F1: Max Verstappen wins the Hungarian Grand Prix with Lewis Hamilton on the podium

Max Verstappen won the Hungarian Grand Prix after another Ferrari strategy blunder cost Charles Leclerc a possible victory.

Verstappen crossed the line 7.8 seconds clear of Lewis Hamilton, after a late surge from the seven-time world champion, with George Russell third. Leclerc finished sixth and now trails Verstappen by 80 points heading into the sport’s summer break.

After overcoming 30 laps of poleman Russell’s resistance to take the lead with a brilliant move around the outside of the Mercedes at Turn 1, Leclerc looked on course to take the checkered flag. But the Monegasque afternoon was ruined – and his championship hopes dealt an almost irreversible blow – when Ferrari opted to field their star driver on the harder rubber.

From the fastest man on the track, Leclerc was suddenly out of speed and was swallowed up by Verstappen, who started 10th, at the start of the 40th lap. .

But such was the lack of pace in a strategy rejected by tire supplier Pirelli, Verstappen was behind the Ferrari, pulling away from his beleaguered rival at turn two five laps later. From there, Verstappen’s eighth victory in his championship defense never looked in danger, with a second title in as many years looking increasingly likely.

Ferrari pitted Charles Leclerc for hard tyres, ruining his race

(Getty Images)

The opening half of Sunday’s race was dominated by Russell, who quickly raced away from his marks 24 hours after claiming his first career pole. Carlos Sainz, who started second, threw Russell’s Mercedes gearbox out of the first corner, but Russell showed great composure to keep the Ferrari man at bay, pulling 2.4 seconds clear after just three laps.

Sainz and Leclerc began to bring Russell back, but after the first round of stops, Russell’s lead remained at two seconds. By now, Leclerc had passed Sainz and was the fastest man in Hungary. A look of resignation appeared on the face of Mercedes boss Toto Wolff and, even with Russell’s stoic resistance, Leclerc took his man on lap 30.

Despite the threat of rain, that seemed to be the case for Leclerc, only for Ferrari to make a strange strategic move. Leclerc crashed out while driving at last weekend’s French Grand Prix, but it was his team’s fault here as he was forced to stop for tires once again by his rivals.

Lewis Hamilton fought hard to claim second place, while George Russell did well to also earn a podium place

(AFP via Getty Images)

He is now three wins behind Verstappen with nine rounds to go after the sport was shut down for a month. Hamilton started seventh but moved up to fifth after passing both Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso at the start.

For long periods of the race, Hamilton was out of contention but, after adopting a different strategy to those around him, the race came to the British driver in the closing stages.

With 19 laps to go, Hamilton was leading when he pitted for the softer tyre. He left the pits in fifth place but passed Sainz with seven laps to go and then moved ahead of team-mate Russell with five to run, finishing the race with the fastest lap. Sainz crossed the line in fourth place, one place ahead of Verstappen’s Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez.

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