Red Bull’s Max Verstappen has won the 2022 Hungarian Grand Prix, putting together a near-perfect race at the Hungaroring on Sunday evening AEST.

Despite starting the race at 10th on the grid, the 24-year-old put together a masterclass performance to extend his lead on the drivers’ standings ahead of the mid-season break.

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But the outcome could have been very different if not for Ferrari’s bizarre tyre strategy, which potentially robbed Charles Leclerc of a podium finish.

Leclerc was leading the race on Lap 40 when he and Mercedes driver George Russell entered the pit lane for a second tyre change.

But to everyone’s surprise, hard tyres were put on the 24-year-old Monegasque driver’s car.

Alpine drivers Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso had been struggling to find any pace on the hard tyres for several laps, so Ferrari’s strategy baffled many.

“Wow, that is brave considering how the hards are going for everyone else,” Sky Sports reporter Ted Kravitz said.

And less than two laps later, Leclerc was overtaken by Red Bull rival and championship leader Verstappen.

“F***, the tyres are ****,” Leclerc said on the team radio.

Leclerc was given a reprieve, however, with Verstappen spinning moments later and giving back the position, but it didn’t take long for the Dutchman to overtake him once again.

“(Leclerc) was struggling on the hard tyres,” Verstappen admitted after the win.

The Ferrari driver’s pace in the hard tyres was so bad that he was forced to pit again and change into soft tyres, emerging from the pit lane in sixth.

Sky Sports commentator David Croft said: “In a season where Ferrari have already cost themselves dearly in terms of reliability, in terms of accidents in terms of strategy… you can add the Hungarian Grand Prix to that list.”

Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and George Russell finished second and third respectively, while Australia’s Daniel Ricciardo placed 15th.

There were few scary moments throughout the race – AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda went for a spin on Lap 35, while Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas retired on the penultimate lap, forcing a late virtual safety car.

Rain also started falling on the track with a couple of minutes remaining, meaning Verstappen had to tip-toe his way towards the finish line.

But the reigning world champion kept his composure and got the job done, winning his eighth race of the season.

“I was at first hoping that I could get close to a podium, but very tricky conditions out there but we had a really good strategy,” Verstappen said.

“We were really reactive and always pitting at the right time, I thought we had some good out laps, and at the end – even with the 360 – we won the race.

“It was a crazy race and I’m of course very happy that we won it.” 

Hungarian Grand Prix Results

1) Max Verstappen, Red Bull

2) Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes

3) George Russell, Mercedes

4) Carlos Sainz, Ferrari

5) Sergio Perez, Red Bull

6) Charles Leclerc, Ferrari 

7) Lando Norris, McLaren

8) Fernando Alonso, Alpine

9) Esteban Ocon, Alpine 

10) Sebastian Vettel, Aston Martin 


Oh dear…

Daniel Ricciardo has been given a five-second penalty for causing a collision with Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll.

The Australian understeered on Turn 2 of the 48th lap, making contact with Stroll and spinning his rival.

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and Mercedes driver George Russell have both pitted, emerging in third and sixth respectively.

However, Leclerc has changed to the hard tyres, which other drivers have been struggling on the entire race.

“I think they have already lost the undercut with Sainz so it is the Monegasque who pits and it is the hard tyre,” Sky Sports reporter Ted Kravitz said.

“Wow, that is brave considering how the hards are going for everyone else.”

And less than two laps later, Leclerc was overtaken by Red Bull rival Max Verstappen.

“F***, the tyres are ****,” Leclerc said on the team radio.

The Monégasque star was given a reprieve, however, with Verstappen spinning moments later and giving back the position.

“He was a little bit wide and that has to be water on the track or something,” Sky Sports commentator Martin Brundle said.

“That was a really lazy little loop. That just easily looped around didn’t it, that is bizarre.”

And just to add to the drama, rain has started falling on the track.

Thankfully, the AlphaTauri driver is able to resume despite spinning on the track.

After a few thrilling laps, Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc has finally overtaken race leader George Russell.

Welcome back, Daniel Ricciardo.

The Australian was struggling down in 12th after an early pit stop, but managed to pull off a double overtake on both Alpine drivers in a matter of seconds.

While Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alondo were battling for position on Turn 2 of the 24th lap, Ricciardo caught the pair napping and swopped past them in one swift move.

Suddenly, the McLaren driver was back up in the points.

“Let’s f***ing go,” he yelled on the team radio.

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc has finally pitted, meaning Mercedes recruit George Russell has reclaimed the lead of the Hungarian Grand Prix.

Leclerc emerges from the pits in second, ahead of teammate Carlos Sainz.

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen is in fourth, with seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton emerging from the pits behind him in sixth.

Race leader George Russell has gone in for his first pit stop, as has Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and both McLaren drivers.

Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz pitted the following lap, emerging behind Russell. Teammate Charles Leclerc is now leading the race.

Everything is coming up Milhouse for the two Red Bull drivers today.

After yesterday’s horrific qualifying session, Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez have each made up four places, currently running in sixth and seventh respectively.

Verstappen is only about 2.5 seconds behind rival Lewis Hamilton.

“Verstappen now in P6, is on leading pace, flying along, and still only 10 seconds off the lead on a variable day,” Sky Sports commentator Martin Brundle said.

“So Verstappen still has a great chance of winning this Grand Prix, I have no doubt about that.”

It was a fantastic start for Mercedes driver George Russell, who managed to stay ahead of the two Ferrari cars coming out of the first corner.

Further back, Red Bull drivers Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez each made up two places, while Australia’s Daniel Ricciardo on the soft tyres slipped down to 11th.

But after some debris appeared on the track, stewards were forced to call for a virtual safety car late on the opening lap, with Alex Albon’s Williams sustaining some early damage following a collision with Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel.

However, the race resumed as normal on Lap 3.

The national anthem is done and dusted, and the drivers are making their way to the starting grid.

The Hungarian Grand Prix is 10 minutes away.

“It’s very close between a one or a two stop,” Sky Sport reporter Ted Kravitz said.

“Very, very close. With this wind and blustery conditions…you could get blown off the track on a one stop with hard tyres, so two stopping onto some sticky softs might be best.”

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