Hungarian GP: Max Verstappen goes from tenth to victory ahead of Mercedes, Charles Leclerc only sixth

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Max Verstappen still overtakes Charles Leclerc who continues to struggle with hard tires

Max Verstappen still overtakes Charles Leclerc who continues to struggle with hard tires

Max Verstappen produced a stunning comeback from tenth on the grid to win the Hungarian Grand Prix and increase his title advantage over Charles Leclerc after another miserable Sunday for the Ferrari driver.

In a gripping race where three teams were vying for victory, Verstappen reacted to his reliability-compromised qualifying with impressive pace and superior Red Bull strategy, and won by seven seconds from Lewis Hamilton and poleman George Russell. while Mercedes celebrated another double podium in the inevitable absence of Ferrari.

Leclerc was the victim of Ferrari’s most questionable pit stop calls and would eventually finish a measly sixth, meaning Verstappen has an 80-point lead in the title ahead of the F1 summer break.

Max Verstappen crosses the line to secure a brilliant win from 10th on the grid with Lewis Hamilton finishing second!

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Max Verstappen crosses the line to secure a brilliant win from 10th on the grid with Lewis Hamilton finishing second!

Max Verstappen crosses the line to secure a brilliant win from 10th on the grid with Lewis Hamilton finishing second!

It was another victory that slipped through Leclerc’s fingers.

The Monegasque started third and after bypassing team-mate Carlos Sainz, put an end to Russell’s credible stamina for the lead on lap 31, at which point he looked ready to bounce back from the Paul Ricard crash to take a win for the championship.

But trying to respond to Verstappen’s pace, Ferrari put Leclerc on hard rubber and left him a sitting duck for Red Bull and indeed other rivals. Verstappen would have passed Leclerc twice – before and after a nervous header in slippery conditions – to essentially seal his victory with 25 laps to go.

Anthony Davidson is at the SkyPad to analyze Charles Leclerc's strategy problems that led him to finish sixth at the Hungarian Grand Prix.

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Anthony Davidson is at the SkyPad to analyze Charles Leclerc’s strategy problems that led him to finish sixth at the Hungarian Grand Prix.

Anthony Davidson is at the SkyPad to analyze Charles Leclerc’s strategy problems that led him to finish sixth at the Hungarian Grand Prix.

Leclerc called the strategy a “disaster” and would stop again to finish behind Sergio Perez, who was the only Red Bull, Mercedes or Ferrari driver not to keep the lead at some point.

Sainz finished fourth, like Russell, was overtaken by Hamilton in the final stages while the seven-time world champion flew on soft tires.

George Russell is unable to hold back Lewis Hamilton for long, who is now in second position in the Hungarian GP.

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George Russell is unable to hold back Lewis Hamilton for long, who is now in second position in the Hungarian GP.

George Russell is unable to hold back Lewis Hamilton for long, who is now in second position in the Hungarian GP.

Lando Norris failed to maintain his starting position in fourth, but did well to keep the Alpines at bay for seventh, with McLaren teammate Daniel Ricciardo a disappointing 15th and a penalty for a crash. by Lance Stroll.

Race result of the Hungarian GP: Top 10
1) Max Verstappen, Red Bull
2) Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes
3) George Russell, Mercedes
4) Carlos Sainz, Ferrari
5) Sergio Perez, Red Bull
6) Charles Leclerc, Ferrari
7) Lando Norris, McLaren
8) Fernando Alonso, Alpine
9) Esteban Ocon, Alpine
10) Sebastian Vettel, Aston Martin

How Verstappen ripped the field to win in Hungary

Three places lost for Leclerc, nine places earned for Verstappen … and an 80-point lead in the title. The Hungarian GP produced another huge change in championship momentum, and potentially decisive.

Despite the drizzle just before the lights went out, Verstappen got off to a great start from 10th to seventh in the first lap, and once the air was clear he was up to the pace of the leading cars, Russell, Sainz and Leclerc.

He easily eliminated the Alpine troops and ousted Hamilton.

Max Verstappen spins and Charles Leclerc rushes to get back in front of the Dutchman

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Max Verstappen spins and Charles Leclerc rushes to get back in front of the Dutchman

Max Verstappen spins and Charles Leclerc rushes to get back in front of the Dutchman

But Leclerc also had a dizzying pace once ahead of Sainz and produced the overtaking of the day to get around the outside of Russell’s Mercedes at turn one just before the middle of the stage. He then opened a five second lead.

Verstappen’s second stop, however, seemed to scare Ferrari off and rather respond with their second Sainz car, stopping Leclerc.

Having used only medium tires so far and with over 20 laps remaining, the hard tires were fitted – which were by far the slowest available on Sunday – and Verstappen, on the mids, was quickly on target.

Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen both overtake Lando Norris on lap 12.

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Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen both overtake Lando Norris on lap 12.

Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen both overtake Lando Norris on lap 12.

The world champion overtook Leclerc with DRS on lap 41, before returning that spot on the next lap with a spin at turn 13, which almost opened the doors to Russell.

Instead, Verstappen regained his cool and came back ahead of Leclerc on lap 45.

This put him in the clear lead and once Hamilton had his final stop all Verstappen had to do was manage the pace and even a slight downpour in the final stages couldn’t rain on his save.

George Russell overtakes Charles Leclerc and is in second position as things go from bad to worse for Ferrari.

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George Russell overtakes Charles Leclerc and is in second position as things go from bad to worse for Ferrari.

George Russell overtakes Charles Leclerc and is in second position as things go from bad to worse for Ferrari.

As for Ferrari and Leclerc, the team said they were surprised by the lack of pace in the tough sessions, while Leclerc called the strategy a “disaster”. In any case, he would have returned to the pits for the soft, to return to sixth place.

“We will talk about it within the team,” Leclerc said, with Ferrari facing yet another investigation in this battle for the title.

Just as Red Bull benefited from Ferrari’s struggles, so did Mercedes, who once again impressed on race day.

Charles Leclerc says the team's decision to put him on hard tires was a disaster.

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Charles Leclerc says the team’s decision to put him on hard tires was a disaster.

Charles Leclerc says the team’s decision to put him on hard tires was a disaster.

Russell started on the soft and fought well from pole, with Mercedes consistently responding to Ferrari and Verstappen’s strategy, while Hamilton played the long game, ending his stint with a furious soft stint.

This saw him deftly overtake both Sainz and his late teammate.

Lewis Hamilton is feeling really excited about the second half of the season after finishing second and having the pace to compete with Ferrari.

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Lewis Hamilton is feeling really excited about the second half of the season after finishing second and having the pace to compete with Ferrari.

Lewis Hamilton is feeling really excited about the second half of the season after finishing second and having the pace to compete with Ferrari.

What are the prospects for F1 2022?

The sport now begins a four-week summer break before the Belgian GP on 28 August. The race at the iconic Spa-Francorchamps kicks off a triple European header with Zandvoort and Monza.

Each race is live and exclusive on Sky Sports F1.

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