Formula 1 in Hungary: Hamilton takes the late win - Sport
- In the race in Hungary, Lewis Hamilton succeeds because shortly before the end competitor Max Verstappen overtakes.
- Also Sebastian Vettel shows again a good race - he is third.
With an incredible final spurt Lewis Hamilton prevented the next victory gala of Max Verstappen in Formula 1. At the end of the Hungarian Grand Prix on Sunday, the Briton scored just under 20 seconds behind in a nerve-wracking duel and took the Dutchman away from Budapest in the Red Bull. In the 67th lap, the five-time world champion in the Mercedes passed the desperately struggling Verstappen, his eighth win of the season was perfect thanks to smart tire strategy. Deposed third was Sebastian Vettel, who after all, still displaced his Ferrari team-mate Charles Leclerc from the podium in the last few kilometers.
In the World Cup classification, however, Hamilton further expanded his lead over the long-standing challengers. With now 250 points, the Briton is 62 points away on his teammate Valtteri Bottas in the four-week summer break, the Finn was only eighth after a start collision. Verstappen, who narrowly missed his third victory in four races after the first pole position of his career, is 70 points behind. Vettel are already missing a whopping 94 points to defending champion Hamilton.
After last three thrilling performances, the fans were also offered in the Puszta a thriller in the last race before the break. Most recently, the racing series in Hockenheim had listed a rain classic in which Verstappen furiously raced to victory and Vettel was still in second place from starting position 20. Both wanted to use this momentum also in Hungary. By contrast, after the disaster at the home race with Mercedes ninth place for Hamilton and the accident-off Bottas had to make up for a lot.
But shortly after the start there was the next stroke of the neck for the Silver Arrows. In the fight for second place behind Polesetter Verstappen Hamilton squashed past Teammate Bottas tough, it came to the brief touch of both cars. Shortly thereafter, Ferrari youngster Leclerc touched the front wing on the Mercedes of the Finn during overtaking, parts splintered. However, the race director saw no reason to intervene.
Bottas then had to let pass Vettel and came after five laps for unplanned pit stop. With a new nose on the car, the 29-year-old returned last on the track. A bitter prelude to the man from Nastola, whose future the team leadership will decide by the end of August. At the top, meanwhile, developed a duel between Verstappen and Hamilton, who set themselves with a series of fast laps of the two Ferrari pursuers. The gap between Leclerc and Vettel grew from round to round. "We're going to plan B with both cars," the command post of the Scuderia radioed to Vettel. On the winding track, the Ferrari once again could not exploit their horsepower advantage and lost the top duo quickly out of sight. Until the end
Between Verstappen and Hamilton it became meanwhile increasingly close. The Brit came close to a second to the leading Red Bull pilots. Verstappen let the box know more and more urgently of his tire problems: "I'll say it again, I lose liability." Only the tacticians were in demand. Mercedes hesitated to stop Hamilton, Verstappen came to the garage after 25 laps of fresh rubber rollers. Now Hamilton was leading, but on the old tire he could not get enough lead for his stop. "I can not go faster, man," the five-time world champion told his race engineer.
When Hamilton went into the pits after 32 laps and his mechanics did not work as fast as usual, Verstappen was back in the lead. With anger in his stomach Hamilton drove the gap surprisingly fast again. In lap 39, the defending champion attacked, was even briefly over, but then came next to the track. "What else can I do?" Hamilton asked angrily. His hunt went on. The Mercedes strategists resorted to a tactic gimmick, ordered the champion once again to the pits for fresh tires. The hope: Hamilton would appear at the end of the race again behind Verstappen - and go by with the tire advantage. And this idea ignited. Hamilton caught up quickly, Verstappen could not counter and was beaten at the end.