Hamilton & Mercedes outsmart Verstappen & Red Bull
Polesitter Max Verstappen, on worn tires against Mercedes ace Lewis Hamilton on softer and newer tires, was a sitting duck as Hamilton blew past with three laps to go to win the Hungarian GP in Budapest in an exciting finish for F1 before the summer break.
Verstappen started on pole and led for most of the race, but was out-done by some brilliant thinking from his rivals.
It was the 7th Hungarian GP win for Hamilton as Mercedes brought Hamilton in for a 2nd pitstop for fresh tires while Red Bull left Verstappen out to try and make it to the end on one stop but the Dutchman eventually ran out of tires and had to pit late after being passed.
It was the 81st F1 win for Hamilton, putting him just 10 wins behind Michael Schumacher's record of 92.
Meanwhile, the hapless Ferrari team under Mathias Binotto are so bad they were nearly lapped by the leaders with Sebastian Vettel passing Charles Leclerc with two laps to go to get the final podium position.
Carlos Sainz continued his sensational run of form with a brilliant fifth for McLaren, albeit it one lap down, ahead of Red Bull's Pierre Gasly and Alfa Romeo's Kimi Raikkonen. Bottas, who was forced to pit early on for a new nose after contact with Hamilton and Leclerc, recovered to eighth, with McLaren's Lando Norris and Toro Rosso's Alexander Albon completing the top 10.
More to follow.....
Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport
Valtteri Bottas (8th): "That was a tough day and not what I expected. Far from it. The first lap was a bit messy, I had a lock-up at Turn 1 which was my mistake. I was trying to brake as late and as hard as I could, but I locked the front-right and picked up a flat-spot. That caused a bit of understeer and then obviously I had the contact with Charles, which broke the front wing. We had to stop early as a result and that really compromised my race, as I came out in traffic and lost a lot of time. I tried everything I could, but it was really tough to overtake. At least I got some points but we'll analyze what happened and learn from it."
Andrew Shovlin: "A fantastic win and a great way to finish for the summer break. The race didn't start the way we'd hoped. Valtteri suffered front wing damage when Charles cut across him at turn three. We couldn't really run for long in that condition without risk of a bigger issue so we decided to stop for hard tires and a new wing but from that point on, it was just a case of salvaging what we could with Valtteri. There's no way we would have managed to take the Hard tires to the end of the race with Valtteri so we converted to see if we could overtake on fresher rubber. It was a shame not to have recovered more with Valtteri, but this is such a difficult track to try and recover positions on. We had more decisions to make with Lewis and the race against Verstappen was made more difficult by only having one car at the front. In the first stint there wasn't really an opportunity to get by but keeping at Max's pace was not too difficult and Lewis was able to keep his tires in good condition. By staying close we managed to force them into stopping earlier than they would have liked and that ultimately created the opportunity to go for the two-stop. We weren't sure whether it would work or not; it's always a bit of a gamble but we thought there was a risk of them running out of tires and it did at least prevent Max from being able to manage his tires as he might have liked. Lewis did a great job in the final stint, to pull back a full pitstop gap is never easy but he managed it brilliantly and made a really nice clean overtake. This hasn't been the easiest pair of back to back races, Hockenheim was really tough on the team but it's great for everyone to be able to go into the summer break with a win."
Charles Leclerc (4th): "Arriving in Hungary we knew it would be a tough race for us, and it was. The beginning of the first stint wasn't bad, but as the race progressed, I started to struggle with my rear tires more and more and could not match the pace of our competitors. My target now is to understand how to improve this, especially over long runs and on circuits where the degradation is high. I look forward to returning to racing after the break so that we can continue working on making further improvements and give our competitors a good challenge."
Mattia Binotto, Team Principal: "We can't take satisfaction from today's result, when what was mainly to blame was a lack of aero downforce, which at the moment penalizes us even more in the race than in qualifying. The hot conditions did not help and actually caused us more problems in terms of reduced grip levels. Sebastian did a good job of managing the tires in the first stint, thus lengthening it, which meant he could fit the softs and run with them to the checkered flag. However, we have to understand why Charles' tires wore so much and fix for the coming races. We pitted him, as his rears were very used and there was nothing else we could do. From a track on which we knew we would struggle, we still head home with the same number of points of our closer rivals. Next week we will continue to work on analyzing data and preparing for the next two races in Spa and Monza, however, before then we have the summer break which will be good for the entire team, that has really worked so hard over the past few months."
