Max Verstappen climbs through the field to win at Hungary

Max Verstappen extends his championship lead with his win at the Hungaroring, but it didn’t come easy. Engine trouble in qualifying relegated him to a tenth place starting position at a track that’s notoriously difficult to pass, but the world champion overcame that and a mid-race spin to stand on the top step of the podium.

“Who would have thought when we woke up today we’d get this result?” said Max to his team. “Amazing!”

“I was of course hoping I could get close to the podium,” he added, “but very tricky conditions out there. But we had a really good strategy, we were really reactive and always pitting at the right at time, I think we had some good out-laps and at the end even with 360, we won the race!”

Lewis Hamilton also climbed through the field, finishing second after starting the day in seventh with car issues in qualifying. It’s a favorite track for the British driver, and leading several laps throughout the race earned him another record in the sport: the most laps led at a single track.

“We’ve had a tough year and for both cars to be on the podium is an amazing way to go into the break,” Hamilton said. “The other guys have an edge, but we are clearly closing the gap. Hopefully, we can bring some more into the second half of the season and start fighting with them.”

Despite starting from the pole, Hamilton’s Mercedes teammate George Russell ended up third, completing a Mercedes double-podium. Hamilton ended up with preferential tires in the closing stages and got past his teammate. However, he doesn’t regret Mercedes’ reaction to the possibility of rain that ultimately never materialized.

“I think we did everything right for all the right reasons,” he said. “That’s racing, you can’t pre-empt every single scenario. We did everything right as a team, it was going to go one way or another and so it easily could have gone our way if the rain had stayed with us for let’s say 10 more minutes at the start.”

“Nevertheless,” he added, “pole position, P3, a lot to be proud of.”

With the threat of rain looming throughout the race, teams made unexpected strategy calls. Ferrari pitted Leclerc to put on medium tires, something Pirelli warned against, and he was quickly passed by Verstappen with considerably less grip from his tires.

“A race like this is frustrating and we need to get better as a whole,” said Leclerc. “It always feels like there is something going on, whether it is reliability or mistakes, so we need to get better at putting a weekend together. We were strong, we probably had the pace to win, but eventually we didn’t and there are reasons for it.”

Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz and the second Red Bull driver Sergio Perez rounded out the top five as Leclerc ended up in sixth, ahead of McLaren driver Lando Norris.

1 1 Max Verstappen RED BULL RACING RBPT 70 1:39:35.912 25
2 44 Lewis Hamilton MERCEDES 70 +7.834s 19
3 63 George Russell MERCEDES 70 +12.337s 15
4 55 Carlos Sainz FERRARI 70 +14.579s 12
5 11 Sergio Perez RED BULL RACING RBPT 70 +15.688s 10
6 16 Charles Leclerc FERRARI 70 +16.047s 8
7 4 Lando Norris MCLAREN MERCEDES 70 +78.300s 6
8 14 Fernando Alonso ALPINE RENAULT 69 +1 lap 4
9 31 Esteban Ocon ALPINE RENAULT 69 +1 lap 2
10 5 Sebastian Vettel ASTON MARTIN ARAMCO MERCEDES 69 +1 lap 1
11 18 Lance Stroll ASTON MARTIN ARAMCO MERCEDES 69 +1 lap 0
12 10 Pierre Gasly ALPHATAURI RBPT 69 +1 lap 0
13 24 Zhou Guanyu ALFA ROMEO FERRARI 69 +1 lap 0
14 47 Mick Schumacher HAAS FERRARI 69 +1 lap 0
15 3 Daniel Ricciardo MCLAREN MERCEDES 69 +1 lap 0
16 20 Kevin Magnussen HAAS FERRARI 69 +1 lap 0
17 23 Alexander Albon WILLIAMS MERCEDES 69 +1 lap 0
18 6 Nicholas Latifi WILLIAMS MERCEDES 69 +1 lap 0
19 22 Yuki Tsunoda ALPHATAURI RBPT 68 +2 laps 0
20 77 Valtteri Bottas ALFA ROMEO FERRARI 65 DNF 0
Owen Johnson