Verstappen extends championship lead with Hungary victory

Following a disappointing qualifying session, Max Verstappen came through from P10 on the grid to score a remarkable victory in the Hungarian Grand Prix. Finishing ahead of both Mercedes as Ferrari threw away a win with further questionable strategy decisions.

The defending world champion overcame his qualifying power loss and a spin thanks to expert tyre management to complete his rise from P10 to victory to extend his points lead.

Lewis Hamilton headed a Mercedes 2-3 over maiden polesitter George Russell, who had led for 30 laps, as front-row starter Carlos Sainz slid to fifth position over Red Bull’s recovering Sergio Perez.

Meanwhile, early leader Charles Leclerc was the only frontrunner to make three stops to be passed on track twice by Verstappen and ultimately fall to sixth position.

Russell was put on a set of used softs to launch on a dry track, the spots of rain that had been landing in the build-up to the race failing to develop into a full-blown shower initially.

Thanks to the grippier rubber, the Mercedes launched strongly to pull across and eventually cover off the medium-Pirelli shod Ferrari threat into Turn 1 and duly consolidated first position.

Sainz had tried to bully it around the outside of the right-hander before the W13 cut back at the apex, with the Scuderia then keeping in formation with Leclerc slotting into third place.

Hamilton, meanwhile, nailed his getaway to pounce past both Alpines for fifth behind soft-shod Lando Norris, as Verstappen propelled his RB18 around the outside of Valtteri Bottas and Daniel Ricciardo to rapidly hit eighth place after his qualifying power loss late in Q3.

Russell crossed the line at the end of the opening lap with 1.6 seconds in hand over Sainz.

After a quick virtual safety car for Sebastian Vettel being nipped with Alex Albon, Russell added another second over the chasing F1-75 next time around, with Leclerc 1.5 seconds adrift.

It took until lap 14 for the red-walled C4 Pirellis to show the first signs of degrading for the W13 as Sainz tore a 0.6 seconds chunk out of Russell, the lead Ferrari having to shown enough pace to prevent the pitwall from swapping the order under pressure to intervene by Leclerc.

With the red cars nose-to-tail, it looked as though they would be split when Sainz was told to box at the end of lap 16 but he stayed out as Russell then came in for his first stop.

The polesitter was slowly swapped onto a set of mediums after a front-right delay to emerge side by side with Fernando Alonso, cutting back through Turns 2 and 3 to seal sixth.

One tour later Ferrari responded. Sainz was called in to release Leclerc, but the Spaniard too was delayed in a 3.7 seconds medium change to crucially come out behind Alonso’s Alpine machine.

That left Leclerc to lead by 11 seconds over Hamilton before the Mercedes was called in on lap 20.

Russell was therefore released into second position but with a 19 seconds gap to the leading Leclerc.

As the lap counter hit the high teens, Leclerc’s pace was declining. He was subsequently stopped at the end of lap 21 for a set of mediums in 2.9 seconds to promote Russell into the lead.

The maiden polesitter had 2.6 seconds in hand over to chaser as Sainz sat a further 1s in arrears while champion Verstappen occupied fourth place another 3.5 seconds further adrift.

With the Ferrari well suited to the tight Hungaroring all weekend, Leclerc soon gained the DRS overtaking aid to bring the gap down and weld himself to the Mercedes gearbox.

Russell was forced to defend, squeezing the F1-75 to the outside line wherever possible to maximise the distance Leclerc had to travel at the difficult-to-pass Budapest venue.

Then on lap 31, Leclerc made it stick. Russell moved to the inside line into Turn 1 early to cover off the Ferrari but with DRS it tightly squeezed by into the braking zone for first.

Leclerc immediately pulled seven tenths on the Mercedes and doubled that gap over the rest of the lap, the advantage climbing to 2.8 seconds with Russel in third and Verstappen fourth.

Verstappen made a crucial stop on lap 39 for mediums and despite sparks flying from the right-rear corner, he was serviced in a rapid 2.4 seconds – encouraged with the radio message that “there’s still a long way to go”.

Verstappen came out in sixth as Russel made a second stop for mediums next time around, Leclerc then visiting the garage for an ill-fated set of the hardest-available C2 Pirelli tyre.

The Red Bulls having jumped Russell, the Ferrari returned in third behind Hamilton and Sainz on the slowest compound and struggled to generate temperature to leave him vulnerable.

