Nothing seems to be able to hinder Max Verstappen in his quest for a second Formula 1 (F1) world championship title. Yet left in 10e position on the starting grid, the Dutch driver of Red Bull won the Hungarian Grand Prix on Sunday July 31, after a wild comeback. He is ahead of the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton and George Russell.
By signing his second success in a row, the twenty-eighth of his career at the age of 24, Max Verstappen is going on a quiet summer vacation. He will return on August 28 to the Belgian Grand Prix, at Spa-Francorchamps, with an 80-point lead over his runner-up in the championship, Charles Leclerc (6e à Hungaroring).
The Ferrari team, at the 2e et 3e places at the start with Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc, got tangled up again in his strategy. The many mistakes made by the Italian team, race after race, weighed down Charles Leclerc’s hopes of catching up on Max Verstappen.
In Hungary, the choice to put on “hard” tires at 40e lap (out of 70) was incomprehensible and above all disastrous for the rest of the race. However, the Alpine of Fernando Alonso, struggling with these same tires for a few laps, should have dissuaded Ferrari from trying this strategy. Charles Leclerc, then leading the Grand Prix, lost his rhythm and his ambitions.
Verstappen’s ultimately inconsequential mistake
The Monegasque was quickly overtaken by Max Verstappen. A first time at 41e lap, a second time four laps later when he was back behind after a spin from the Dutchman, ultimately without consequence. “I don’t have the explanation, I don’t really know what to saycommented, annoyed, Charles Leclerc at the microphone of Canal +. We’ll have to look again. It’s difficult. It was carnage, we stopped five, six laps later [pour rechanger de pneus]. »
Max Verstappen spun 😱 He was very very hot not to get off the track 🥵 #HungarianGP 🇭🇺 | ▶️… https://t.co/6JN0VXjiVD
In the end, Charles Leclerc finished 6e and conceded 17 points on the reigning world champion, after having to abandon last Sunday, at the Grand Prix de France. “After a while, you can’t hope to win the championship if you do races like that. We have to improve”continued the Ferrari driver.
For its part, Mercedes has confirmed its renewal. Like last weekend, Lewis Hamilton and George Russell took the 2e et 3e squares. The latter, who started from pole position for the first time in his career, had just lost the lead in the race to Leclerc, at 30e round. Russell is still chasing after his first success in the premier class but allows, with Hamilton, to come back on the heels of Ferrari in the constructors’ standings (304 points against 334 for the Italian team). Red Bull is still well ahead with 431 points.
The summer is likely to be eventful for Ferrari and Charles Leclerc, who now sees Sergio Perez (Red Bull) in his rear view mirror, only five points behind in the driver standings, thanks to his 5e place of the day, behind Carlos Sainz (Ferrari).