Hamilton is some distance behind championship leader Sebastian Vettel _ 48 points back in fourth _ but his victory Sunday at the Hungarian Grand Prix was the third for Mercedes in the past five races.
“I am very hopeful this could be a real turning point for us,” Hamilton said, with team principal Ross Brawn adding that “it certainly feels like we have made a good step forward.”
With nine Grand Prix races left, Hamilton has an outside chance of catching Vettel because Mercedes has been fastest in qualifying _ Hamilton has clinched the last three poles and Mercedes six of the past seven overall.
“I know the guys are working hard so that we can close the gap,” Hamilton said.
Mercedes’ problems have been race durability and tire management. But those doubts were eased after Sunday’s win and the team should be in buoyant mood for Spa on Aug. 25. Vettel may have to watch his back.
“It is only halfway through the season and our rivals have been consistently competitive while we have experienced some ups and downs,” Mercedes executive director Toto Wolff said. “We are still the underdogs right now, but we are on an upward trend.”
“We can be pretty satisfied with how it’s gone so far,” the Red Bull driver said. “The car runs good on any type of track and I’ve had only one DNF (did not finish). Having more points than last year at this time can only be positive.”
Since winning the Spanish GP before home fans May 12, Alonso has managed only two podiums. On Sunday, he was fifth.
“This race ends what’s been a generally difficult month for us,” he said. “Now, our aim is to work hard to arrive at Spa and Monza with a more competitive car.”
Alonso has not qualified higher than third all season, leaving him far too much to do on race day. Teammate Felipe Massa’s qualifying performances lately have been poor: seventh twice, 11th and 16th.
“After a promising start to the season, we are experiencing a drop in competitiveness,” team principal Stefano Domenicali said. “I expect the whole team to react strongly with the intention of improving the car.”