Verstappen had DRS on Leclerc into Turn 1 to depose the Ferrari, the Dutch ace shrewdly opening his steering a fraction at the apex to force Leclerc to compromise his line further.

Getting back on the power, the Ferrari stepped out of line to let Verstappen romp away.

But Leclerc was given a second chance, despite blasting the state of the tyres. Verstappen tried to pick the power out of the penultimate Turn 13 but span the rears and rotated.

He caught the Red Bull in 360 degrees but not before the Ferrari had streaked back past, even if Perez limited the damage by blocking Russell and staying behind his teammate.

But come lap 43, Verstappen was back within a second of chief championship rival Leclerc and he cut his RB18 back through Turns 2 to retake the position down the hill into Turn 3.

Ferrari called Sainz in three laps later to relinquish the lead and a fumbled rear-left change onto softs meant he was held for a slow 4.6 seconds to give Hamilton a 6.4 seconds margin to Verstappen.

Hamilton finally made his second stop on the end of lap 51 for a switch to softs and came out in fifth, ten seconds down on Sainz as Russell usurped Leclerc – still struggling on the hard tyres.

The Ferrari broke loose through the final corner to give Russell an easy run for second over the line as Ferrari eventually aborted its strategy and was forced into an additional stop.

The soft tyres were bolted on but having led, he returned over 30s behind Verstappen.

With Verstappen managing the mediums to the flag, including a late VSC for Bottas stopping with power loss aboard his Alfa Romeo at turn 12, he streaked to an unlikely victory by 7.8 seconds.

The Mercedes were the next fastest cars in the final phase of the race, with soft-shod Hamilton able to depose Sainz on older tyres and then teammate Russell for second place.

Despite complaining his tyres had dropped off, Russell too had the legs on Sainz to nail consecutive 2-3 finishes for Mercedes as Perez inflicted more pain on Ferrari in fifth place.

Leclerc’s extra pitstop consigned him to sixth ahead of Norris, who switched to hard tyres to keep ahead of the one-stopping Alpines of Alonso and Ocon.

Vettel recovered from the early contact with Albon to score the final point in the updated Aston Martin ahead of teammate Lance Stroll, the Aston Martin having been turned around after contact with Ricciardo – the McLaren driver got a 5 seconds time penalty.

Pierre Gasly crossed the line in P12 from a pitlane start after exceeding the engine allocation limit with a Saturday night power unit change.

Zhou Guanyu led Mick Schumacher and the reprimanded Ricciardo, while Kevin Magnussen was left on a hiding to nothing in the sole upgraded Haas after an early switch to hards before stopping twice more.

Albon landed P17 ahead of FP3 pacesetter and Williams teammate Nicholas Latifi.

Yuki Tsunoda completed the finishers after spinning from P17 to the back through the turn 6-7 chicane, as Bottas was the sole driver to retire in the final race ahead of the summer break.

So yet again Ferrari were unable to take advantage despite a higher grid positions. The strategy call made by the Scuderia was awful especially running the hard compound for Charles Leclerc. Red Bull took this opportunity to come through from P10 and win thanks to superior race pace and Max Verstappen. The season now takes a summer break but will be back at the beautiful Spa-Francorchamps track next month.

Hungarian Grand Prix, race results:
1 Max Verstappen Red Bull 1:39:35.912
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes +7.834
3 George Russell Mercedes +12.337
4 Carlos Sainz Ferrari +14.579
5 Sergio Perez Red Bull +15.688
6 Charles Leclerc Ferrari +16.047
7 Lando Norris McLaren +78.300s
8 Fernando Alonso Alpine +1 lap
9 Esteban Ocon Alpine +1 lap
10 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin +1 lap
11 Lance Stroll Aston Martin +1 lap
12 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri +1 lap
13 Zhou Guanyu Alfa Romeo +1 lap
14 Mick Schumacher Haas +1 lap
15 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren +1 lap
16 Kevin Magnussen Haas +1 lap
17 Alexander Albon Williams +1 lap
18 Nicholas Latifi Williams +1 lap
19 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri +2 laps
20 Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo DNF

5 thoughts to “Verstappen extends championship lead with Hungary victory”

  1. Hungarian Grand Prix race review as reported by

    Max Verstappen won the 2022 Hungarian Grand Prix from P10 with pitch-perfect execution of Red Bull’s strategy, while Lewis Hamilton finished second ahead of his pole-sitting Mercedes team mate George Russell.

