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29/07/2013 03:44 BST | Updated 29/07/2013 03:48 BST

Lewis Hamilton Eyes F1 Title Assault After Hungarian Grand Prix Win (PICTURES)

Lewis Hamilton is hopeful he has taken the first step on the road to a potential Formula One title tilt over the second half of the year.

Hamilton conjured a victory drive in yesterday's Hungarian Grand Prix described by Mercedes' non-executive chairman and three-times world champion Niki Lauda as the best he has seen from the 28-year-old.

It was Hamilton's first for Mercedes at the 10th attempt following his move from McLaren, the 22nd of his F1 career, and remarkably his fourth in seven years around the Hungaroring.

With Sebastian Vettel third behind Kimi Raikkonen, Hamilton has now closed the gap to Red Bull's triple world champion to 48 points.

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Hamilton is still optimistic about his chances of a second F1 title

With Mercedes finally appearing to have cracked their tyre problems, Hamilton may prove to be Vettel's closest challenger after the summer break that now beckons.

Assessing his chances, Hamilton said: "When you have a win like this you get excited and think anything is possible.

"Obviously this race shows anything is possible, but it's still too early to say we can challenge.

"I know the guys are working hard to close the gap, and I hope this is the first step in doing so.

"But we've a lot of tough races coming up. I just hope that's not the last time my tyres work for me.

"If we can be quick at this track and make our tyres last with the temperatures we experienced then we should be able to do it anywhere, so fingers crossed."

Mercedes had previously proved inept at making Pirelli's rubber work for them during races, particularly in the heat.

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In yesterday's race the mercury hit 35 degrees centigrade, whilst track temperatures soared to 50, and from the 30th pole Hamilton should have been a sitting duck for those behind.

But the new construction of Pirelli tyres that debuted in the race and marry last year's construction with this season's compounds appear to have had an effect.

Even so, Hamilton added: "I really wasn't expecting it (the win).

"I talked it down a lot after qualifying because I was expecting a real tough race. I thought we were going to fall behind.

"The experiences I had at McLaren were some of my greatest, but this is one of the highlights of my career up to now, one of the most important wins.

"Moving to a new team, one that was struggling massively last year, and to finally get a win with them after the first 10 races is a great feeling."