Hamilton wins Hungarian Grand Prix after a late move on Verstappen!

04-08-2019 15:48 | Updated: 04-08-2019 15:48
by Nicolás Quarles van Ufford
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Hamilton wins Hungarian Grand Prix after a late move on Verstappen!

After a fantastic battle with pole-sitter Max Verstappen, championship leader Lewis Hamilton has won the Hungarian Grand Prix as the Brit overtook Verstappen for the lead in the final four laps of the race, as the Dutchman did take the extra point for the fastest lap.

Verstappen got away well and led for the bulk of the race, but Mercedes' risky two-stop strategy paid off in the end, with Hamilton sizing up and overtaking the Dutchman in the 67th lap of the 70-lap race.

It was heart-breaking for Verstappen, a seven-time Grand Prix winner, as he was ever so close to winning his third race in four heading into the summer break after grabbing a maiden pole position on Saturday.

Sebastian Vettel completed the podium for Ferrari after swapping places with Charles Leclerc in the final laps, although the Scuderia were miles off the pace compared to the two drivers in front, with the German finishing a full minute behind the race leader.

How it happened

Unlike in his previous two wins, Verstappen actually had a very good start at the Hungaroring, immediately getting clear of the two chasing Silver Arrows behind. Valtteri Bottas played into the 21-year-old's hand by squeezing out Hamilton at T1, before the 34-year-old came back at his teammate to overtake around the outside at T2. It got worse for Bottas as he clipped Leclerc's Ferrari, damaging his front wing. He needed to pit for a new nose, dropping him down the order.

Hamilton and Verstappen ran away from the field and battled hard, with the former gaining on Verstappen as the pit window approached. The Red Bull pitted first and Hamilton stayed out significantly longer. It looked the wrong call from Mercedes at first, but Hamilton's stronger pace on the fresher rubber suggested otherwise. 

Surprisingly, Mercedes then opted to pit Hamilton again, putting him on the medium tyre, with the idea that the five-time champion would catch his rival by the end of the race. 

Despite Hamilton's complaints about the tactic, that is exactly what happened. Verstappen ran out of rubber and Hamilton took full advantage, with a dramatic pass on the final lap securing the victory for the championship leader. Verstappen tried to defend with all his might but simply didn't have the grip to keep the faster Hamilton at bay.

It was the main story of an otherwise unspectacular race, with Romain Grosjean being the only driver to retire from the Grand Prix for Haas. McLaren and Carlos Sainz once again topped the midfield as the Spaniard finished in fifth, beating both Bottas as well as Pierre Gasly to secure some more good points for the Woking-based team. 

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