BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) — The bad news for Lewis Hamilton’s traditional rivals at Ferrari and Red Bull is that the dominant Mercedes is getting faster, while another team using its engines is growing in confidence.
Hamilton’s pole position at the Hungarian Grand Prix on Saturday was his second straight and third in a row for Mercedes, after Valtteri Bottas’ pole at the season-opening Austrian GP two weeks ago.
“Without doubt it is a better car than last year,” Hamilton said Saturday after clinching his record-extending 90th career pole by .107 from his teammate.
“We keep pushing each other to the next level,” said Bottas, who won the Austrian GP before Hamilton followed up with victory at the Styrian GP from pole last weekend.
Schumacher won seven F1 titles — one more than Hamilton so far — but Hamilton’s total of 90 poles already puts him 22 clear of the former Ferrari great.
“I just have to pinch myself, it doesn’t register,” Hamilton said. “It does not seem real.”
Hamilton has won seven times at the Hungaroring and the veteran British driver needs one more to equal F1 great Schumacher’s single-track record of eight wins, when the French GP was held at Magny-Cours.
Hamilton’s first win in Hungary was way back in 2007, the year after Schumacher’s eighth in France.
Hamilton’s first win for Mercedes was in 2013, the year after replacing Schumacher with the Silver Arrows.
They belong in the same category as among the best drivers in F1 history.