Verstappen cruises to win as Red Bull set record

Hungarian Grand Prix start
Lewis Hamilton, who was on pole, dropped to fourth at the start

Max Verstappen’s dominant victory at the Hungarian Grand Prix set a wins record for his Red Bull team.

The Dutchman’s seventh victory in a row and ninth of the season was Red Bull’s 12th consecutive win, dating back to the final race of 2022 in Abu Dhabi.

The achievement broke the record of 11 straight wins set by McLaren with Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost in 1988.

McLaren’s Lando Norris fended off a threat from Red Bull’s Sergio Perez to take second place.

Lewis Hamilton, who had started from pole position, closed on Perez in the final laps but was not able to attempt an overtake and had to settle for fourth.

Hamilton win hopes over by first corner

Verstappen’s run of five consecutive pole positions was ended by Hamilton on Saturday, who took his first pole since 2021.

The seven-time champion always felt he would struggle to challenge the Red Bull given its strong race pace, but any hopes Hamilton might have had of mounting a challenge were gone within a few seconds of the start.

A better getaway by the Red Bull driver had Verstappen alongside the Mercedes on the inside on the run to the first corner.

Verstappen claimed the lead as they turned in, and motored away into a race of his own at the front. His win moves him into a 110-point championship lead over Perez.

Hamilton’s attempts to hold on to the lead by squeezing Verstappen tight to the inside cost him two further positions, as the McLarens of Oscar Piastri and Norris also passed him and demoted him to fourth place.

Piastri swept around the outside of the corner to take second place ahead of his team-mate, but their positions were reversed at the first pit stops when McLaren stopped Norris first and gave him the chance to use his fresh tyres to ‘undercut’ ahead of the Australian.

Norris was unable to challenge Verstappen, who was in another league, as he has been for most of the season. But he had the measure of Piastri and Hamilton and was left in the closing laps to fend off a charge from the second Red Bull of Perez.

The Mexican recovered from his disappointing ninth place on the grid using an off-set strategy – starting on the hard tyre rather than the medium used by all the cars ahead of him – and progressively picked off the cars ahead of him.

Perez edged closer and closer to Norris in the final 10 laps but after getting to about three seconds behind, the McLaren began to pull away again in the closing laps.

Perez began to slip back towards Hamilton, but the Mercedes was still 1.5secs behind at the flag.

Norris gets better of team-mate Piastri

Hamilton was unable to keep pace with the McLarens in the first part of the race, but Mercedes put him back into the fight by extending his first two stints so that he had fresher tyres at the end.

Soon after stopping, Hamilton caught Piastri and moved into fourth place, but that was as far as he could go.

Piastri had sounded mildly peeved about losing out to Norris over the radio after their first stops – it is conventional practice in F1 for the leading driver to be given pit-stop priority – but once behind Norris, the Australian dropped back from his team-mate over the second stint.

Perez passed Piastri with a move around the outside of the first corner on lap 47, and shrugged off an attempt by the McLaren driver to reclaim the position around the outside of Turn Two.

The McLaren then fell into the clutches of Hamilton, who closed in after his pit stop on lap 49 and took fourth place with 12 of the 70 laps to go.

Russell recovers as Alpines eliminated at start

Alpines of Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly collide at first corner
Both Alpines also retired at the British Grand Prix two weeks ago

Hamilton’s team-mate George Russell drove a strong race from 18th on the grid, his poor starting position caused by the team releasing him into traffic for his final attempt in the first part of qualifying, to finish sixth.

Russell finished seventh on the road, but moved ahead of Charles Leclerc because the Ferrari driver was given a five-second penalty for speeding in the pit lane.

It was the final insult of a difficult day for Leclerc, who had been dropped behind team-mate Carlos Sainz by a problem fitting a wheel at his first pit stop.

Leclerc soon caught Sainz, but Ferrari rejected his pleas to be let past, despite the driver arguing it was compromising his and their race, and left him behind the Spaniard for 16 laps.

They finally reversed their positions by pitting Leclerc first at their second stops, but the time lost meant that he was vulnerable to Russell’s late charge, converting what could have been a sixth place for Ferrari into a seventh.

Behind Sainz, Fernando Alonso was ninth for Aston Martin, confirmation that the surprise package of the start of the season has fallen behind a number of rivals.

Alonso still retains third place in the championship but is now just six points ahead of Hamilton.

The Spaniard’s team-mate Lance Stroll took the final point in 10th place.

The Alfa Romeos of Zhou Guanyu and Valtteri Bottas, who had surprised by qualifying fifth and seventh, lost their positions immediately, when bad starts dropped both out of the top 10.

Bottas ended up 12th, behind the Williams of Alex Albon. Daniel Ricciardo, punted from behind by Zhou at the first corner, a move which triggered a chain reaction that took out both Alpines, recovered from last place to finish 13th for Alpha Tauri on his return to F1.

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