Very strong Verstappen victory after a great catch-up race

Lewis Hamilton finished second behind the Dutchman, while George Russell finished third. The Brit had started from pole position. Sergio Pérez, Verstappen’s teammate at Red Bull, was flagged fifth. Ferrari was hit again in the battle for the world title, as Charles Leclerc was sixth.

The lead of classification leader Verstappen over number 2 Leclerc is now no less than eighty points. Red Bull teammate Pérez is in turn five points behind Leclerc in third place. Formula 1 now has a summer break and will be back on August 28 with the Belgian Grand Prix in Spa-Francorchamps.

Verstappen started the Hungarian Grand Prix from P10, after a bad Q3 on Saturday. The Dutchman had technical problems with his car in the last part of qualifying. It had no power at a time when the Ferraris and Mercedes were already out of sight in the battle for pole position. “Obviously this is frustrating because I could have gone for pole here. In Q2 it still looked good, the speed was also there,” said the driver after qualifying.

Engine change

After the problems in qualifying, Red Bull decided to replace the engines of Pérez and Verstappen on Sunday. That had no consequences in Budapest in terms of punishment, because both Pérez and Verstappen were not yet at the limit of the engine changes. Pérez started from P11, a place behind Verstappen.

The start of the Grand Prix in Hungary, where Max Verstappen started from P10.

The start of the Grand Prix in Hungary, where Max Verstappen started from P10.

Verstappen and Pérez started the race at the Hungaroring on softs, as did pole sitter Russell. Sainz and Leclerc (P2 and P3) started on mediums. Verstappen started well and quickly moved from place 10 to place 8. In the seventh lap, the Dutchman also caught Fernando Alonso shortly after the safety car had been on track for a short period. By passing Esteban Ocon not much later, the reigning world champion pushed through to place 6.

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On lap ten, Verstappen joined Hamilton and Lando Norris. The latter saw both drivers pass in a short time and fell back to sixth place himself. Verstappen was chasing Hamilton, but complained about some problems with his clutch, which slipped. After sixteen laps, the Dutchman went in, and then returned to the field in eighth on medium tires. Two laps later, Pérez also switched to mediums.

Nice catch-up

Via a new pass at Alonso and a stop by Ocon, Verstappen moved up to fourth position and was able to chase the Ferraris and leader Russell. The 24-year-old Briton was allowed to call himself leader in the race until round 31, but then Leclerc struck. The Ferrari driver passed Russell via a clever overtaking move and took over first place in the race. Sainz and Verstappen took advantage and narrowed the gap with the number 2, from then on Russell.

After 38 laps Verstappen went in for a new set of mediums and after Leclerc had been in once like Russell, the Dutchman passed the Mongeask on lap 41. A spin from Verstappen seemed to throw a spanner in the works, but the medium tire ultimately gave the Dutchman the desired advantage. On lap 45, Verstappen overtook Leclerc with a great move at the exit of Turn 1.

With 25 laps to go, Verstappen only had Hamilton and Sainz ahead of him, but after the Spaniard (continuing on softs) and Hamilton entered the pits on lap 51, Verstappen took the lead. An unbelievable windfall for Verstappen and the entire Red Bull camp, which would actually have seen a fourth or fifth place as the highest achievable and especially damage control in Hungary seemed to have to do.

Rain in the lock

Hamilton continued on softs and after Leclerc also switched to softs, the Monegask fell all the way back to P6. Hamilton had a strong finish to the race, passing Sainz and Russell again towards second place. With five laps to go, Verstappen was the front-runner by 11 seconds, and some rain came from the Hungarian clouds as the last lap started. . However, it no longer bothered Verstappen and so the Dutchman booked one of the most beautiful victories of his career.

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