When a power issue landed Verstappen in P10 with Perez in P11, the Hungarian Grand Prix looked set for a comfortable double Ferrari podium. George Russell snatched his first pole position on the same circuit where he got his first points in F1.
The Hungarian Grand Prix showed that having the fastest car on the track isn’t enough – you need a winning strategy as well. Rallying through the field from 10th, Verstappen took the top step of the podium and goes into the summer break with an 80-point lead.
Rumour has it the Orange Army are still waving their Max Verstappen caps in Budapest. Can anyone stop Verstappen from a back-to-back championship win? We’re recapping everything you need to know about the 2022 Hungarian Grand Prix.
Verstappen’s Charge Through the Field
After strong practice sessions, Verstappen looked set for a front-row start. An unexpected power issue in Q3 saw him qualify in 10th. His Red Bull teammate, Sergio Perez, had struggled throughout the weekend and qualified in 11th place. Both drivers took new engines and started making overtakes right into the first corner.
Red Bull ran a strategy-focused race, calling for an aggressive early two-stop strategy. The strong undercut at the circuit allowed Verstappen to make his way quickly onto the podium places.
Verstappen’s pace advantage eventually allowed him to overtake Leclerc, do a 360 spin, and then regain the lead to win the race by over 8 seconds. The reigning World Champion now has an 80-point lead with 9 races left. Get your piece of F1 history with a Max Verstappen World Champion T-Shirt.
Ferrari’s Strategy Raises More Questions
The Hungarian Grand Prix brought more heartbreak for Ferrari. The requirement for two different tyre compounds saw Ferrari pit Leclerc onto hard tyres. It raised eyebrows as the tyre had already been shown to struggle on the circuit.
The power of the undercut gave Verstappen track position, and a late VSC stopped Carlos Sainz from closing the gap to take third place. It’s the latest example of poor strategy from F1’s most famous constructor.
Ferrari had an opportunity to capitalise on Red Bull’s misfortune but instead ended the race with both cars off the podium. Verstappen now has such a lead over Leclerc that he can afford to DNF 3 of the last 9 races and still win the title.
Leclerc finished 6th, behind Perez in 5th. It means Red Bull also collected more constructor’s points and continues to be ahead of Ferrari with almost a 100-point lead.
Mercedes Back on Form?
Is it too early to say that Mercedes is back? After struggling at the start of the season, Mercedes snatched its first pole position of the year. Although Russell was unable to convert pole into a win, both Mercedes drivers finished on the podium. It’s a back-to-back double podium for the team that can relax going into the summer break.
The grandstands in Budapest were full of special edition Lewis Hamilton caps and George Russell t-shirts. Hamilton has now stood on the podium more times this season than Charles Leclerc. If Mercedes continue their current run, they could finish ahead of Ferrari in both championships.
Elsewhere on the Grid
Lando Norris finished ahead of his Alpine rivals in 7th with Alonso and Ocon in 8th and 9th respectively. After announcing his retirement earlier in the week, Sebastian Vettel finished 10th. This season will be your last chance to get your hands on a Sebastian Vettel Driver Cap.
F1 is now officially on its ‘summer lockdown’. The summer break is when the teams stop working, and everyone (fans included!) gets a well-deserved break.
It’s the perfect time to treat yourself to the latest F1 merchandise as we gear up for the second half of the season with the Belgium Grand Prix at the end of August. Happy summer break!