    Russell led on soft tyres and pitted on Lap 15, soft-shod Verstappen pitting from P5 a lap later to force Carlos Sainz to pit from the lead. Charles Leclerc meanwhile stayed out in the lead, extending his first stint until Lap 22. Russell led again but was passed by Sainz on Lap 31. So, from P4, Verstappen forced the issue with a second stop for mediums on Lap 39.

    Crucially, with that stop, Verstappen had pulled off an undercut on Sainz and had an advantage on Leclerc too, the Monegasque starting on mediums to swap for the same compound after a lengthy first stint – and from the lead pitting from hard tyres well after Verstappen. The Dutchman cleared his rival with ease soon after that and it became clear that hard tyres weren’t the answer; Leclerc falling to P6 as he switched again for softs while Verstappen won by 7.8s.

    And that was despite a 360-degree spin that almost cost Verstappen at the final corner and forced him to make another overtake on Leclerc.

    Hamilton started seventh on mediums, cleared the Alpines, pitted for mediums and stayed out long to ensure he could finish the race on softs, which ensured he could pass the likes of Sainz and then Russell to finish second.

    Having started on pole, Russell couldn’t convert that to a win, his soft-medium-medium strategy seeing him end up third ahead of Sainz, who was cost by slow pit stops to finish fourth behind the Mercedes. Sainz still held off Sergio Perez by a second, while Leclerc couldn’t use his soft tyres to pass Perez and ended up sixth behind the Red Bull on another disappointing day for the Scuderia.

    Lando Norris beat the Alpines to seventh, while Fernando Alonso finished P8 at the expense of team mate Esteban Ocon. Sebastian Vettel scrapped with Lance Stroll to lead his Canadian team mate for P10.

    Pierre Gasly took P12, comfortably ahead of 13th-place Zhou Guanyu. Mick Schumacher was next, while Daniel Ricciardo could only manage 15th thanks to a five-second penalty ahead of the other Haas of Kevin Magnussen – who was involved in a minor collision early on.

    Williams were next, Alex Albon finishing ahead of Nicholas Latifi in P17 and P18 respectively, while a spin saw Yuki Tsunoda finish 19th and last for AlphaTauri.

    Valtteri Bottas stopped five laps from the end to bring out a Virtual Safety Car and a last-place classification for the Alfa Romeo.

    Spots of rain threatened to add even more drama to a weekend that has already seen Nicholas Latifi lead a session, George Russell take his maiden pole position to keep the Ferraris of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz at bay – and then Max Verstappen qualify 10th ahead of team mate Sergio Perez.

    Meanwhile, Pierre Gasly would begin from the pit lane with a new power unit, something Red Bull also opted to fit for both drivers after their qualifying glitch, but, given special dispensation to do so by the FIA, neither Perez nor Verstappen took grid penalties.

    The drivers sported a range of Pirellis, Russell on used softs from pole, Lando Norris taking used softs from P4, his team mate Daniel Ricciardo following suit (from P9), along with Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez (new softs). Further down the top 10, Lance Stroll, Yuki Tsunoda, Alex Albon, Sebastian Vettel and Pierre Gasly would begin on new softs while the rest of the grid opted for new medium compounds.

    The lights went out to end the feverous anticipation, Russell holding off a charging Sainz, who tried to pry the lead around the outside of Turn 1 while Hamilton cleared the Alpines – Fernando Alonso baulking at Esteban Ocon squeezing him at Turn 1 – to go into fifth, Verstappen up to eighth and Perez ninth after Lap 1. The Virtual Safety Car was then deployed for collisions between Magnussen and Ricciardo and another between Vettel and Albon, but the caution was swiftly withdrawn to restart the race on Lap 3.

    Russell gained a jump on the Ferraris as the VSC withdrew, Hamilton tailing fourth-place Nroris, while Verstappen was badgering the Alpines of Ocon in P6 and Alonso in P7, Perez also giving chase. Alonso exclaimed that he was “much faster” than Ocon but on Lap 5 the two-time champion ran wide at Turn 3 and Verstappen swept by for P7.

    Verstappen made another move on Lap 7, prying P6 off Ocon and now it was reigning champion versus seven-time champion for P5, Perez behind using DRS and going round the outside of Turn 2 soon after for P8 at Alonso’s expense. Perez would wrestle seventh off Ocon two laps later to make it a Red Bull six-seven.

