Hungarian Grand Prix: Verstappen wins for record-breaking Red Bull as Hamilton dream fades

Michelle Foster
Max Verstappen overtakes Lewis Hamilton. Hungary July 2023

Red Bull driver Max Verstappen overtakes Lewis Hamilton. Hungary July 2023

Max Verstappen made short work of his former nemesis Lewis Hamilton to set up Red Bull’s record-breaking 12th successive win, the Dutchman taking the chequered flag ahead of Lando Norris at the Hungarian Grand Prix.

Starting second on the grid with Hamilton on pole position, any suggestions Verstappen would give the Mercedes driver the first corner were quickly erased with the Red Bull driver attacking off the line to lead after Turn 1.

From there he didn’t look back, cruising to his ninth win of this season to help Red Bull set a new record for the most F1 wins in succession – 12. Norris and Sergio Perez completed the podium.

Max Verstappen records his seventh in a row

Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen lined up on the front of the grid, their first 1-2 since their title decider in Abu Dhabi, with the Dutchman chasing a record-breaking 12th in a row for Red Bull. Verstappen held firm through the first corner to muscle his way into the lead with Oscar Piastri taking advantage to sneak up the inside of Hamilton while Lando Norris also got the jump on the Mercedes driver, who dropped to fourth.

Behind them Zhou Guanyu tangled with Daniel Ricciardo, sending him into Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly with the latter into the pits to retire with rear-end damage. Ocon pitted shortly after, his race was also over. Ricciardo dropped to the very back of the field.

With free air ahead of him Verstappen did what Verstappen does and put seconds between himself and the chasing McLarens of Piastri and Norris who had Hamilton behind them with the Mercedes driver chased by the Ferraris of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz. Race Control announced a five-second penalty for Zhou for his lap 1 antics.

10 laps into the 70-lap race, Sergio Perez was up to eighth ahead of Fernando Alonso with Nico Hulkenberg and Lance Stroll making up the top 10. In the fight for points, Stroll, Yuki Tsunoda and Valtteri Bottas were into the pits in formation, the trio responding to Alex Albon’s stop a lap earlier.

Chasing McLaren for the second race in a row, Hamilton reported: “Definitely don’t have the pace to overtake these guys.” Piastri in turn was told “maximum pace”. Sainz, the only top 10 driver on the softs, pitted on lap 16 with Hamilton following him in a lap later with Norris and Leclerc covering that, the latter having a slow nine-second stop due to a wheel gun issue, and then Piastri was in. Hard tyres for all five.

The undercut worked for Norris who swooped past his team-mate at Turn 1 as the Aussie exited the pits. As the first round of pit stops played out, Verstappen pitted from first and emerged P1 ahead of the McLaren team-mates and Hamilton with George Russell fifth but yet to stop. Sainz, Perez, Leclerc, Stroll, and Alonso made up the top 10 on lap 30.

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As Sainz caught up to the rear of Russell’s W14, Perez got his elbows out at Turn 1 and muscled passed the Ferrari to take sixth place and then promptly made short work of Russell. Mercedes finally pitted the Briton on lap 29, Russell falling back to 14th place. “Just reel him in” was the message to Perez as he began to close in on Hamilton for fourth, although it was by no means the easy four-lap run Red Bull predicted.

Meanwhile, his team-mate Verstappen was comfortably P1 by 15s ahead of Norris, Piastri a further seven adrift as lap 40 ticked by with Perez closing to within DRS range of the Mercedes. Behind them, Leclerc was frustrated that Sainz was holding him up, “if possible now!”. Xavi: “Copy understood, we are discussing it, and we’ll do it at the end.” Leclerc: “What do you mean at the end?”

As the second round of pit stops kicked off Piastri and Perez pitted together on lap 43, a 1.9s stop from Red Bull allowing Perez to close right up on Piastri. Leclerc and Alonso were the next in, the Ferrari driver slapped with a five-second penalty for speeding in the pit lane, followed by Sainz, then Norris.

Perez overtook Piastri at Turn 2 with the stewards having a brief look at that. And then in came Hamilton, the top 10 lining up Norris, Perez, Piastri, Hamilton, Leclerc, Sainz, Russell, Alonso and Stroll. All behind Verstappen, of course, with the championship leader some 35s up on the road but yet to stop. He came in on lap 52 and exited the pits 13s ahead of Norris.

With fresher tyres on his Mercedes and DRS available, Hamilton pulled off an easy pass on Piastri to run fourth while the other McLaren of Norris was being hounded by Perez. “I’m pushing mate!” was Norris’ angsty reply when told the Mexican driver was beginning to close. Russell caught Sainz with six to go and, despite complaining about his tyres, a lap later was up to seventh.

With the fastest lap point up for grabs, Verstappen went purple as he secured the extra point on his way to win number nine of this season. The Dutchman crossed the line 33 seconds ahead of Norris who was able to keep Perez at bay to secure his second podium of this season with Perez P3. Verstappen’s Hungarian win marked Red Bull’s 11th of this season and 12th in a row, the reigning World Champions breaking McLaren’s 1988 record for the most wins in succession.

Hamilton was fourth ahead of Piastri with Leclerc crossing the line in sixth place but losing that to Russell with his penalty. Sainz was eighth while the Aston Martins of Alonso and Stroll completed the points. Ricciardo, caught up in the Turn 1 mess on the opening lap, recovered to P13 with his AlphaTauri team-mate Yuki Tsunoda P15. Logan Sargeant didn’t complete the race, parking his Williams on the penultimate lap after a late spin.

Result

1 Max VERSTAPPEN Red Bull Racing
2 Lando NORRIS McLaren +33.731
3 Sergio PEREZ Red Bull Racing +37.603
4 Lewis HAMILTON Mercedes +39.134
5 Oscar PIASTRI McLaren +62.572
6 George RUSSELL Mercedes +65.825
7 Charles LECLERC Ferrari +70.317
8 Carlos SAINZ Ferrari +71.073
9 Fernando ALONSO Aston Martin +75.709
10 Lance STROLL Aston Martin +1 lap
11 Alexander ALBON Williams +1 lap
12 Valtteri BOTTAS Alfa Romeo +1 lap
13 Daniel RICCIARDO AlphaTauri +1 lap
14 Nico HULKENBERG Haas F1 Team +1 lap
15 Yuki TSUNODA AlphaTauri +1 lap
16 Guanyu ZHOU Alfa Romeo +1 lap
17 Kevin MAGNUSSEN Haas F1 Team +1 lap

Did not finish

Logan Sargeant Williams – spin
Esteban Ocon Alpine – crash
Pierre Gasly Alpine – crash

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