August 04, 2019
Lewis Hamilton has won the Hungarian Grand Prix for the seventh time after his Mercedes team made a superb call allowing him to chase down pole-sitter Max Verstappen.
Hamilton wins Hungarian Grand Prix after chasing down Verstappen
A change to fresher, softer tyres with 21 laps remaining on Sunday gave Hamilton the edge in closing a 20-second gap.
With the rubber on Verstappen's Red Bull falling apart, he caught him with room to spare and won by around 17.796 seconds.
Hamilton's 81st career win leaves him in total command of the Formula One world championship as he now leads by 62 points from teammate Valtteri Bottas, who finished a disappointing eighth having fallen from second.
Sebastian Vettel took third for Ferrari but the team were never competitive. Vettel's winless run will now extend a whole year to the Belgian Grand Prix, the first race back after the mid-season break on September 1.
The 21-year-old Verstappen celebrated his first pole position on Saturday but could not convert that into a third win from four races.
In stark contrast to the rain-induced drama of the German GP last week, this battle was fought under sunny skies and a bone dry track in Budapest.
Bottas locked up into the first corner and damaged his front wing being clipped by the Ferrari of Charles Leclerc. He pitted early for repairs and a long fight back through the pack on hard tyres.
Verstappen had moved away smoothly but had problems with his own rubber as Hamilton gradually closed in on him before the Dutchman pitted for hards on lap 24.
Mercedes left Hamilton, happy with his own tyres, out but in seven laps he could not get in front on the timesheets and emerged 5.6 seconds behind Verstappen when he eventually pitted.
The fresher tyres allowed the Briton to slash this lead though to set up a frantic mid-race duel. Hamilton had a nose in front in an outside passing attempt on lap 39 but couldn't make it stick and needed to hit the run-off area.
That was as close as Hamilton came in the stint before rolling the dice by changing to new rubber – a gamble he could take with no risk given the disappointing performance of Ferrari.
He moved within DRS range on lap 66 of 70 and with Verstappen defenceless made the winning pass at the end of the home straight a lap later.
Vettel completed the podium ahead of Leclerc in another poor showing from Ferrari. Leclerc has 156 points and Vettel 132, well behind Hamilton's best 250.
Verstappen is third on 181 with Bottas on 188.
Carlos Sainz (McLaren), Pierre Gasly (Red Bull), Kimi Raikkonen (Alfa Romeo), Lando Norris (McLaren) and Alexander Albon (Toro Rosso) also finished in the points.
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