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Hamilton optimistic as he chases record ninth Hungary win

Lewis Hamilton says he is “optimistic” over Mercedes’ prospects in Hungary as he chases a record ninth victory at the event.

No driver in Formula 1 history has ever won a grand prix on nine separate occasions.

Hamilton is currently the joint record-holder, having taken eight wins at the Hungaroring and Silverstone, while Michael Schumacher was victorious at France’s Magny-Cours eight times.

Hamilton finished a close second to Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas during practice at the Hungaroring on Friday, with the pair split by just 0.027s on the Soft tyre runs.

Title leader Max Verstappen was third-fastest for Red Bull Racing.

Track conditions were exceptionally hot on Friday, with the surface measuring 63.5c at the start of second practice.

“It was just melting the tyres out there,” said Hamilton. “It’s quite hard to get the balance.

“Quite different to the last race we were at where a lot of people have been struggling, I think everyone’s been struggling with the front tyres.

“They’re a different beast this year, and it’s different each race you go to. So that’s been an interesting process, trying to understand those better.”

Hamilton was nonetheless buoyed by the performance of the W12 in spite of the conditions.

“I’m optimistic because I think we can definitely improve the car balance-wise,” he said.

“And if we can do that, it puts us in a better position for the race as well. But of course, it’s much nicer to drive when it’s cooler!”

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