Aston Martin Red Bull Racing
Pierre Gasly (6th): "It was a difficult race right from the beginning. We had a poor start which didn't make life easy, and after that I just tried to attack as much as I could but I was sliding everywhere and struggling with grip. I was in a bit of a sandwich in Turn 1, then I was quite close with Kimi in Turn 2 so I lost a lot of time at the start which didn't help my race. The weekend started pretty well and Friday was good, we were happy with FP1 and FP2, but from Saturday I have just struggled for grip. We finished the race P6 and scored some points but for sure it was not the amount we wanted. It's good for everyone to have a break now and switch off. I will relax and review the first half of the season, I will look at what went well and what could have been better so I come back sharper and stronger for the second half and make sure we score more points."
Christian Horner, Sporting Director: "It was frustrating the way that things panned out today. Max did everything we asked of him, he made the start and controlled the race in the opening laps. We needed to pit earlier to cover Lewis, who pitted six laps later and Mercedes had great pace today. They pushed, pushed, pushed and we were able to protect and defend. Max and Lewis were so far ahead of the field with 22 laps to go that Mercedes rolled the strategic dice and pitted Lewis for new medium tires. If we had pitted to cover we would have conceded track position so our bed was made to get to the end of the race. Congratulations to Mercedes and Lewis today, they were able to get the lead with three or four laps to go, at which point we had nothing to lose but bolt on a new set of softs and take the fastest lap. With Pierre, he lost places on the first lap but was able to recover through strategy back up to P6. Second and sixth position feels slightly frustrating on a day that promised more but nonetheless we achieved P2, pole position and fastest lap. Max has closed the gap to Valtteri in the Drivers' Championship and the whole Team now heads into a well-earned summer break with real performance on the car in the last few races."
Renault Sport Formula One Team
Nico Hulkenberg (12th): "It was a difficult afternoon for us today. We struggled with the car, with an engine control issue from the beginning of the race, which meant I lost consistently three tenths a lap. That made things tricky and we just didn't have the pace to progress into the points. It's a good time for a break. As a team we will regroup, think a few things over because we need to up our game in the second part of the season."
Daniel Ricciardo (14th): "It was always going to be tough starting at the back of the grid, but there were some positive moments. We made the Hard tires last well and then had good pace on the Soft tire towards the end. It was frustrating not to get past Magnussen. I felt he was moving under braking, and I couldn't do anything. I wasn't happy about that as we could have progressed even further at the end. There are some positives and the summer break will be good for us. We'll reset, take some time off, we know we're in it together and we'll be targeting a better second-half of the season."
Cyril Abiteboul, Managing Director: "A poor result today with both cars outside of the top 10. With Nico we were targeting points, but with an engine having to run in safe mode and a very modest advantage over the Soft tire starters, we could not make our strategy really work. Daniel ran a good race, but starting last is always going to be a challenge at a track like Budapest. He still managed to gain several positions and had a good fight with Magnussen until the last corner, showing that he is a fighter who does not surrender. His attitude on track must be an inspiration for us as we head towards the summer break, with a first half of the season well below our objectives."
Rich Energy Haas F1 Team
Kevin Magnussen (13th): "The car was okay in the race today, not too bad at least, for our level. Considering the problems we've had this year, it was pretty quick race pace – not good race pace, but compared to ourselves in the past. I'm happy we're headed into the summer break now, we all are in the team, everyone's ready for the break. We'll come back stronger."
Romain Grosjean (DNF, Water Pressure): "I was happy with the beginning of the race. The car felt okay on softs, I was holding everyone behind. That's something we knew from the race pace and I was happy with that. Then we fitted the hard tire, which we hadn't really run over the weekend, and I think today you didn't want to be on the hard tire. There was no grip and it was impossible to warm them up. Ultimately we had a water pressure issue and had to retire the car anyway."
Guenther Steiner, Team Principal: "It was a pretty tough race for us. In the end though we showed some fight with some other midfield teams. A lot is in these tires, which makes these races so unpredictable, and weird almost. Kevin (Magnussen) put up a good fight, and unfortunately Romain's (Grosjean) tires just died on him, then we had an issue with his water pressure. At the end, it's a difficult situation to be, in dealing with these tires and getting them to work. We will keep on trying until something changes."