    Magnussen had made it into the fight for points but was forced to pit on Lap 7 after his early scrap with Ricciardo; the Alfa Romeos had fallen down the order with poor starts, Bottas 12th and Zhou Guanyu 16th.

    Russell’s gap to Sainz stood at around 2.5 seconds as the counter reached Lap 10 of 70 but the Mercedes driver had a set of soft tyres to nurse, as did Norris and the Red Bulls. Norris soon found himself creating a bottleneck with both Hamilton and Verstappen tailing him for that coveted fourth-place spot and a shot at the Scuderia.

    Hamilton enjoyed a superior run to Turn 1 on Lap 12 and went round the inside of Norris for P4, Verstappen going around the outside of the McLaren just after that to leave him sixth ahead of Perez – who would take that place off him with DRS one lap later.

    Verstappen began to complain, with some colourful language, that his clutch was slipping, and soon he would drop off Hamilton’s rear wing; Leclerc would ask his pit wall if Sainz could speed up. Indeed, Sainz was picking up the pace having cut the gap to 1.2s by the start of Lap 15, DRS his privilege one lap later when the call to box was given. Sainz skipped the pit entry and instead, it was Russell who stopped for mediums – Verstappen following – to emerge sixth at the start of Lap 17.

    Russell came out of the pits – his stop slightly slow – only to find Alonso trying to battle him around the outside of Turns 1-4, but the Mercedes just hung on.

    Sainz took his stop on Lap 17 but it wasn’t ideal either and he was released between the Alpines in P6, with Alonso and Verstappen behind him. Crucially, Sainz was now on the same tyre as Russell but with Ocon the obstacle between himself and the pole-sitter. Ocon was cleared with ease on Lap 19 (when Perez pitted and emerged 10th in traffic) and so Leclerc was in the lead, 11.5s ahead of Hamilton and another 7.5s ahead of Russell as the ticker reached Lap 20.

    Hamilton took the cue to stop from P2 on Lap 20, but with Verstappen lighting up the sectors, the Dutchman successfully managed to undercut the Mercedes that emerged in P7. The reigning champion was comfortably up the road in P5 having cleared Alonso just as Hamilton had stopped for another set of mediums, Verstappen taking another place off Ocon on the following tour.

    That new set of mediums not only gave Verstappen an undercut on Hamilton, plus two places off the Alpines, but the pace to threaten then-leader Leclerc, who was forced to cover off the Dutchman with a solid stop for mediums on Lap 22. That released Russell back into the lead, Leclerc emerging ahead of Sainz.

    Alpine’s strategy was contrarian: Alonso pitted for hards on Lap 22 while Ocon came in for the same compounds two laps later. Ocon emerged in battle with his team mate and Ricciardo then saw an opportunity, pouncing on the pair at Turn 3 to jump them and go 10th behind the yet-to-stop Alfa Romeos – while Alonso was left frustrated having failed to get past his team mate.

    To add insult to injury, Aston Martin’s Stroll would soon take P12 off Alonso, passing Ocon by Lap 30, as the Alpines began to struggle. Vettel compounded Alpine’s woes, picking off Alonso two laps later and then Ocon on Lap 39.

    Russell’s lead over Leclerc was dropping as the Monegasque driver turned up the pace and on Lap 27 the Ferrari was in DRS range of the Mercedes, having a look but declining not to pass into Turn 1. The following lap saw a more committed attempt to take the lead, but Russell held Leclerc off in a wheel-to-wheel skirmish on the downhill run to Turn 5.

    The battle continued, Russell going slightly wide at Turn 2 on Lap 29 but Leclerc declining not to try a move down the hill, instead trying that on Lap 30 – the Mercedes driver taking unconventional, wide lines to tempt the Ferrari before swooping into the apex to deny him the lead fairly but sternly.

    Leclerc kept his cool and the finally sent it on Lap 31, DRS giving Leclerc a run on the Mercedes and late braking giving Leclerc the lead around the outside of Turn 1. They say that when it rains, it pours, and Russell now had Sainz and Verstappen catching up to his rear wing – while numerous drivers began to report drizzle on their visors at the halfway mark.

    Sainz preyed on Russell’s Mercedes but could only hover around DRS range. But Leclerc proved his pace on the fresh set of mediums, extending to a 4.8-second lead by Lap 39. It was then that Verstappen broke the seal and went for an aggressive undercut strategy by pitting for another set of mediums, Leclerc reacting to pit for hards on Lap 40 and Russell changing to mediums a few seconds later.

