Taking a 19-point advantage over Nico Rosberg after a victory in the German Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton says he feels “closer to leading” the title race.
Hamilton raced unchallenged to a sixth victory of this season in Germany on Sunday, beating the Red Bulls of Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen.
His main title challenger, Rosberg, fell to fourth as he had a poor start and a five-second penalty for pushing Verstappen off the track.
As a result Hamilton heads into Formula 1’s summer break with a 19-point advantage in the Formula 1 title race.
“I feel like I am closer to leading it,” he told Sky Sports.
“We do have a penalty up ahead, this engine has done amazing to get to where we are and I’m super grateful for the life it has led and the laps we’ve led with it.
“It’s as good a buffer as I could get with the circumstances.”
Hamilton is facing grid penalties in the upcoming grands prix as he has reached the penalty-free limit for two of the six elements, the turbocharger and the MGU-H.
Should either unit be replaced at a grand prix, he would face a ten-place grid penalty. However, should he take both new units on the same weekend, it would be a 15-place drop.
Speaking about his potential upcoming penalties, he revealed that it was not yet decided if he would take the hit at the next grand prix in Belgium as he saved his engine a bit in Germany.
“It depends,” he said. “Today I saved my engine a lot which is why they [Red Bull] closed up as much as they did. I only needed a six second gap really, they wanted me to keep six seconds.
“It went from eleven to seven quite quickly and then I had to get back on it, but generally I was looking after the engine up front and never felt like I was under threat.
“I think Spa… hopefully I’ve saved enough of my engine today hoping that I would be able to use it at the next race. It will either be the next race or Monza, because I’m going to run out of engines soon.”