Max Verstappen had Sunday’s Hungarian Grand Prix won. His No. 33 Aston Martin Red Bull Racing Honda was clearly the best car over the course of the 70 lap event. But, strategy instead kept him from celebrating on the top step of the podium for the second straight week and third time in the last four races.
Lewis Hamilton elected a two stop strategy and it worked in his favor as he chased down Verstappen in the end and passed him with three laps-to-go en route to his eighth win of the season and second straight in Hungary. In fact, Hamilton has won three of the last four years in the country and five of the last eight overall. He has a total of seven wins on the circuit making this the most trips to victory lane at any one track other than Montreal.
It was a brilliant pit call to bring him down pit lane with 22 laps-to-go for fresh tires. At the time, Verstappen had already set his strategy for a one stopper. While he could have adapted and responded to Hamilton’s second stop, they didn’t.
Hamilton, had 21 laps to make up 20 seconds on Verstappen. Mercedes vs. Honda.
The Mercedes won out. In 15 laps, Hamilton had cut 15 seconds off Verstappen’s lead. A couple of laps later, Hamilton was able to be in DRS range and with Verstappen saying he had “dead tires” Hamilton easily caught him and passed him on Lap 67 en route to another victory in his No. 44 Mercedes.
It shouldn’t be too shocking though as Hamilton was quickest in two of the three practice sessions this weekend with the pole sitter Verstappen being second himself in all three sessions.
Verstappen, had to settle for runner-up for his first podium in Hungary but fourth top five in five tries. It was also his fifth podium of the season too.
Sebastian Vettel rounded out the podium in his No. 5 Ferrari but he was over a minute behind Hamilton. It was Vettel’s third straight podium in Hungary and fourth in the last five years. It was also the Ferrari drivers’ second straight podium on the season.
Vettel’s teammate Charles Leclerc rebounded from an opening lap run-in with Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas to finish fourth in his No. 16 Ferrari while Carlos Sainz Jr. rounded out the top five in his No. 55 McLaren-Renault.
Sainz Jr. now has four straight top 10 finishes in Hungary and five straight on the season including two fifth place results in-a-row.
Bottas, could only settle for an eighth place finish in his No. 77 Mercedes after having wing damage in his first lap contact with Leclerc.
The F1 drivers now have a month off between races as they head to their annual summer break. Hamilton leads his Mercedes teammate of Bottas by 62 points in the standings while Verstappen is third 69 points back. The Ferrari tandem of Vettel and Leclerc are 94 and 118 points out respectively.
Hungarian Grand Prix Results
55 Sainz Jr. -1
10 Gasly -1
7 Raikkonen -1
77 Bottas -1
4 Norris R -1
23 Albon R -1
11 Perez -1
27 Hulkenberg -1
20 Magnussen -1
3 Ricciardo -1
26 Kvyat -2
63 Russell R -2
18 Stroll -2
99 Giovinazzi R -2
88 Kubica -3
8 Grosjean OUT