Max Verstappen Wins In Hungary After Starting 10th

BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - JULY 31: Max Verstappen of Red Bull Racing and The Netherlands celebrates finishing in first position during the F1 Grand Prix of Hungary at Hungaroring on July 31, 2022 in Budapest, Hungary. (Photo by Peter Fox/Getty Images) // Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool // SI202207310526 // Usage for editorial use only //
BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - JULY 31: Max Verstappen of Red Bull Racing and The Netherlands celebrates finishing in first position during the F1 Grand Prix of Hungary at Hungaroring on July 31, 2022 in Budapest, Hungary. (Photo by Peter Fox/Getty Images) // Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool // SI202207310526 // Usage for editorial use only //

Championship leader Max Verstappen won the 2022 Hungarian Grand Prix from 10th on the grid and after a spin mid-race.

The Dutchman’s 28th career win came as Ferrari threw away yet another victory with poor tyre choice at the Hungaroring, which saw Charles Leclerc plummet from the lead to sixth at the chequered flag.

“I was hoping I could get close to a podium, but we had a really good strategy, we were really reactive,” said the Red Bull driver, who added: “Even with the 360 we won the race! It was a lot of fun out there, very happy we won it.”

“It feels crazy to have won the race today from P10, especially on a track like this where it’s very hard to pass. We made all the right calls today, there were some good undercuts and overall we did a great job today as a Team. This was definitely one of my best races, despite the little 360-degree spin! I’m very happy with the lead that we have, but of course we have to keep pushing and win more races.”

In another missed opportunity for Ferrari allows Red Bull and Verstappen to further extend their championship leads, Verstappen now a massive 80-points clear of Leclerc in the drivers’ standings, Red Bull 97 ahead of Ferrari in the constructors’ table.

Ferrari pitted Leclerc early for what should have been his final stop, fitting the hard tyre, which others had shown lacked pace and grip in the cool temperatures in Budapest.

The Italian team’s day was compounded by Mercedes scoring another double podium, with Lewis Hamilton second and pole-sitter George Russell third.

Leclerc and Spaniard Carlos Sainz finished sixth and fourth respectively and a lot of questions will likely be asked at Maranello, for the team who have often appeared the fastest in 2022.

Verstappen victorious, but Ferrari blunder again

Ferrari fans would have been forgiven for thinking that their scarlet cars would be bringing home a win in Budapest, starting 2nd and 3rd behind Russell’s Mercedes.

They would have been even more assured of victory when Leclerc took the lead from the British driver, with a brilliant pass on the brakes into Turn 1.

Ferrari reacted to Red Bull’s early final stop with Verstappen on Lap 38, having used two sets of mediums, meaning the hard tyre was the only choice to get to the end.

However, the Italian team appeared to have ignored the pace of Alpine, who had gambled on the hard tyres in their battle with McLaren, but had struggled heavily for any pace.

Verstappen cruised up behind and passed Leclerc, despite having started 10th following a power-unit problem in Q3 and looked set to romp to another win, but spun less than a lap later and lost the position, handing Ferrari a potential reprieve.

But the lack of pace on the hard’s allowed Verstappen to quickly repeat his earlier pass on the Monegasque driver and ease to another victory.

Spaniard Sainz admitted that his team had “struggled” during the race, saying: “When the pace is bad, like it was today, the strategy is always difficult.”

Leclerc was unable to provide an explanation as to what had happened with his strategy, saying that he had told the team “The feeling was good” with the medium and that he wanted to extend his stint.

The 24-year-old would pit again for soft tyres, but could not climb up from the P6 he had fallen back to.

Despite having a car capable of winning the world championship and driver who can do it in Charles Leclerc, Ferrari will now be looking more over their shoulders at Mercedes, who are now just 30-points behind the Scuderia.

Red Bull drove the strategy

Race winner Verstappen admitted that he had hoped for a podium, starting from 10th, but his Red Bull team made clear and decisive strategy calls to move the Dutchman through any traffic, by using the “undercut”.

By pitting earlier, and using clear track to do faster lap times, Verstappen was able to pass Hamilton’s Mercedes in the first phase of stops, which unleashed Verstappen to chase the lead trio of Russell, Sainz and Leclerc.

When Russell reported that he was struggling with the rear-tyres, Red Bull pounced and undercut not just the Mercedes driver, but also Sainz.

Ferrari, bizarrely, pitted Leclerc, who had made his first stop before Sainz and Verstappen was immediately on the tail of the Ferrari, passing into Turn 1, on Lap 41.

Verstappen put his spin on Lap 42 down to a clutch-slip issue and overtook Leclerc for a second time on Lap 45, again at Turn 1.

The Dutchman summed up his team’s performance saying: “We had a really good strategy.”

The victory puts Verstappen in a commanding position to take consecutive world championships, even with nine races remaining.

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