Max Verstappen Wins F1 Hungarian GP as Mistakes Plague Ferrari

Once again, Ferrari’s tire mismanagement cost Leclerc a potential podium finish.

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Max Verstappen Wins F1 Hungarian GP as Mistakes Plague Ferrari © Max Verstappen Wins F1 Hungarian GP as Mistakes Plague Ferrari

Red Bull's Max Verstappen started tenth on the grid in the F1 Hungarian GP but was able to fight his way to a victory, thanks to expert driving and excellent team management. Not only did Verstappen take the win, he did it while overcoming early clutch issues and even a spin, earning himself driver of the day as well.

"I was hoping I could get close to the podium. It was tricky conditions but we had a good strategy. Even with the 360 we held on. I had not to burn the clutch. Luckily I could do a 360 so only lose one spot. I was battling a lot of guys so a lot of fun out there. It was a crazy race and I’m very happy that we won." Verstappen said after the race.

Pitting for hard compound tires cost Charles Leclerc a potential podium finish | (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

Mercedes' two drivers also deserve praise, with Lewis Hamilton and George Russell finishing second and third, respectively. Like Verstappen, Hamilton also started pretty far back on the grid, in P7. Also like Verstappen, outstanding driving helped Hamilton finish second and earn himself some much needed points. While Russell would have preferred a win, after starting in pole position for the first time in his F1 career, a two-three finish has to feel good for team Mercedes.

However, Ferrari's tire mismanagement is once again one of the biggest stories from the race weekend. After last weekend's French GP, Ferrari seemed confident it would get its tire management under control but, yet again, it plagued both Ferrari drivers. Head-scratching decisions cost Leclerc a potential podium finish. In lap 31, Leclerc expertly overtook George Russell for the lead. However, Ferrari asked Leclerc to pit for hard compound tires in lap 40, which was the beginning of the end for both Leclerc and Ferrari.

Leclerc's hard tires lacked grip, which allowed Verstappen to overtake him. By lap 55, Ferrari told Leclerc to pit once again but for soft tires. That dropped him back to P6, a position he would stay in through the checkered flag. Leclerc had a relatively comfortable lead on his medium compound tires, which likely would have lasted quite a bit longer, enough for him to eventually pit for grippier soft tires and fight for a podium finish. However, Ferrari's decision to go to hard tires early cost him.

Lewis Hamilton's brilliant driving earned him second place after started seventh on the grid | (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

After the race, Leclerc told Sky TV that he asked his team to continue on his medium tires while he was in the lead. At the time, he felt the tires were holding up well and he had the pace he wanted. But ultimately Ferrari disagreed with Leclerc and it potentially cost him points he desperately needed.

Now Verstappen owns an even more comfortable lead in the driver's standings heading into the summer break, with 258 points to Leclerc's 178. Verstappen's teammate is close behind Leclerc, with 173 points. The next race won't be until August 28, at Spa for the Belgian Grand Prix.

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