McLaren F1 Team
Carlos Sainz (5th): "Yes! This time, P5 tastes much better than the P5 of seven days ago. We executed the race perfectly. We had a great start, great pace and, in a fairly normal race, we managed to score a top-five finish. Holding Gasly behind in the second stint was intense, but I controlled the pace to counter-attack any opportunity he had to get closer and managed to finish ahead of a Red Bull on pure pace. I really want to thank and congratulate every single member of the team, here and back at the factory. I think these first dozen races show how much progress we've made this season, and we now need to keep digging. The ambition is to get closer and closer. Everyone can be proud of how things are going and the consistency we're achieving. To keep learning in the second half of the season is important to try to build a better car for next year and take another step. Now it's time to recharge the batteries and come back even stronger. Thank you team, enjoy a well-deserved summer break!"
Lando Norris (9th): "A good start, where I came up to a lot of the guys ahead, which was good. I got past Gasly straight away but I knew Carlos was somewhere on the inside, so I played it safe and gave him plenty of space. With hindsight, I think I could've stayed ahead but I didn't want to take the risk. P7 in the first stint was alright, following Carlos the whole way. Then we did our pit-stop and I think the left rear was a bit slow. We lost all of our positions there, basically. The pace was good but the Mercedes was a bit quicker at the end. Apart from that it was an alright race."
Andreas Seidl, Team Principal: "It's been another very strong weekend for the team. It was a very impressive drive from Carlos after a great start. He kept Gasly behind him all through the second part of the race and didn't miss a beat to secure P5. Lando was unlucky. He was set up for a higher finish before a problem with the left-rear wheel gun cost him two positions in the pit-stop and left him exposed to Bottas at the end. Very hard work over the last month – both at the track and back at the MTC – is paying off. We were clearly the fourth-fastest team, and scoring another 12 vital points locks us into fourth place in the Constructors' Championship. Every single member of the team can take heart from that going into the summer break. The next job is for everyone to recharge their batteries and come back even stronger in Spa."
Racing Point F1 Team
Sergio Perez (11th): "I think today was definitely a race of which we can be proud. We did a fantastic race - a good start, great first lap, very aggressive strategy to undercut two cars and then pushing to the limit all the way through. Right at the end Albon came up behind me quickly and we made contact, which damaged my suspension. I was really struggling in the last three or four laps - it was a challenge just to finish in P11. We were expecting a difficult race, but we were in the fight for a point until the very end – unfortunately we just didn't get it. We gave it everything out there, so I'm happy with that. Hopefully the second half of the season will be more promising for us."
Lance Stroll (17th): "There's not much to say about this weekend, which is a shame. I had a bad start and didn't make up any ground on the first lap, which is so important here at the Hungaroring. I was stuck behind the Williams of Russell for the whole race so that pretty much sums up my afternoon. We knew this track was going to be difficult for us – because of our car characteristics – plus it's not easy to overtake here. That's why it was a frustrating race. We will use the break to regroup and come back fighting in Belgium: a track that should be much more suited to our car."
Otmar Szafnauer, Chief Operating Officer: "It was always going to be hard work considering our starting positions, but we gave it everything and came close to scoring a point with Sergio. The move from Albon was very firm and there was significant contact involved, which affected Sergio's car late in the race. For Lance, we had to react to the cars around us early on, which forced a pit stop earlier than anticipated. We had to react to Giovinazzi pitting, but Russell pitted on the same lap as Lance and we remained stuck behind him. We moved to a two-stop race to see if we could make the fresh tires work for us in the final part of the race, but ultimately we ran out of laps. It's disappointing to leave Budapest empty-handed, but we will come back refreshed after the break, determined to have a much stronger second half of the season."
Alfa Romeo Racing
Kimi Raikkonen (7th): "Well, that was quite good. The car behaved great, I did a good job in the first lap and stayed out of trouble and then we had even better speed than the McLaren, but it was impossible to overtake. We lost one position at the pit stop but also gained one, so that's a bit of a shame, but overall I can't be too disappointed. I'll take the points and move on. Look forward to spending the summer break with my family, but I'm also happy for all the people in the team, as they work incredibly hard and deserve some time off."
Antonio Giovinazzi (18th): "It was a very disappointing race for me today. I had contact on the opening lap, when I was squeezed between two cars at turn one, and I had an issue with my first set of tires that meant I had to cut my first stint much shorter than we were planning. It was a shame to end the first part of the season like this, especially because we had shown good pace in recent races, but it was another day in which we didn't manage to turn our potential into points. At least we have some holidays now – a chance to hit reset during the summer break and come back to do much better in the second part of the season. The first half of my season hasn't been ideal, but I can take heart from the improvement we had. It's been a rollercoaster but I'll keep working hard to improve."
