LONDON (Reuters) – Seven times world champion Lewis Hamilton has recovered from a strength-sapping Hungarian Grand Prix and will be in good shape for the second half of the Formula One season, Mercedes technical director Mike Elliott said on Wednesday.
The Briton suffered dizziness and fatigue after Sunday’s race at the Hungaroring, the last before the August break, and said he suspected he was still feeling the effects of contracting COVID-19 in December.
“I guess you saw him on the podium struggling. I saw him about an hour after that and he was definitely a chunk better and I know he has recovered since then,” Elliott said in a Mercedes debrief.
Hamilton has also posted pictures on Instagram of his workout sessions.
Elliott said drivers faced particularly extreme conditions in Hungary, sitting close to the ground in humid air that reached temperatures of 40 or 50 degrees Celsius.
“Lewis was really pushing on that two stop, some of the overtakes he was doing were absolutely brilliant. That takes a lot of energy out of you in that really hot environment,” he added.
“He is now going to have a break over the shutdown and I am sure he will come back really strong for the second half of the season.”
Hamilton has turned a 33 point deficit to Red Bull’s Max Verstappen into an eight point lead, depending on the outcome of an Aston Martin appeal against Sebastian Vettel’s disqualification from second place.
Sunday’s race was won by Alpine’s Esteban Ocon after a chaotic opening lap, with Hamilton and team mate Valtteri Bottas one-two on the grid.
Hamilton won the race before that, a home one at Silverstone, after a run of five wins in a row for Red Bull.
Elliott said the team had been “enthused and energised” by the last two races, while recognising luck had gone in their favour.
“I think for me, what’s really encouraging is the pace we have shown in the last two races… to qualify one and two and by a reasonable margin, that’s the strongest position we have been in so far this season,” he added.
“The rest of the season is definitely going to be tough, it is going to be a real fight. I think it is going to be one of those classic F1 seasons…”
(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Toby Davis)