheless, I got a good start to be able to slowly make my way through, and particularly that last stint was pretty special.
“If you really kind of look at Max’s race, he started 10th, and span, and still won the race by 10 seconds.
“That says pretty much everything about their car, but we’ve just got to continue to keep pushing.
“We’ve obviously found something and we’ve obviously got a little bit closer, and now we’re able to compete with these Ferraris.
“And I honestly think in a straight-out race, we might not be that far behind Max so I’m really excited about the second half of this season, proud of my team for not giving up, we’ve just got to keep going.”
Mercedes’ double podium was their second consecutive as Russell beat Sainz to third, and Mercedes are now just 30 points adrift of second-placed Ferrari in the Constructors’ Championship.