Competition bites the dust as Verstappen takes easy win at the Hungaroring

By on

Qualifying set the scene for an interesting race but it was pretty much over after Turn 1 when Verstappen took the lead and quickly sprinted away, never to be seen again. Lando Norris finished second for McLaren as Sergio Perez gained 6 positions to complete the podium.

At the start of the race, track temperature was up to 50°C with ambient at 29°C, the hottest seen this weekend with zero chance of rain.

Of the top 10 all started on medium tyres except for Perez who had the hards on.

When the lights went out, Hamilton immediately tried to cover the inside of the corner but Verstappen had a slightly faster getaway and managed to take the lead by being on the inside in the first corner. Piastri meanwhile benefited from Verstappen's draft, held on to the apex in Turn 1 and moved up in second place while Norris made Hamilton lose another position 4 laps in.

The soft tyres seemed like a great advantage at the start with Sainz moving up 5 places into 6th, Stroll from 14th to 10th and Tsunoda up from 17th to 11th. Gasly meanwhile entered the pits and retired from the race. Zhou had a terrible start and then bumped into Ricciardo under braking at Turn 1, resulting in a coming together of both Alpines. Ocon returned to the pits at the end of lap 2 to end his race as well. Terrible luck for Alpine there! Zhou was later given a 10s time penalty for causing the collision at the start.

By lap 5 things had settled down and DRS was enabled. The top 6 were evently spread with 1 to 2 seconds between every car. Alonso though couldn't math the pace and had Perez breathing down his neck while Hulkenberg, stroll and Tsunoda all followed within a second of one another as well.

Perez eventually made it past Alonso on lap 7 and quickly left Alonso behind. The Spaniard went on the radio saying "I have to let him go, we will lose too much time. He doesn't understand". What the Spaniard probably didn't know was that Perez had less to worry about his tyres as he started on the more durable hard Pirelli compound tyres.

Lap 10 saw several soft runners pits at the same time. Zhou switched one lap later while Sainz told his team it was too early to make a switch yet.

When Perez joined up with Sainz, the Spaniard was pitted to take on a fresh set of hard tyres. He returned to the track in 10th place, 4 seconds behind Daniel Ricciardo. Hamilton, the McLarens and Leclerc pitted in the following laps with the latter losing precious time in the pitlane as his crew held him at standstill for 9.4 seconds. At McLaren Norris gained the advantage over Piastri over the stops.

At the end of lap 20 it was time for Alonso to pit, leaving the Red Bull duo and Russell as the last drivers to not have pitted. The stop dropped Alonso down into 11th, behind Stroll and Bottas.

Both Red Bulls pitted soon as well but Russell went on until lap 28 before going into the pitlane and get a set of fresh medium tyres. Verstappen easily held on to the lead while Perez started yet another uphill fight through the field.

The middle section of the race was mainly influenced by different tyre strategies. Verstappen easily extended his lead over Norris while Piastri followed his team mate at a pace that saw him drop back 0.3 to 0.5s per lap. Hamilton made it difficult for Perez until the Mexican pitted right at the same time as Piastri. A 1.9s stop for Perez immediately gained him a full second on the McLaren, reducing the gap to just 1.5s. Perez followed that up with two very quick laps and overtook Piastri for fourth round the outside of Turn 1 of lap 48.

Ferrari meanwhile also pitted their drivers. Leclerc first, followed by two purple sectors that saw the Monegasque appear ahead of Sainz once again after the latter stopped as well. Leclerc however was a little too optimistic into the pitlane and soon received a 5s time penalty for speeding in the pitlane. Alonso pitted at the same time, continuing approximately 8s behind the Ferraris.

Around lap 52 Hamilton and Verstappen were the last ones to pit. They both changed to used medium tyres. Verstappen used that to secure fastest lap, at the time 3 full seconds faster than Norris's lap. Hamilton meanwhile was much more on the pace and rapidly closed into the other McLaren of Piastri, taking back third fourth place on lap 56.

Hamilton continued to go strong on the mediums and closed in on Perez while the latter did not get any closer to Norris since lap 62. In the other Mercedes things also went reasonably well with Russell passing Sainz for 7th place. The Briton did ask his team to consider a pitstop due to the tyre dropoff but clearly they were still doing better than the hard tyres on Sainz's Ferrari.

Hamilton continued to put pressure on Perez and came ever closer, leaving just 1.7s between them as they went into the final lap. The gap further reduced but the race ended before any battling could occur.

This resulted in an absolutely dominating win for Max Verstappen, 33.7 seconds ahead of Norris. Sergio Perez finished third, 1.5 seconds ahead of pole sitter Lewis Hamilton. Oscar Piastri ended in 5th as Russell takes 6th place after application of Leclerc's 5s time penalty.


11Max VerstappenRed Bull Racing Honda Rbpt701:38:08.63426
24Lando NorrisMclaren Mercedes70+33.731s18
311Sergio PerezRed Bull Racing Honda Rbpt70+37.603s15
444Lewis HamiltonMercedes70+39.134s12
581Oscar PiastriMclaren Mercedes70+62.572s10
663George RussellMercedes70+65.825s8
716Charles LeclercFerrari70+70.317s6
855Carlos SainzFerrari70+71.073s4
914Fernando AlonsoAston Martin Aramco Mercedes70+75.709s2
1018Lance StrollAston Martin Aramco Mercedes69+1 lap1
1123Alexander AlbonWilliams Mercedes69+1 lap0
1277Valtteri BottasAlfa Romeo Ferrari69+1 lap0
133Daniel RicciardoAlphatauri Honda Rbpt69+1 lap0
1427Nico HulkenbergHaas Ferrari69+1 lap0
1522Yuki TsunodaAlphatauri Honda Rbpt69+1 lap0
1624Zhou GuanyuAlfa Romeo Ferrari69+1 lap0
1720Kevin MagnussenHaas Ferrari69+1 lap0
182Logan SargeantWilliams Mercedes67DNF0
NC31Esteban OconAlpine Renault2DNF0
NC10Pierre GaslyAlpine Renault1DNF0

Note - Verstappen scored an additional point for setting the fastest lap of the race.
Leclerc received a five-second time penalty for speeding in the pit lane.