    Verstappen’s undercut worked, the stop releasing him ahead of Russell and closer to the hard-shod Leclerc. Leclerc’s tyres were cold, and Verstappen was too; the Dutchman swept past the Ferrari down the inside of Turn 1 on Lap 41. Although Sainz was leading Hamilton, Verstappen had executed a brilliant strategy that potentially gave him the net lead of the race.

    At the penultimate corner, a puff of smoke signalled that all was not right as Verstappen got on the throttle and spun 360 degrees, putting him back behind Leclerc and allowing Russell a chance to overtake Verstappen at Turn 1. Russell couldn’t make the move, however, and Verstappen shrugged off his spin to pick the pace back up, closing back up to the rear wing of Leclerc and passing him once more at Turn 2 on Lap 45.

    Back at the front, Sainz and Hamilton were yet to take their second stops with Verstappen chipping away at a 12-second gap to the lead – and drivers still reporting light drizzle.

    Sainz chose to take his second stop on Lap 48 for softs, but the tyre change was slow and saw him emerge fifth ahead of Perez – who had stopped five laps prior. Yellow flags briefly flew as Stroll and Ricciardo pitted in tandem and collided in the fight for P11 at Turn 2, with the Australian receiving a five-second time penalty.

    With Sainz having taken his second stop, Hamilton was in the lead on Lap 51 – Verstappen just 3.5s behind. Leclerc, meanwhile, was third but only half a second ahead of Russell as the medium tyres seemed at this stage the superior option. Hamilton decided to pit at the end of that tour, diving in for a set of softs and emerging fifth ahead of Perez.

    With one Mercedes briefly stationary, the other was flying. Russell was right on the diffuser of Leclerc’s Ferrari in the fight for P3, and on Lap 54 he made the move for P2 with ease around the outside of Turn 1. Verstappen was eight seconds up the road, and Leclerc’s side reacted by pitting him for softs.

    Hamilton soon proved to be the fastest man on track, passing Sainz – both drivers on softs – at Turn 1 on Lap 63. Russell soon found himself in the clutches of his team mate and now we had an intra-team battle for P2 at Mercedes, Hamilton getting a better exit from Turn 1 on Lap 65 and prying the place away – team boss Toto Wolff watching on from the Mercedes garage.

    Bottas reported a loss of power on Lap 68 and the Virtual Safety Car was then deployed to slow the field, Verstappen leading ahead of Hamilton and Russell. The VSC was withdrawn in the middle of Lap 69, from where Verstappen comfortably led to win by nearly eight seconds. Perez was in the clutches of soft-shod Leclerc but the Ferrari driver couldn’t salvage P5 on the final lap, ending up three-tenths behind the Red Bull in P6.

    With Mercedes completing the podium in a mirror image of the top-three standings at Paul Ricard, Sainz finished fourth from second – one better than he had from P19 in France.

    Norris ended up seventh as the last driver on the lead lap, shrugging off a slow pit stop earlier on to overhaul both Alpines, Alonso having finished in eighth and well behind the McLaren, Alpine’s medium-to-hard one-stopper having failed to reap major reward.

    Stroll made it into the top 10 at Bottas’s expense on Lap 63 but the two Aston Martins then made contact – something they avoided on the last lap in France – with medium-shod Vettel soon passing his soft-shod team mate to take P10.

    Pierre Gasly managed to finish an anonymous P12 after his pit lane start, comfortably ahead of Zhou but well behind Stroll. Though Mick Schumacher was passed by Ricciardo early on, the German finished ahead of the Australian, thanks to his five-second time penalty for his earlier tangle with Stroll.

    Albon led Latifi, who said that his car was “all over the place, a disaster, literally”, with Yuki Tsunoda 19th and only ahead of the stationary Alfa Romeo of Bottas, thanks to a Lap 36 spin at the chicane.

    The rain stayed away but there was a cloud over Ferrari, who entered Hungary looking for a one-two finish yet were once again outscored by Mercedes, while Verstappen pulled off a highly unlikely win part in thanks to an ingenious Red Bull strategy.

  2. Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton “would’ve been in run for win” in Hungarian Grand Prix without qualifying issue. has the news story.

    Lewis Hamilton says he “would have been in the run for the win” at Formula 1’s Hungarian Grand Prix were it not for a DRS problem in qualifying.

