Verstappen secures his 8th win of the season at Hungarian GP in Budapest as Mercedes secures another double podium.
Last race before the summer break is over, and it’s Max Verstappen and Red Bull who have yet again taken the win. The Hungaroring served us with some brilliant racing as drivers did overtakes and swapped positions all throughout the 70-lap race.
Here are some key points we noted in Budapest as we head to the summer break.
Verstappen’s charge from P10 to win Hungarian GP:
After some troubles with the engine in the qualifying on Saturday, Max Verstappen started the race in P10. Nevertheless, because of the problem with the engine in Qualifying, Red Bull decided to replace Verstappen’s engine before the race.
Verstappen took new Power Unit components, all within the allocated limit, thus avoiding any penalty. These changes were mirrored for Verstappen’s teammate, Sergio Perez, with the Mexican qualifying only 11th after a messy session.
Anyhow, starting P10 meant Verstappen had to minimize the damage and reduce the margin of points to a minimum to his Title rival Charles Leclerc.
However, a remarkable drive combined with a strategic blunder by Ferrari eventually saw Verstappen taking the win.
On lap 39, Max was P4 behind Russell and Sainz, with Leclerc leading the race. The Dutchman pitted on the same lap pulling an undercut on Sainz, and also had an advantage over Leclerc.
On the following lap, Ferrari responded by pitting Charles Leclerc and going on to Hard tyres for the Monegasque. A decision which became quite controversial given the grip issues with the hard compound this afternoon.
The Dutchman overtook title rival Charles Leclerc on lap 41 before going on a ‘little’ spin the following lap.
Later Verstappen would come back to overtake the Monegasque, struggling with grip on hard tyres on lap 45. Verstappen would take the lead of the race for the first time on lap 52 as both Carlos Sainz and Lewis Hamilton pitted. Verstappen would go on to take the win without any further troubles or errors.
Sergio Perez would also perform a damage limitation drive coming home P5 ahead of Leclerc after starting P11. Here is what Verstappen said about his win and the ‘little’ 360:
“I was of course hoping I could get close to the podium, but very tricky conditions out there. But we had a really good strategy, we were really reactive and always pitting at the right at time, I think we had some good out-laps and at the end even with 360, we won the race!”
“It was very good, I was battling a lot of guys, so it was a lot of fun out there… a crazy race and, of course, very happy that we won it.”
Verstappen leads the Championship by 80 points! Red Bull also enjoys a 97-point lead in the constructors’ Championship.
Mercedes secures yet another double podium:
On Saturday, Russell had taken an astounding pole starting the race from P1. The Briton had a decent start keeping his lead till lap 17 before pitting for Medium tyres.
The 24-year-old again got the lead on lap 21 following the pit stop of race leader Leclerc. Soon enough, though, the faster Leclerc would come chasing him, and an enthralling battle would ensue between the two young drivers.
The battle would end with Leclerc overtaking Russell on lap 31. Nevertheless, Leclerc won’t be able to keep the lead for long. After getting overtaken by Verstappen, Leclerc would see himself losing position to Russell on lap 54 for P2.
Hamilton soon proved to be the fastest man on track, passing Sainz – both drivers on softs – at Turn 1 on Lap 63. Russell would soon find his teammate in his mirrors. We would then see a small intra-team battle with Hamilton overtaking Russell on lap 65 for P2.
The Mercedes duo would come home in the same places as a late Virtual Safety Car would help Hamilton close in the gap on Max Verstappen. However, the Brit would eventually run out of the laps to close the gap.
Hamilton showed some incredible pace coming into the end of the race. The 7-time world Champion came home with the fastest lap to his name.
With Hamilton P2 and Russell P3, we saw a repeat of the podium of the French Grand Prix.
Mercedes stands 3rd on Constructors with just 30 points behind Ferrari. George Russell has moved up to P4 in driver standings after the Hungarian GP.
Ferrari’s Missed Podium at Hungarian GP:
It became yet another disappointing outing for Ferrari in Budapest. Ferrari strategists yet again came under the scanner after a few noticeable controversial decisions.
Leclerc had comfortably taken the lead on lap 31. He opted to make his second pit stop following Verstappen. Ferrari opted for hard tyres as Leclerc came in pits on lap 40. Russell soon followed Charles coming in for Mediums.
These hard tyres proved to be a fatal error as both Verstappen and Russell would later pass Leclerc on Medium tyres. Leclerc would later go on to pit for soft tyres after being unable to find any grip on the hards.
Nevertheless, the hard tyres were definitely not the right compound for the evening, as seen with the Alpine. Both Alpine drivers had pitted for hards before Ferrari’s Leclerc, and both struggled with grip. Experts had also pointed out that cooler track temperatures would mean hard tyres taking a lot longer to fire up, opposite to what was seen the whole season.
Choosing hard tyres proved lethal for Leclerc, with the Monegasque finishing P6, even behind Sergio Perez. A truly horrible Hungarian GP for Scuderians.
It was certainly an evening to forget for Charles Leclerc. It was Ferrari’s hopeless strategy decision which was again the main talking point after the race. Sainz crossed the line in fourth, one place ahead of Verstappen’s Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez. Ferrari is 97-points behind Red Bull in Constructors Championship.
Round 13 of Formula 1, Hungarian GP, was full of excitement, overtakes, and strategies. Max Verstappen and Red Bull once again aced their strategy, winning the race from P10! Ferrari once again made a strategic blunder, not only costing them the win but the podium places.
Mercedes once again showed a strong pace. It seems the Silver Arrows are coming back in the Championship. For now, it doesn’t seem that they will be able to chase down Red Bull. However, they can certainly target and chase Ferrari, who is just 30 points ahead of them now.
Alpine and McLaren again came even for their battle for P4 on constructors. Norris ran a quiet race coming home in P7. Alpine opting for hard tyres affected their race. However, both the drivers came back later, securing P8 and P9.
Alpine was helped by Ricciardo locking up and hitting Stroll at Turn 2 and picking up a five-second time penalty. Ricciardo came home securing P15.
Alpine stays ahead of McLaren by 4 points on the Constructor’s standings, after Hungarian GP.
Now the teams and drivers head to the summer break. The break is a must for many, especially Leclerc and Ferrari, so that they can recollect themselves and plan a comeback in what seems to be a lost championship.
We’ll miss all the action on track but be ready for some off-track action. We at The Sportsway will keep you updated with all the action!