Red Bull’s Max Verstappen won the Hungarian Grand Prix after starting tenth on the grid.
Max Verstappen extended his lead at the top of the Drivers’ Championship today after being victorious in Hungary. Mercedes took advantage of Ferrari’s strategy call blunders to finish with a double podium.
Lewis Hamilton finished second with the fastest lap, his fifth consecutive podium this season. George Russell, who was on pole, also earned yet another podium in his first season at Mercedes.
As it happened
George Russell got off to a great start, keeping Ferrari drivers Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc behind him into turn one. An early virtual safety car, which was released due to damage to Alex Albon’s front wing, gave Russell time and space to settle down and build a respectful two-second lead after a couple of laps.
Sergio Perez leapfrogged his teammate Max Verstappen into turn one as the Mexican bombed it down the outside to overtake the Dutchman. Verstappen was cautious not to invite any damage, easing his way through the first couple of laps before making some slick overtakes past both Alpines.
A clever dummy pit call from Ferrari saw Mercedes pit Russell to cover the rival strategy and hand the Prancing Horses the race lead. Sainz pitted a lap later in an attempt to take advantage of Mercedes’ slow pit stop. However, Ferrari were slow with Sainz’s tyres and Russell was able to undercut the Spaniard back into the lead.
The hard compound tyres proved to be difficult to warm up as McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo pulled off a slick move, making his way past both Alpines in one corner, who were on hard tyres.
Red Bull heard Russell complaining about his tyres and decided to pit Championship leader Verstappen in order to undercut the cars ahead of him. The undercut worked as the Dutchman overtook Russell as he pitted a lap later.
After Ferrari’s blunder
Ferrari pulled off yet another race strategy disaster class when they decided to pit race leader Charles Leclerc. They switched him onto hard tyres, as the softs wouldn’t last until the end of the race, in reaction to Verstappen’s undercut, despite numerous drivers complaining about the compound.
Leclerc became a sitting duck in front of Verstappen on the white striped tyres. The Dutchman overtook the Monegasque and spun a couple of laps later. Leclerc retook second place before Verstappen yet again breezed past the Ferrari.
During all the drama, Lewis Hamilton took the race lead with used tyres. However, the seven-time World Champion boxed for soft tyres, which saw him come out in fifth place.
Ferrari’s calls went from bad to worse as they decided to pit Leclerc onto soft tyres after he was picked off by Russell despite originally planning to finish the race on hards. Leclerc came out in sixth place, behind Sergio Perez and Lewis Hamilton.
Hamilton picked up speed on his set of softs, gaining quickly on Sainz and his teammate Russell before overtaking them with ease on the newer tyres.
The sting was taken out of the race after Valtteri Bottas pulled over to the side of the road causing a virtual saftey car.
Max Verstappen cruised to an 8 second gap victory after a fantastic drive, just as the rain started to come down.
Lewis Hamilton (fastest lap)
DNFs: – Valtteri Bottas
Headline Feature Image: GettyImages
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