    The Mercedes driver finished second in Sunday’s race, having lined up seventh after a DRS failure on his final Q3 lap scuppered his chances of matching teammate George Russell’s pole time.

    Russell finished third, with Verstappen taking victory despite having started 10th.

    The seven-time F1 world champion says though the cooler conditions on Sunday helped the team secure their second consecutive double podium, he could have taken victory were it not for his struggles on Saturday.

    Speaking after the race, he said: “I definitely think being a little bit cooler, it seemed to work a little bit better for us. I can’t tell you exactly why, but grateful for it.

    “I was hoping it was gonna rain at the end so I could challenge Max, but we ran out of laps.

    “So a bit of a better qualifying if the DRS was okay yesterday, we would have been in the run for the win.

    “But either way, two seconds in a row, I’m really, really happy. So huge thank you to the fans for all the amazing support.”

    Hamilton now sits sixth in the drivers’ standings, just 10 points shy of Carlos Sainz, while Mercedes is only 30 points behind Ferrari.

    Hamilton says he doesn’t know where the team’s speed came from on Sunday, but added: “I was definitely struggling at the beginning of the race and wasn’t sure whether I’d be able to catch the guys up.

    “But bit by bit got a bit more comfortable with the balance, had a really good start as well.

    “I really want to acknowledge my team who have continued to push, never give up through this tough year that we’ve had so far.

    “For us to be on the podium, both cars to be on the podium twice is pretty special for us. And really unlucky for George today. The other guys still have a bit of an edge.

    “But we’re clearly closing the gap. And this is just an amazing way to go into the break knowing that we have this performance.

    “Hopefully, we’ll bring some more into the second part of the season and start fighting with the guys up front.”

  3. Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc says he can’t understand the Scuderia’s strategy in Hungarian Grand Prix. has the news story.

    Charles Leclerc admitted using the hard tyre in Formula 1’s Hungarian Grand Prix was a “turning point” in the race and doesn’t understand why Ferrari put him on that rubber.

    Leclerc pitted from the lead at the end of lap 39 after completing just 17 laps on his medium compound, with Ferrari then hoping to get him to the end of lap 70 on Pirelli’s hardest tyre, despite seeing how Alpine duo Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso were struggling on that compound.

    The decision went against Leclerc’s wishes, who wanted to extend his middle stint on the mediums to then switch to the softs for the last stint.

    Instead, Leclerc also struggled on the hards to the extent that he had to come in again for softs, shuffling the Monegasque driver down to sixth at the finish.

    Leclerc said he couldn’t understand why Ferrari decided to bring him in early for hards after advising his crew against it.

    “I think the second stint should have been longer,” Leclerc said. “The first stint was the right moment to stop, and we did the right choice there. But on the second stint, I don’t know exactly why we did it shorter.

    “I made it clear that the medium I wanted to keep it as long as possible, but we pitted very early for the hard, which we need to understand why.

    “We had to pit [again] quite early, because [the] hard was just incredibly difficult.”

    Leclerc suspects Ferrari reacted to Max Verstappen’s second pitstop by bringing him in early, but says the Scuderia should have not responded to that and instead just followed its optimal strategy.

    “I’m pretty sure that this was his call to put us under the pressure, but I don’t think we should have maybe reacted to that,” Leclerc explained.

    “Because then it was a snowball effect to us, and we lost much more than what we should do.”

    Leclerc’s latest setback has now increased his gap to Hungary winner and championship leader Verstappen to 80 points going into the summer break, making the Dutchman the overwhelming favourite to seal the drivers’ title.

    When asked about what Ferrari’s latest gaffe means for his title hopes, Leclerc said the team can’t even be thinking about the championship before sorting out its mistakes.

    “Before thinking about the championship, to be honest, as a team we need to understand what we need to do to get better, because otherwise it’s going to be really difficult,” he admitted.

    “Obviously, a race like this is frustrating and we need to get better as a whole.

    “It always feels like there’s always something going on, whatever is, reliability, mistakes, whatever.

    “But we need to be better putting a weekend together. And yeah, we will try and use the few days that we have to reset, but obviously also to analyse and to understand what we can do to get better, because this is extremely important.”

  4. Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen explains 360º spin during “crazy” Hungary Formula 1 race. provides the details.

    Formula 1 world champion Max Verstappen says having to nurse the clutch on his Red Bull was behind his 360-degree spin during a “crazy” Hungarian Grand Prix, which he won from 10th on the grid.

