Formula 1

Formula 1: Verstappen slices through the field to take victory in Hungary.

Despite qualifying 10th, Max Verstappen has strengthened his hold on the championship with a superbly controlled drive at the Hungaroring. Joy for Mercedes with another double podium, while Ferrari fall. Again.

Rain started to fall minutes before the session started. Although it was light, predictions forecast heavier rain for 10 minutes. Despite this, all cars started on dry compound tyres.

Russell races on

Russell, starting on the softs made a good start and was only just able to keep the medium clad Ferraris at bay. Hamilton leapt to 7th and Norris was unlucky not to progress after a great start. But by the end of the first lap, the VSC was called. Debris needed to be cleared after contact between Vettel and Albon. Vettel was able to continue, while Albon had to pit for a new front wing.

The VSC ended on lap 3 and Russell started to drive his heart out. By the end of the lap, he had a healthy 2.4s advantage. Russell and Sainz (2nd) were now starting to exchange fastest laps.

The forecast changed and the weather was now predicted to be dry for the next 30 minutes.

Verstappen was carving his way up from 10th, as he went past Ocon for 6th on lap 7. A lap later, Perez took the Frenchman too.

The battle was now heating up for 4th as Hamilton caught the back of Norris and Verstappen caught up too. On lap 12, Hamilton launched a move down the inside of Norris through turn 1 and Verstappen was able to squeeze past before turn 2. To make matters worse for Norris, Perez breezed past before the end of the lap.

Sainz started to close the gap on Russell on lap 14. It appeared that Russell’s tyres were starting to lose performance.

Pit Stop Strategies

Norris was the first to pit, strategy up and down the grid was going to be mixed and there was no idea as to whether or not this would be a 1-stop strategy.

Russell was next to stop, moving on to the medium compound tyre. He had to battle Alonso out of the pits and was just able to stay out in front. In response, Sainz pitted but was not able to sneak pass Russell. Unfortunately for Sainz, he came out behind Ocon.

Cars now flooded the pits, but Leclerc stayed out longer, until lap 21. It was not an attempt at a 1-stop, as he bolted on another set of medium tyres. He wasn’t able to take 1st, but snatched 2nd from Sainz.

The Alpines squabbled as Ocon came out of the pits, which led to Ricciardo managing a perfect overtake on them both through turn 3.

On lap 27, Leclerc was able to get within Russell’s DRS territory. He attempted a move through turns 1+2, but Russell’s strong defense just kept him in front. The first of many attempts through the same corners for the following laps. However, Leclerc finally made the way past on lap 31, slamming the door through the first apex.

There was a yellow on lap 36 as Tsunoda spun through sector 2. He was able to get the car going, but dropped to last place.

Verstappen took his second stop surprisingly early, lap 39. This caused Russell to stop a lap later, which also led to Leclerc stopping as well. Verstappen was able to jump Russell in the pits, but Leclerc was safe in the net lead. However, Verstappen was able to launch into 1st with a superb overtake into turn 1.

However, confusion struck as the cameras cut to a very slow moving Verstappen and clouds of smoke. The leader spun through the penultimate corner and gifted the place back to Leclerc. Perez and Russell looked set to overtake, but Verstappen was just able to hang on through the first 3 corners.

Leclerc’s regained lead would only last 3 laps, as Verstappen was able to make his way past again through turn 2.

Sainz was trying to go as long as possible to avoid the hard compound tyre. He stayed out until lap 48 and would now have to face 22 laps on the soft compound tyre.

Overtakes at the death

Russell was now on the back of Leclerc, with 19 laps to go. On lap 54, Russell finally squeezed his way past and Leclerc came in yet again to switch onto the soft tyre. He dropped to 6th and 20 seconds off from the podium.

Hamilton’s race was coming alive at the end,, after closing the gap since his last stop, he was able to overtake Sainz for 2nd on lap 64. Two laps later, clean racing between the Mercedes duo put him in 2nd.

With just 3 laps to go, Bottas’ Alfa ground to a halt. The VSC was called again to collect the first and only retirement of the race.

Despite rain on the last lap of the race, it was a routine finish to the end of the race. Verstappen came through the field and controlled the win, while Hamilton and Russell replicated their double podium from the week before. Sainz and Perez collected an understated 3rd and 4th, while Leclerc came an unremarkable 6th. Norris took his McLaren home infront of the Alpine duo, while Vettel collected the last point.

Full Race Results:

  1. Verstappen
  2. Hamilton +7.834
  3. Russell +12.337
  4. Sainz +14.579
  5. Perez +15.688
  6. Leclerc +16.047
  7. Norris +78.300
  8. Alonso +1Lap
  9. Ocon +1Lap
  10. Vettel +1Lap
  11. Stroll +1Lap
  12. Gasly +1Lap
  13. Zhou +1Lap
  14. Schumacher +1Lap
  15. Ricciardo +1Lap
  16. Magnussen +1Lap
  17. Albon +1Lap
  18. Latifi +1Lap
  19. Tsunoda +2Laps
  20. Bottas RET

Featured Image Credit: @F1 Official Twitter

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