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Verstappen triumphs after starting 10th

BUDAPEST, Hungary — Dutchman Max Verstappen shrugged off a loss of control and his worst starting position of the season to win the Hungarian Grand Prix on Sunday. With his eighth victory of the campaign, the Red Bull driver increased his lead at the top of the drivers’ standings to 80 points ahead of Charles Leclerc at Formula 1’s summer break.

Even though his lead continues to grow, Verstappen is taking nothing for granted.

“Of course it’s a big lead,” said the reigning world champion. But if you want to fight for the championship, you can’t afford to make mistakes. »

Mercedes saw its two drivers reach the podium in a second Grand Prix in a row. Seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton moved from seventh to second, while teammate George Russell, who started in the lead position, finished third.

Carlos Sainz took fourth after another disastrous day for Ferrari. Leclerc settled for sixth, behind Red Bull’s Sergio Perez.

Verstappen now has 28 career wins.

“Who would have thought when we woke up this morning that we would get this result? Incredible,” exclaimed Verstappen after the race, speaking to his team via the radio system.

“I had to fight a lot of riders and I had a lot of fun. It was a bit of a crazy race, but I kept my cool and we won,” he added.

Quebec driver Lance Stroll, of Aston Martin, settled for 11th place, just behind his teammate Sebastian Vettel. Ontario’s Nicholas Latifi of Williams finished in 18th place.

Verstappen had qualified in 10th place due to a mechanical problem on Saturday. He was able to afford a 360 on the track on Sunday.

Incredible Max, it’s one of your best performances. Fantastic,” replied Red Bull manager Christian Horner.

Russell spent 30 laps in the lead before being overtaken by Leclerc.

Good decisions at Red Bull lead to Verstappen triumph

Red Bull decided to send Verstappen to the pits for a second pit stop early and Ferrari responded by asking Leclerc to do the same. However, Verstappen put on the medium rubbers and Leclerc, the hard rubbers.

“These tires are (censored),” Leclerc said on the radio system.

He later explained that he believed the team made the wrong decision.

“I had been clear in saying that I wanted to continue on the mediums as long as possible, but we finally made an early stop for the hard compounds. I would like to understand why we did this. It was the turning point,” said Leclerc.

“Before thinking about the championship, we have to think about what we have to do best as a team. Otherwise, it will be very difficult,” he added.

Verstappen quickly edged Leclerc on lap 41, before losing control of his car at the end of the same lap, spinning a full 360 degrees. The Dutchman, however, overtook Leclerc again two laps later.

“The conditions weren’t obvious, but the strategy was the right one,” said Verstappen. We did well, making the saves at the right time. Even despite my 360, we won. »

Leclerc returned to the pits on lap 55 to replace his hard tires with soft ones, but the damage was done.

Ferrari seems unable not to shoot itself in the foot. Leclerc eluded possible wins at Monaco and Silverstone after questionable tactical decisions. He was also the author of his own misfortune by finishing the French Grand Prix inside the safety wall after making a mistake while in the lead.

“It always looks like there’s something going on, whether it’s reliability, mistakes, whatever,” admitted Leclerc, visibly frustrated.

Ferrari’s strategy in Budapest even raised eyebrows at Verstappen.

“I think Ferrari didn’t make the right tire choice,” he said. They were very fast, but it was not the right decision to go with hard tires (for Leclerc). »

Sainz stayed on the track longer than his teammate in the middle of the race and opted for the soft tyres. However, he was unable to move up the field like Hamilton did with the same tactic.

“To have both cars on the podium again is very special for us,” said Hamilton. Hopefully we can build on that when we come back from the break and really challenge the leading teams. »

Russell recalled that not so long ago Mercedes were unable to keep pace with Red Bull.

“We were finishing a minute late, now we’re talking about 10 seconds,” he noted.

Verstappen said he was happy with Mercedes’ resurgence.

“It’s good to have competition,” he said. They may well continue to steal points from Ferrari! »

The F1 circus will be back in action from August 26-28 for the Belgian Grand Prix.

General classification of the Hungarian Grand Prix :

1. Max Verstappen (NED / Red Bull) the 306.630 km in 1 h 39:35.912

2. Lewis Hamilton (GBR/Mercedes) at 7.834

3. George Russell (GBR/Mercedes) at 12.337

4. Carlos Sainz Jr. (ESP/Ferrari) at 14.579

5. Sergio Pérez (MEX/Red Bull) at 15.688

6. Charles Leclerc (MON/Ferrari) at 16.047

7. Lando Norris (GBR/McLaren-Mercedes) at 1:18.300

8. Fernando Alonso (ESP / Alpine-Renault) 1 lap away

9. Esteban Ocon (FRA / Alpine-Renault) 1 lap away

10.Sebastian Vettel (GER/Aston Martin-Mercedes) 1 lap

11.Lance Stroll (CAN/Aston Martin-Mercedes) 1 lap away

12.Pierre Gasly (FRA / AlphaTauri-Red Bull) at 1 lap

13. Zhou Guanyu (CHN / Alfa Romeo) 1 lap

14.Mick Schumacher (GER/Haas-Ferrari) 1 lap

15.Daniel Ricciardo (AUS/McLaren-Mercedes) 1 lap*

16. Kevin Magnussen (DEN / Haas-Ferrari) 1 lap

17.Alexander Albon (THA/Williams-Mercedes) 1 lap

18.Nicholas Latifi (CAN/Williams-Mercedes) 1 lap

19. Yuki Tsunoda (JPN / AlphaTauri-Red Bull) 2 laps

20.Valtteri Bottas (FIN / Alfa Romeo) 5 laps

*Two five-second penalties for pushing another driver off the track (Leclerc)

Best lap in race : Lewis Hamilton (GBR / Mercedes) 1:21.386 on lap 57 (average: 260.580 km/h)

Abandonment :

Valtteri Bottas (FIN / Alfa Romeo): engine lap 66 (classified)

Ranking of drivers :

1. Max Verstappen (NED) 258 pts

2. Charles Leclerc (MON) 178

3. Sergio Perez (MEX) 173

4. George Russell (GBR) 158

5. Carlos Sainz Jr. (ESP) 156

6. Lewis Hamilton (GBR) 146

7. Lando Norris (GBR) 76

8. Esteban Ocon (FRA) 58

9. Valtteri Bottas (END) 46

10. Fernando Alonso (ESP) 41

11. Kevin Magnussen (DEN) 22

12. Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) 19

13. Pierre Gasly (FRA) 16

14. Sebastian Vettel (GER) 16

15. Mick Schumacher (GER) 12

16. Yuki Tsunoda (JPN) 11

17. Zhou Guanyu (CHN) 5

18. Lance Stroll (CAN) 4

19. Alexander Albon (THA) 3

20. Nicholas Latifi (CAN) 0

21. Nico Hulkenberg (GER) 0

Ranking of builders :

1. Red Bull 431 pts

2.Ferrari 334

3.Mercedes 304

4. Alpine-Renault 99

5. McLaren-Mercedes 95

6.Alfa Romeo 51

7. Haas-Ferrari 34

8. AlphaTauri-Red Bull 27

9. Aston Martin-Mercedes 20

10. Williams-Mercedes 3

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