    After an engine problem prevented Verstappen from setting a fast lap in qualifying, the Dutchman was set for a tough recovery race in Budapest.

    But 2022’s generation of cars showed they can even race on the twisty Hungaroring, and after a strong start, Verstappen continued to climb up the order to get ahead of the four Ferrari and Mercedes cars.

    Just after he passed Charles Leclerc for the lead on lap 42, Verstappen spun coming out of Turn 13, but with a clean 360-degree rotation he managed to continue without a significant time loss.

    The error cost him the lead to Leclerc, only for him to re-pass the Monegasque driver soon after on his way to a stunning win.

    Verstappen explained he had to nurse the clutch to prevent it from burning out, which he explained caught him out on Lap 42.

    “I was struggling a bit with the shifts and the clutch,” Verstappen said.

    “We had to change a few things around to basically not burn the clutch, and that cost a bit of performance.

    “I think that caught me out [coming] out of that corner, but luckily I could do a 360 so I lost one spot.”

    Verstappen, who said he was hoping to get near the podium at all from 10th on the grid, praised his team for getting all its strategy calls right as an intermittent drizzle made for tricky circumstances.

    “I was of course hoping that I could get close to a podium, but very tricky conditions out there,” he added.

    “But I think we had a really good strategy. We were really reactive and always pitting at the right time. I think we had some good out laps.

    “It was a crazy race. And of course, very happy that we won it. I was battling a lot of guys, so it was a lot of fun out there.”

    Verstappen’s world championship lead has now swelled to 80 points over Leclerc heading into the summer break, as his main title rival could only manage sixth despite starting from third.

  5. Ferrari has explained why it opted to put Charles Leclerc on hard tyres during Sunday’s Formula 1 Hungarian Grand Prix, sparking his fall from fighting for victory to finishing sixth.

    Leclerc started on medium compound tyres at the Hungaroring and spent the opening stint running third, only to jump teammate Carlos Sainz for second place by getting the overcut at the first round of pitstops.

    With a five-lap tyre delta, Leclerc managed to catch race leader George Russell and pass him for P1 before opening up a three-second gap at the head of the field.

    But when Ferrari brought Leclerc into the pits at the end of lap 39, the team decided to fit hard tyres that struggled to get up to temperature in the cold conditions.

    It led to Leclerc quickly being overtaken twice by title rival Max Verstappen, who had started 10th, before losing more and more time as the stint wore on. He was eventually brought in just 15 laps later for a third stop before ultimately finishing sixth.

    Ferrari F1 boss Mattia Binotto revealed the team’s simulations said that while the hards would be tricky to get up to temperature early on, they were predicted to be the better tyre for the final stint.

    “When we fitted the hard, our simulation was that it could have been a difficult couple of laps of warm-up,” Binotto explained.

    “It would have been slower to the medium for 10-11 laps, and then it would have come back and been faster than the end of the stint, and it was a 30-lap stint.

    “We were trying to protect position on Max. It would have been too long certainly for the softs. Yes, it would have been difficult at the start of the stint, but it would have come back by the end.”

    Leclerc said after the race that he wanted to hold on to the medium tyres for as long as possible, only to be called it for the hards. He was moved onto softs at his third stop, but could not catch the cars ahead.

    The P6 finish means Leclerc now sits 80 points behind Verstappen at the top of the drivers’ championship heading into the summer break.

    A number of drivers struggled with the hard tyres due to the unusually cool conditions during the race, including Alpine’s Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon, both of whom lost time during the early part of their stints.

    Asked if Ferrari had seen what Alpine’s hard tyre struggles and considered not pitting to cover Verstappen, Binotto replied: “Yes, we discussed it, so it’s not that [the strategy] is all written in stone.

    “During the race and looking at what’s going on, we have as well looked at what was happening with the other hard tyres.

    “We took all considerations, we discussed what would have been best and that’s the choice that we made. It certainly was not the right one today.”

    But Binotto stressed the bigger issue for Ferrari on Sunday was the car’s lack of pace compared to what it saw on Friday, when Leclerc had set the fastest time and impressed over the long runs.

    “It’s important to say that we believe that the car was not working as expected,” Binotto said.

    “We didn’t have the speed we were hoping for looking back at the Friday, and the pace we had in the race conditions on Friday. So today was certainly different conditions, a lot cooler.

    “But overall the speed today was not great enough, and whatever tyres we were using, I don’t think we were as good as we were looking for.”


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