Lewis Hamilton hopes Mercedes will not end up rueing lost points to Ferrari in the 2017 title fight, but insists he wants to win the championship in the "right way".
Hamilton honoured a promise to hand back third place to Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas at the Hungarian Grand Prix, after the team switched its drivers in order to let the Briton attack the leading Ferrari duo of Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen. Hamilton ultimately gave third place back to Bottas at the final corner of the last lap, admitting it had been a risky move given the gap he had pulled over Bottas.
"I don't know whether that will come back to bite me in the backside or not but I said at the beginning of the year I want to win it the right way," Hamilton explained. "I think it was the right way to do things [in Hungary]. It's kind of a grey area because if I let him by and pulled him along and we were two seconds apart, then that's a much easier thing to let him back. But obviously I was seven seconds up ahead and the team are in a difficult position.
"But I think it really shows, hopefully, that I'm a man of my word and also that I am a team player. I am just as much a part of the team as anyone else and I think we are working better together than we ever have. It shows unity. I think in life if you do good things, good things do come around back to you. Hopefully in the future it will pay dividends."
While Mercedes is sticking to its philosophy of providing both its drivers with equal opportunities in the title fight, Ferrari appears happy to back championship leader Sebastian Vettel. With race-leader Vettel struggling with a steering issue in Hungary, Raikkonen was effectively acting to protect a Scuderia one-two rather than being allowed to challenge for the lead, despite being the faster Ferrari driver at times.
Hamilton -- who claimed Vettel is the clear No.1 driver at Maranello earlier this year -- now trails the German by 14 points at the half-way mark of the season, while Ferrari has cut the gap to Mercedes in the constructors' standings to just 39 points.
"I don't think I'll ever get back those three points," he said. "We've given up a lot of points and I think Ferrari have given up a lot less as a team. We just hope that we don't give up any more points moving forwards. I don't know why we were off the pace of the Ferraris in qualifying -- whether or not that will continue in the next races I have no idea. I don't know if they brought an upgrade. Time will tell. Hopefully when we go to the circuits like Spa it will be a bit more like Silverstone."