Frederic Vasseur, Team Principal: "It's been very much a race of two halves for the team. Kimi did really well to drive a clean race and resist pressure from Bottas in the last few laps. Seventh was all we could hope for today so we can be satisfied with these points. As for Antonio, starting in P17 meant he was always going to struggle on this track, and an issue with his first set of tires meant he didn't get the chance to make any progress in the race."
Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda
Alexander Albon (10th): "I had quite a good race today. My first stint was average, and I didn't feel very comfortable with the Medium tires, it felt like I had almost no grip at all, but once I went onto the Hard tires the car came alive again. I had two nice fights with Dany, the first one was much closer than the second one! It was good fun and it was fair racing. I think P10 was the best we could achieve today, so we have to be pleased. Now I've got time to relax a bit, review the season so far and understand where I need to improve to be ready for the second half of the year."
Daniil Kvyat (15th): "It was an interesting race and I think it could have been a good day, but unfortunately, we pitted too early and my tires hit the cliff with around 15 laps to go. Once you hit the cliff it's game over, so the strategy didn't work out for us today. It was a nice battle with Alex when we were both on the same tires, I managed to overtake him and it was very good fun, but after that in the last few laps when my tires were completely gone it wasn't enjoyable anymore. Having said that, I'm quite happy with the way I drove and I got everything I could out of the car. It's just a shame we weren't able to bring home the points."
Franz Tost, Team Principal: "Today we had another very exciting Formula 1 race in front of a big crowd with so many fans who came to Budapest, which shows how much interest the fans have for Formula 1. We didn't show very good pace from the beginning of the weekend onwards, so we started the race from P12 and P13. However, during the race our performance was quite good, but we probably called Daniil in for the pit stop a bit too early and, as a consequence, in the final few laps he suffered with his tires like a few other drivers around him. Despite this, he still drove a very good race. As for Alex, we called him in seven laps later than Daniil and this helped him to attack at the end of the race, which allowed him to overtake Perez and score a point. It was fantastic to see how Daniil and Alex raced each other - we didn't want to give any order from the pit wall and we decided to let them race - this is what people want to see from the grandstands and on TV. They fought each other fairly and it was good racing. I think this was the maximum result we could achieve today, so we have to work very hard to close the gap to our direct competitors and I think we will achieve this in the second half of the season. Thanks to the whole team, the complete working group, for the big effort they put in the first half of the year. Now we will have two weeks of holidays to come back with fully charged batteries for the rest of the season."
Toyoharu Tanabe, Honda F1 Technical Director: "Alex produced a strong race from 12th on the grid to get a valuable point. Given the team's performance over the whole weekend, realistically this was the best result we could expect. Although we have the summer break, we do have a few more days of work and we will be pushing as hard as ever, in order to improve over the remaining races this season."
ROKiT Williams Racing
George Russell (16th): "Yesterday definitely exceeded expectations, so it was a little bit back to reality today. I had a good first lap and made up two positions on Magnussen and Kvyat at turn four and five, which was pretty fun. It was nice to be racing other drivers. We've still got work to do but there are a lot of positives to take from this weekend. We've made a good step forward."
Robert Kubica (19th): "The race was as expected. We had to manage the tires to get to the end with a one-stop strategy. The feeling wasn't great in the car, similar to yesterday. After the break we have completely different tracks, we will have to wait and see if we are able to close the gap, like George was able to do here. It is amazing to see how many people from Poland came here. I would like to thank them for the great atmosphere and hope that they go home with good memories, as I will do."
Dave Robson, Senior Race Engineer: "The lack of high fuel running earlier in the weekend, and the warmer conditions today meant that the optimum strategy wasn't completely clear. Indeed, the battle at the front between Max and Lewis shows how close the strategies were. We opted to complete an aggressive one-stop strategy, pitting George to cover the Alfa Romeo and allowing him to race Stroll to the end. Robert had a slightly shorter final stint but had to contend with multiple blue flags. Both drivers managed their tires well, with George able to hold Stroll off on much newer tires. We still need to work on the car pace, but we have seen some improvements this weekend and we can now enjoy the shutdown period before returning to tackle the very different challenges offered by Spa and Monza."
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