Verstappen explains mid-race spin that threatened win

Red Bull's Max Verstappen at the Hungarian Grand Prix. Budapest, July 2022.

Red Bull's Max Verstappen at the Hungarian Grand Prix. Budapest, July 2022.

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen has explained what went wrong to cause him to spin early in his final stint of the Hungarian Grand Prix.

Verstappen came home a comfortable winner at the Hungaroring having come through from 10th on the grid as Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc’s challenge fell by the waywide when his team fitted him with the hard tyres for the final stint.

With Verstappen opting for the medium tyres for the stint to the chequered flag, his use of the more optimal tyre allowed him to quickly attack and pass Leclerc to claim the net lead. However, moments later, Verstappen spun exiting the penultimate corner as he lost the rear of the RB18.

However, Verstappen quickly scooped the car back up and regathered his momentum and just a few laps later, was able to attack Leclerc again to come through and win ahead of the two Mercedes drivers.

Having opened up his championship lead over Leclerc to 80 points as F1 reaches the summer break, Verstappen smiled as he watched the replays of his moment during the pre-podium interviews.

“I was struggling a bit with the shifts and the clutch, and we had to change a few things around that to basically burn the clutch,” Verstappen explained.

Start of the 2022 Hungarian Grand Prix. Hungaroring July 2022.
Cars go into Turn 1 at the start of the 2022 Hungarian Grand Prix. Hungaroring July 2022.

“That cost a bit of performance and I think that caught me out of that corner. But luckily, I could do a 360 so I only lost one spot.”

Verstappen came through to victory from 10th place on the grid having had his qualifying ruined by a power unit-related issue during Q3.

Unsurprisingly, given the difficulty of overtaking at the Hungaroring, Verstappen said the win had “not really” been on his mind when he discussed the race strategy with his engineers on Sunday morning.

“I was, of course, hoping I could get close to a podium,” he said, before explaining Red Bull’s aggressive undercut strategy to their stops had helped him to move up the grid.

“[It was] very tricky conditions out there. But I think we had a really good strategy. We were really reactive and always pitting at the right time, I think we had some good out-laps. Then at the end, even with a 360, we won the race.

“I was battling a lot of guys, so it was a lot of fun out there. Crazy race and I’m very happy I won it.”