Lewis Hamilton has beaten Red Bull’s Max Verstappen to take his seven-win at the Hungarian Grand Prix, following a race-long battle with the Red Bull driver. The five times champion pushed hard and took the gamble on strategy to close up on the Dutchman.
It wasn’t an easy race for Hamilton, following his final pit stop and with ten laps to go the five-times champion closed an eleven and a half-second gap to pass the Red Bull into the first corner. Mercedes switched the Englishman to a two-stop strategy in a bid to pass Verstappen.
Verstappen had converted his maiden pole into the lead at the start, which he successfully held until his tyres went off as he was under attack from Hamilton. His tyres were dying throughout the final laps, that left him unable to defend the lead.
Hamilton questioned Mercedes strategy call, but it was a brilliant call allowing the gap between himself and Verstappen to close at around half a second per lap with thirty to go. The race could be described as the king of the sport versus the boy who wants to be king.
Hamilton, “It was difficult to get by, the defence was great, and I didn’t know if I could catch that 19-second gap. just kept my head down, and each lap was like a qualifying lap. I know if Niki [Lauda] was here today, he would take his hat off.”
Verstappen admitted: “We were just not fast enough, but I tried everything I could on those hard tyres to stay alive. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough, but to finish second with the fastest lap, it was a good weekend overall.”
Vettel added “We had nothing to lose, so we stayed out very long in the first stint, and hoped that the soft would last in the end which they did. I think they were the fastest tyres in the end, so we were able to close the gap. I had one opportunity which I took, so I’m happy to have some champagne now.”
It puts Hamilton sixty-two points ahead in the championship with nine races to go and a maximum of two hundred and thirty-four points available.
His sixth title is as good as won unless his teammate Valtteri Bottas comes back following the summer break. Ten more wins, and by this time next year he could have surpassed Michael Schumacher’s all-time record of wins, as well as chasing his seven titles.
Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel was fourth the German a minute behind and almost four seconds ahead of teammate Charles Leclerc. The two Ferrari’s being the only drivers apart from the top two to finish the race on the lead lap.
Leclerc had been on course for third, but he was overtaken by Ferrari team-mate Vettel who finished very strongly. The four-times champion passing the Monacan in the closing stages to take third. However, it was a devastating day for the Scuderia, who finished a minute behind Hamilton.
Bottas had tried to pass Verstappen at the start but made contact with Hamilton as he tried to sweep around the outside into Turn Three, compromising Bottas and letting Charles Leclerc nip ahead in his Ferrari.
The Finn made contact with Leclerc, after clipping his front wing as he passed the Ferrari. Bottas soon pitted for repairs and slipped down the field, with his afternoon quickly turned into one of recovery.
Carlos Sainz delivered the pace McLaren had shown in practice, beating the Red Bull of Pierre Gasly to take fifth. The Spaniard taking the advantage at the start to seal fifth from Bottas early on after jumping him at the start.
Sainz ran in that position throughout the grand prix and then withstood pressure from Gasly in the other Red Bull to finish fifth for the second race in a row. Teammate Lando Norris was caught out by a bad pit stop, after the team couldn’t attach the rear tyre and that dropped him behind Gasly, Bottas and Kimi Raikkonen.
Raikkonen using a two-stop strategy taking seventh, Bottas eighth and Norris ninth. Alex Albon passed Racing Point’s Sergio Perez in the closing stages to take the final point, the Toro Rosso driver losing out from two slow stops.
Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg was twelfth with teammate Daniel Ricciardo fourteenth, the pair separated by the Haas of Kevin Magnussen. Haas’ difficult recent spell continued as Romain Grosjean retired at mid-distance, while Magnussen finished thirteenth after a series of aggressive moves to stop Ricciardo getting by late on.
Daniil Kvyat couldn’t repeat his heroic efforts in Germany, finishing the race fifteenth, ahead of George Russell’s Williams. Lance Stroll was seventeenth ahead of Antonio Giovinazzi and Robert Kubica.
A water pressure issue caused Romain Grosjean to retire with twenty laps to go. The Frenchman had slipped back after a long first stint did not pay off, and his car was wheeled into the garage with a water pressure problem with more than 20 laps remaining.
- Hungarian GP – Qualifying Result
- HUNGARIAN GP – Max Verstappen takes maiden pole beating Valtteri Bottas by a hundredth of a second
- Notebook – Hungarian Practice
- HUNGARIAN GP – Pierre Gasly heads a Red Bull one-two in mixed second practice
- HUNGARIAN GP – Lewis Hamilton sets pace in first practice by tenth and a half over Max Verstappen
- Prixview – Hungarian Grand Prix