Hungarian GP

Hungarian GP: Verstappen wins from 10th as Ferrari strategy crumbles again

Max Verstappen won the 2022 Hungarian GP with Lewis Hamilton and George Russell taking the podium steps. Carlos Sainz finished 4th while teammate Charles Leclerc took home a disastrous P6 after a tire gamble meant he had to pit once more than his rivals.

Perez finished P5 after starting 11th on the grid, while Norris took the chequered at P7. The two Alpines finished P8 and P9 after they were plagued by the hard tire gamble as well. Sebastian Vettel, who announced his retirement on 28th July, grabbed the last points place with a controversial rear wing update on his Aston Martin.

Race Classification:

Hungarian GP

As it happened in the Hungarian GP:

George Russell took pole position after a staggering lap on Saturday, and got a perfect start at the Grand Prix. The Ferraris of Sainz and Leclerc started on the mediums with the Mercedes on softs, the scarlet cars having the better run down. Verstappen took back two places from 10th with teammate Perez right behind him.

Unlike 2021, turn 1 was a rather clean and tidy execution from every driver, with the only on track skirmishes happening were between the two Alpines and briefly between the two Red Bulls for the following few corners.

Alex Albon contracted some damage to his front wing end-plates, the debris of which brought out a Virtual Safety car. Right after the VSC period, Verstappen made his move on Alonso, who after a few corners worth of defending, yielded to the Dutchman. Shortly after, the number 1 driver overtook the other alpine of Esteban Ocon and was up to P6.

Hungarian GP

Around lap 15 of the Hungarian GP, it was getting close between Sainz and Russell for the lead as both Ferraris were now within DRS range of the Mercedes. Sainz was asked to pit, but it was Mercedes who took the dummy and brought in Russell. A lap later, Sainz pit for mediums but emerged behind Russell anyways as the overcut did not work. Leclerc pit 4 laps later, but exited before his teammate.

In the midst of all of these strategy battles, Daniel Ricciardo made a glistening move on the two Alpines in one corner for P10.

Hungarian GP

Leclerc was soon within the 1s DRS range of Russell and was on the hunt for the next few laps. A couple of excellent attempts later, the Ferrari driver managed to stick the move outside of turn 1.

Lap 44, and it was time for the 2nd and final round of pit stops. This is where Ferrari completely lost the race. The Alpines were already running the hards, and it was clearly visible that there was next to no pace on those tires, given the low temperatures and track conditions.

Hungarian GP

Leclerc, leading the race at that moment, put on a set of hard compound tires while Sainz was still out on his set of mediums. Russell followed with his set of mediums as well. Leclerc came out P3 ahead of a charging Verstappen in P4, already pit for his mediums.

Given the fact that Ferrari masterminds decided him to put on hard tires on dry-damp conditions, the F1-75 had absolutely no traction and pace. Thus Verstappen had no issues overtaking Leclerc into turn 1. But going into turn 3, the defending champion spun on wet grass, did a (showy) 360 and recovered his car. Leclerc snatched back his place but Verstappen again did not take long to take it back.

Hungarian GP
Verstappen’s 360 save

Sainz, in the meantime, pit from the lead and went on a set of soft tires on lap 48. Russell made the overtake on an incredibly slow Leclerc by lap 54. Having understood their blunder, Ferrari decided to pit Leclerc again for a set of soft tires for the final recovery stint. Inevitably, Leclerc came out on track in P6.

Hungarian GP
Ferrari’s pit-stop blunder

Verstappen had been leading the Hungarian GP because of the Ferrari pit stops, and was stretching his lead in front of the Mercedes. Sainz was running P3 while Hamilton was on the charge with way fresher tires. Lap 63 and the 7-time world champion made his move on Sainz with DRS along the main straight. Within a few laps, Hamilton was also in striking distance of Russell, and overtook him with relative ease a couple of laps later. Russell had a slower final stint with his tires, and was not able to defend appropriately.

Hungarian GP
Hamilton on Russell

Bottas reported a loss of power on lap 65, bringing out another VSC. Although that did not help Hamilton close in on Verstappen at all.

Max Verstappen took the chequered first in Hungary, winning from the farthest he has ever started. Lewis Hamilton added to his tally of 5 podiums in a row as Mercedes gather their 2nd double podium in two weeks. Incidentally, the Hungarian GP podium is the same as that of the French GP, except the Mercedes drivers have swapped positions.

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