Lewis Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton celebrates after winning the Hungarian Grand Prix. [Reuters]

Lewis Hamilton feels as though he will now be able to launch a genuine title challenge after claiming his maiden victory for Mercedes at the Hungaroring.

The 28 year old produced an outstanding drive to claim an important victory that sees him move to within 50 points of runaway leader Sebastian Vettel, and just 10 behind Kimi Raikkonen who he beat into second place.

Having started the race on pole position, Hamilton produced some aggressive over-taking manoeuvres to claim one of the most important victories of his distinguished career.

"It's an incredible feeling," Hamilton told Sky Sports. "This is surely one of the most important wins of my career. To move to a new team and win for Mercedes-Benz is a real privilege. I couldn't be happier."

The 2008 world champion had endured a difficult start to life with Mercedes but after claiming the victory was quizzed on whether he felt he could now be considered a genuine contender.

"I hope so. I honestly believe in this team and that this car is fast enough to compete with the Red Bull. As long as the tyres don't let us down, we'll be in there in the fight," he added.

While Hamilton feels Mercedes have taken a major step he admits that he was shocked by the car's performance in Hungary.

"We had no idea it was going to go that well, we really weren't expecting it," explained Hamilton. "The tyres were a dream. On the first stint, the tyres were so-so, and they went off two laps before the Red Bull's.

"I called the pit-stop at just the right time because if I had done another lap then I would have probably been overtaken. But I came out ahead and as soon as I did I knew I had a chance to win."

With nine races still remaining there is plenty of time for Hamilton to cut the lead of Vettel but Hamilton is aware that he will need the tyres to hold up for him to challenge.

"I know the guys [at the team] are working hard so that we can close the gap and I hope today is the first step in doing so, but we've got a lot of tough races coming up," he told the BBC. "I just hope that's not the last time my tyres work for me."