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Max wins Hungarian GP from P10: 'Crazy race'

Published on 31 July 2022 by Kees-Jan Koster

Max Verstappen won in an impressive way the Hungarian Grand Prix. The reigning world champion started from P10 and carved his way through the field. Lewis Hamilton overtook his teammate during the last phase of the race and finished in P2. George Russell was not able to turn his first pole into a win. The Mercedes driver had to settle for third place. Carlos Sainz took fourth position and Max’ teammate at Oracle Red Bull Racing, Sergio Pérez, finished fifth.

“I did not think that this morning”, says Max after the race. “I was hoping to get close to a podium, but we had very tricky conditions out there. We had a really good strategy, really reactive, and always pitting at the right time. We had some good out laps and even with a 360 we won the race. I was battling a lot of guys, so it was a lot of fun out there. It was a crazy race, and I am very happy that we won it.”

The spin in lap 42 was the only mistake the Dutchman made today. He says about that: “I was struggling a bit with the shifts and the clutch, and we had to change a few bits around that to not burn the clutch. That cost a bit of performance and I think that caught me out in that corner. Luckily, I could do a 360 and only lost one spot. I was heating up the rear tyres”, says Max smiling.

The Dutchman is going into the summer break eighty points ahead in the lead of the championship. “We cannot complain”, says Max in a down-to-earth way. “I am someone who always wants to do better. There are many things we can do better. So, that is what we are going to think about this summer. Hopefully we can make that happen when we get back.”

The Dutchman starts the race on the Hungaroring from tenth position on the grid, because he suffered from engine issues the day before in Q3. Both RB18s have received a new power unit, this has not yet resulted in a grid penalty. It is a bit chilly around the circuit close to Budapest. A temperature of 18 degrees and a track temperature of 27 degrees. There are some threatening clouds around the circuit, but as of yet it is dry. George Russell does a good job defending his first position after the start of the race. After the opening phase of the race the top four has not changed. Russell leads the field, followed by Sainz, Charles Leclerc and Lando Norris. Max also has a good start, after two laps he has moved up to eighth position. In that same lap we get a virtual safety car because of some debris on track, coming from the car of Alexander Albon. He was hit by Sebastian Vettel in the opening lap of the race.

The virtual safety car ends quickly. After a small mistake from Fernando Alonso, Max can overtake the Spaniard in lap five. Two laps later he also overtakes Alonso’s teammate Esteban Ocon and moves into sixth position. Pérez can follow Max well and is also moving up, in lap ten he finds himself in seventh position after starting from eleventh on the grid. Hamilton is battling with Norris for fourth position, and that provides opportunities for Verstappen who is closing in on the two. Max overtakes Norris quickly. Unfortunately, his clutch slips and he cannot quickly overtake Hamilton.

In lap seventeen goes Russel from the lead into the pits for new tyres, he comes back out in sixth position. Verstappen also makes his pitstop and changes to a set of medium tyres, he comes back out on track in eighth position. Meanwhile the Ferraris change position, because of a slow stop from Sainz and a relatively quick pitstop from Leclerc, comes the Monegasque back out on track in from of his teammate. The top five is after the first round of pitstop formed by: Russell, Leclerc, Sainz, Verstappen and Hamilton.

The battle for the lead between Leclerc and Russell starts in all earnest in lap 28. The Brit is defending his position. Leclerc continues to increase the pressure and stays within DRS range. In lap 31 Leclerc manages to overtake the Mercedes driver on the outside of turn one, taking the lead of the race. One lap later Verstappen reports over the radio that it starts to rain a bit. But the rain does not seem to get heavier. Max comes into the pits in lap 39 for the second time for a new set of medium tyres. After a good pitstop of 2.4 seconds he comes back out on track behind his teammate in sixth position. Mercedes and Ferrari react immediately by pitting Russell and Leclerc. Russell comes out on medium tyres and Leclerc on hard.

The undercut works well for Verstappen and he overtakes Russell. Pérez lets his teammate quickly go by, after which Max starts his hunt for Leclerc. The Dutchman quickly gets closer to the Ferrari driver and takes the lead. Only for one lap as he loses control in turn thirteen. But after a spin of 360 degrees, he can continue his race, but must restart his hunt for Leclerc. He can quickly close in and regains the lead in lap 45. Russell also closes in on the Ferrari driver and he also overtakes him. Ferrari concludes that the hard tyres is not working and calls Leclerc back in to change for a set of soft tyres. He falls back into sixth position. With ten laps to go, the top five is formed by Verstappen, Russell, Sainz, Hamilton and Pérez.

Hamilton closes in quickly on Sainz and overtakes the Spaniard on the start-finish straight assisted by DRS. That means there are two Mercedes in podium positions. Hamilton overtakes his teammate for second position. Bottas’ car comes to a stop in lap 68 of 70. He parks his Alfa Romeo on the side of the track, and this causes another virtual safety car. In the last lap the virtual safety car ends, and the weather gods start to interfere. It starts to rain quite a bit, but this does not change any positions.

Verstappen takes victory on the Hungaroring, in front of 290,000 spectators. Hamilton finished second, and teammate Russell in third. Sains finishes his Ferrari in fourth position, with Pérez in fifth behind him. This ends the first half of the season, with Verstappen eighty points ahead in the lead of the championship.

Results Grand Prix Hungary:

1Max VerstappenVERRed Bull Racing RBPT701:39:35.9120
2Lewis HamiltonHAMMercedes70+7.834s0
3George RussellRUSMercedes70+12.337s0
4Carlos SainzSAIFerrari70+14.579s0
5Sergio PerezPERRed Bull Racing RBPT70+15.688s0
6Charles LeclercLECFerrari70+16.047s0
7Lando NorrisNORMcLaren Mercedes70+78.300s0
8Fernando AlonsoALOAlpine Renault69+1 lap0
9Esteban OconOCOAlpine Renault69+1 lap0
10Sebastian VettelVETAston Martin Mercedes69+1 lap0
11Lance StrollSTRAston Martin Mercedes69+1 lap0
12Pierre GaslyGASAlphaTauri RBPT69+1 lap0
13Zhou GuanyuZHOAlfa Romeo Ferrari69+1 lap0
14Mick SchumacherMSCHaas Ferrari69+1 lap0
15Daniel RicciardoRICMcLaren Mercedes69+1 lap0
16Kevin MagnussenMAGHaas Ferrari69+1 lap0
17Alexander AlbonALBWilliams Mercedes69+1 lap0
18Nicholas LatifiLATWilliams Mercedes69+1 lap0
19Yuki TsunodaTSUAlphaTauri RBPT68+2 laps0
20Valtteri BottasBOTAlfa Romeo Ferrari65DNF0