Why Lewis Hamilton was shocked by McLaren

Lando Norris has praised the work of his team after McLaren delivered another strong showing.

Lando Norris delivered a stellar performance at the Hungarian Grand Prix, finishing second behind championship leader Max Verstappen. 

Despite starting the race on pole, former world champion Lewis Hamilton experienced a nightmare start, eventually finishing fourth. Hamilton questioned the impressive speed that saw him drop behind Norris’ teammate, Oscar Piastri, during the race.

However, Norris was quick to counter Hamilton’s remarks, emphasising that McLaren and Mercedes have similar pace. 

After securing his second successive podium finish, the 23-year-old driver acknowledged that Mercedes has a strong car and dismissed any claims that they have a bad car this season.

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“Mercedes were on pole here last year, and their car has been pretty good,” Norris stated. 

“I know Lewis complains a lot about how amazing our car is and how bad theirs is, but they don’t have a bad car. And they haven’t all season… 

“Today, we struggled more than we would have liked. But we know this is an area for improvement. 

“So yeah, I think it’s a positive surprise, again, to be where we are. 

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“But we have the same pace as Mercedes, it’s just we’ve done a better job. 

“So I have to thank the whole team for that.”

Hamilton’s difficulties began with a slow start, dropping him to fourth place behind Verstappen and the two McLarens. 

He expressed frustration with the pace gap that allowed Piastri to pull away during the race. 

Despite improvements in the later stages of the race, Hamilton was unable to catch up with the leading pack.

“How’ve they got nine seconds all of a sudden? That’s a crazy amount!” 

Hamilton was heard saying on team radio when Piastri opened up a gap. 

Reflecting on the race, Hamilton commented, “After that, just didn’t have the pace to keep up with the guys. 

“The balance in the car was pretty awful on that first stint, a lot of understeer and oversteer through corner balance, and I just couldn’t keep up with them. 

“So then, bit by bit, as we got through the next couple of stints, the car started to become more drivable, and then the last stint obviously was much better. 

“If we had had the pace we had at the end, we would have been a little bit better, I think, through the day.”

READ: Lando Norris says he got ‘screwed’

Hamilton’s late push allowed him to overtake Piastri, but Verstappen’s teammate, Sergio Perez, secured third place, denying Hamilton a podium finish. 

The result places Hamilton six points behind Fernando Alonso, who occupies the third spot in the overall standings. 

Meanwhile, Verstappen continues to dominate with a lead of over 100 points on his closest rival, Perez.