In Summary
  • Verstappen had clinched pole in spectacular fashion on Saturday, pipping both Mercedes for his first ever pole
  • Bottas had to go in for a new nose, and with that, dropped to last, the chance for a podium place finish effectively erased
  • With only three laps to go, Hamilton caught Verstappen and passed him down the pit straight on the approach to Turn One

Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton kept his head down in the final laps of the Hungarian Grand Prix last Sunday to snatch the lead from Red Bull's Max Verstappen and take the chequered flag in a race in which a strategic gamble by Mercedes yielded handsome dividends.

Verstappen, who drove brilliantly for the entire race, had led for most of the race, but his team's hard tyre option for a lengthy second stint meant that Mercedes' choice to pit Hamilton for mediums in the 48th lap was the wiser option even if strategists before the race start had a consensus that a one-stop strategy was the best for the race.

Verstappen had clinched pole in spectacular fashion on Saturday, pipping both Mercedes for his first ever pole.

Such was the tension and drama at the tail end of qualifying and after each driver had given it their best shot, only 0.197 of second separated the first three drivers.

It was even closer between pole-sitter Verstappen and second placed Valtteri Bottas, just 0.018 of a second.

The Dutchman needed a good start if he was to take his maiden win at the Hungaroring.

FRONT WING DAMAGE

He took care of that and going into Turn One, it was Bottas and Hamilton who were side by side.

Bottas locked up giving Hamilton the initiative and when the Finn locked up again in Turn Two, Hamilton swept round the outside to firmly take second place.

Bottas' front right touched Hamilton's rear left tyre at the exit of Turn Three, slowing the Finn in the process and in that moment, Ferrari's Charles Leclerc pounced.

He passed Bottas on the right but then swerved left and had his left rear wheel, just like Hamilton seconds before, touch Bottas' right front. This was more forceful and Bottas suffered front wing damage. On the second lap, Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel swooped past.

Bottas had to go in for a new nose, and with that, dropped to last, the chance for a podium place finish effectively erased.

SportPesa Racing Point's Sergio Perez, who started 16th was 11th by the 11th lap, giving credence to the notion that new upgrades to their cars are paying dividends.

Bottas, in the hard compound, was making his way up the field and it made other teams take note that the compound would perform well under the circumstances.

Toro Rosso's Alexander Albon and his teammate, Daniil Kvyat, had an interesting 'fight' on lap nineteen which saw them go wheel to wheel until Albon eventually had to go out wide in Turn Four.

All this while, Verstappen had kept himself out of DRS range of Hamilton.

The Brit, however, was biding his time. Verstappen complained of losing grip more than once and his team obliged to bring him in on the 24th lap.

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