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Max Verstappen

Verstappen charges to victory in action-packed Hungarian GP

Max Verstappen beat Lewis Hamilton and George Russell to win the Hungarian Grand Prix, with title rival Charles Leclerc back in sixth position.

Verstappen Russell
Article
To news overview © XPBimages

Max Verstappen extended his lead in the 2022 F1 standings with victory in Hungary, after Charles Leclerc's chances were undone by a questionable strategy call.

Verstappen started the race back in 10th position after technical issues in qualifying but he expertly worked his way through the field to put himself in contention for the win.

A bold undercut at his second pit-stop helped Verstappen get ahead of both pole-sitter George Russell and Leclerc, with a subsequent spin only briefly halting his charge.

While Russell and Verstappen opted for another set of Medium tyres at this stage, Leclerc swapped to Hards and, such was his decline in pace, Ferrari brought him in again for Softs.

Hamilton had already taken on the softest compound on his way to P2, behind Verstappen, with Russell converting his eye-catching qualifying display into a podium.

Sainz – who mirrored Hamilton's strategy – took fourth, followed by Sergio Perez and Leclerc.

A late shower had threatened to turn the race on its head, but Verstappen kept his car on the track to make it to the chequered flag and claim his eighth win of the season.

Result Race - Hungarian

Pos. Driver Team Time
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Russell bolts clear at the start as rain threatens

Spits of rain ahead of the start gave drivers and teams something to think about, but it was nowhere near significant enough to send the field onto Intermediate tyres.

Russell opted for the Soft compound rubber in a bid to maintain his pole position advantage off the line, while the Ferrari drivers went for Mediums.

As the lights went out, Russell made a clean getaway to hold P1, before fending off Sainz – who tried to go around the outside of the first corner – with some firm defensive driving.

After some more rain drops, the weather passed and drivers settled into a rhythm, with attention turning to how the various strategies would unfold.

Russell gradually built up a two-second buffer over Sainz during the early laps, while Leclerc put in a message to the Ferrari pit wall to ask his teammate to pick up the pace.

Following an apparent dummy radio call for Sainz, Russell was the first of the front-runners to pit, swapping his Softs for Mediums on Lap 16 of 70.

Crucially, Russell just managed to keep Fernando Alonso at bay with some smart car placement between Turns 2 and 3, giving him a little bit of clear air to play with.

Sainz and Ferrari reacted a lap later, putting on another set of Mediums, with Leclerc – having taken the lead – opting to extend his first stint by four more laps.

As the first round of pit-stops played out, Russell maintained P1, while Leclerc conveniently got the jump on Sainz with the overcut.

Leclerc hits trouble, Verstappen moves back into play

Russell held a similarly solid margin over the Ferraris at the start of the second stint, with Verstappen looming in fourth after making up plenty of lost ground.

Leclerc then started to apply pressure on Russell with a series of fastest laps on his slightly fresher rubber, getting into DRS range and threatening an overtake.

Following a couple of failed attempts, Leclerc duly seized the lead on Lap 31 with a decisive move on the outside under braking for Turn 1, taking up the inside line as he aggressively cut across the front of Russell's car.

Shortly afterwards, Verstappen triggered a flurry of pit lane activity as he boxed on Lap 39 for a fresh set of Softs and an undercut attempt – following on from an early first stop.

When Russell and Leclerc reacted a lap later, the move initially paid off handsomely, with Verstappen clearing the pair in quick succession.

Having passed Russell in the stops, Verstappen rapidly closed on Leclerc (who switched to Hards, rather than Mediums) and breezed past him into Turn 1.

Just a few moments later, Verstappen undid his hard work with a spin exiting the penultimate corner, handing track position back to title rival Leclerc.

But with Leclerc still struggling on his Hards, prompting a sweary radio message, Verstappen reclaimed the place on Lap 45 with an easy pass between Turns 1 and 2.

And, when Sainz and Hamilton made their second stops for Soft tyres several laps later, it was Verstappen who led the way heading into the closing stages.

			© XPBimages
	© XPBimages

A mad dash to the flag as different strategies unfold

With just under 20 laps to go, and a mixture of strategies at play, Verstappen held the lead from Leclerc and Russell, who embarked on another scrap.

Russell got his own back on Leclerc with a move around the outside of Turn 1 on Lap 54, with the difference between the Medium and Hard rubber clear to see.

Leclerc then pitted for a third time to bolt on Softs, with Sainz and Hamilton lighting up the timing screens on the red-marked compound.

Verstappen managed to keep his old Medium tyres alive thereafter and, despite rain threatening, an eighth win of the season was his.

Hamilton won the battle for P2 after late passes on Sainz and teammate Russell at Turn 1, with the latter securing another double podium for Mercedes.

Perez took fifth in the other Red Bull, with Leclerc having to settle for sixth – and taking another blow in the title race – after his strategic drama.

Lando Norris was a lonely seventh for McLaren, followed by squabbling Alpine pair Alonso and Esteban Ocon, with Sebastian Vettel beating Aston Martin teammate Lance Stroll to the final point on offer.

Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren) had featured inside the top 10 early on, but a five-second penalty for a clash with Stroll at Turn 2 hampered his efforts.

Stroll was also involved in a collision with Alex Albon at the start, with damage to the latter's Williams bringing out the Virtual Safety Car.

The VSC made another appearance in the closing stages when Valtteri Bottas became the only retirement of the race.

At this point, drops of rain turned into a mini shower, but it was not enough to have an impact on the results.

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F1 2022 Hungarian Grand Prix RN365 News dossier

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