F1 2022: Hungarian Gp Review – Verstappen Wins Again

Despite starting tenth on the grid Max Verstappen executed a brilliant Red Bull strategy to pick up, easily, the most impressive win of his 2022 season. The script for Saturday read like a horror story for Red Bull who not only saw Checo Perez in eleventh but also had Verstappen confined to tenth with an engine issue. On the other hand, Saturday qualifying couldn’t have gone better for George Russell who delivered a stunning lap to snatch a maiden pole position.  To say that Russell’s pole came as a surprise would be understatement. He shared the front row of the grid with Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz with Charles Leclerc in third. The feeling was though that Russell’s joy would be contained to pole, and that Ferrari simply had too much pace for the Mercedes. But regardless of pace there is still the matter of acing every call and decision that needs to make during a grand prix. An area that Ferrari has struggled in for several years. For the second time in seven days Ferrari has done its level best to make the worst of a good situation. Yet another blunder on tyre strategy saw the team pit to cover those immediately behind despite being on the more durable medium tyre. Still, Leclerc especially showed great pace and overtook Russell for the lead of the race. Meanwhile, Verstappen was delivering laptimes that would soon bring him into contention. The second round of pitstops again came early for Ferrari and this time they put race leader Leclerc on the hard compound tyre. It should be noted that earlier in the race both Alpine drivers and the Haas of Kevin Magnussen struggled to switch on the hard tyre – a clear indication for all that it simply wasn’t suited to the track and ambient conditions. There will be those that say that Ferrari had no medium tyre to put on Leclerc’s car, but al alternative option was still available to them. They could’ve run longer on both medium stints and fit the soft tyre for a short final stint. But again, the Ferrari strategy team simply made the wrong decision, which cost them not only a potential victory but a spot on the podium as well. Ferrari’s strategy blunder left Leclerc defenseless against a rampant Verstappen who took the lead of the race on lap 41. However, the Dutchman, owing to a clutch issue, spun in the penultimate corner of the lap, handing the lead back to Leclerc. It was short-lived though as Leclerc struggled to heat up the hard tyre Verstappen was back past the Ferrari driver in a handful of laps. With Verstappen well in control of the race Sainz and Hamilton made a final stop for soft compound tyres. Russell took second place off an exposed Leclerc on lap 54 prompting the Monegasque driver into a late pitstop for soft compound tyres. Meanwhile, Hamilton, also on soft tyres, made impressive progress to pass Sainz on lap 63. His pace wasn’t quite enough to catch Verstappen but there was the treat of Hamilton going wheel-to-wheel with teammate Russell for P2. Owing to Ferrari’s strategic errors both Mercs found themselves on the podium for the second race running. Behind the top three of Verstappen, Hamilton, and Russell was Carlos Sainz in fourth ahead of Checo Perez in fifth. Charles Leclerc eventually trundled home in sixth while Lando Norris was seventh for McLaren. In eighth was Fernando Alonso while Alpine teammate Esteban Ocon was ninth. Seb Vettel, who announced his retirement at the end of the year, was tenth for Aston Martin. The ability of the cars to follow more closely for longer periods on a circuit such as the Hungaroring is a great advert for the 2022 spec cars. On a circuit that is so notorious for its lack of overtaking that it’s knows as ‘Monaco without the barriers’ it shows that progress has been made. What then of Max Verstappen? The performance by him and Red Bull in Hungary was simply sublime and indicative of a team and driver at the peak of their considerable powers. With an 80-point lead and only nine races remaining in 2022 the second title beckons for a driver who, stunningly, seems to be getting even better.   All images courtesy of Pirelli Motorsport The post F1 2022: Hungarian Gp Review – Verstappen Wins Again appeared first on F1 Madness.