Max Verstappen took a well-worked Hungarian Grand Prix win, rising from 10th on the grid to beat Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton and George Russell as strategic woes led to Ferrari missing out on podium places as Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc finished fourth and sixth respectively.
At the race start polesitter Russell made a good start to hold off challenges from front-row-starter Leclerc and Ferrari team-mate Sainz. And as the Ferrari drivers swapped places in the middle of the lap the Mercedes driver settled into the lead.
Further back Red Bull Racing’s Max Versatppen and Sergio Pérez were immediately on the move and at the end of the first lap Verstappen had risen to P8 behind the Alpine of Fernando Alonso, while Pérez had climbed to ninth place.
The Virtual Safety car was then briefly deployed due to debris on the track from a lap-one incident involving Williams’ Alex Albon and the Aston Martin of Sebastian Vettel and when racing resumed, Russell controlled the restart well to hold on to the lead.
Verstappen was again on the move, however and on lap five, Alonso clattered over the kerbs in Turn 3 giving the Dutchman the opportunity to power past in Turn 4. The championship leader then chased down the second Alpine of Esteban Ocon and, under DRS, eased past the French driver into Turn 1. On lap 10 Verstappen was just 10.8s off race leader Russell.
The Mercedes made his first visit to the pit lane at the end of lap 16, switching to medium tyres. Verstappen also made his first stop at the end of the same lap, changing his starting soft tyres for new medium compound Pirellis. Second-placed Sainz pitted at the end of the next tour and after fitting a second set of medium tyres he emerged just behind Russell. Leclerc now moved into the lead, though he would need to make his first stop.
The Monegasque driver headed for the pit lane at the end of lap 21 and rejoined just behind Russell, but ahead of Sainz. Verstappen was now in fourth place.
On lap 27, Leclerc closed to within DRS range of Russell and with the aid of DRS he attacked at the start of the next lap. Russell defended well he managed to cling on for another tour but the tussle allowed Verstappen to narrow the gap and on lap 31 he was just 5.0s off the lead.
Leclerc finally made an attack on Russell stick at the start of lap 31. The Ferrari driver got a good run through the final corners and he powered past the Mercedes with a late move around the outside of Turn 1 to take the lead. Freed from the shackles of the Mercedes, Leclerc promptly put in a race fastest lap of 1:22.995 to open the gap to Russell to almost two seconds.
As the Monegasque driver began to pull away from the pack, Verstappen made his second stop at the end of lap 38, trying to undercut Sainz and Russell ahead as he took on another set of medium tyres.
Leclerc’s race then began to unravel. Having used two sets of medium tyres and with a long final stint of 31 laps in wait, Ferrari were forced to fit a set of hard tyres in the Monegasque’s second stop on lap 39. The choice would ultimately cost him dearly.
Russell made his second stop just behind the Ferrari, switching to medium tyres and when he exited the pit lane it was behind Versrtappen who had pumped in a fastest lap of 1:22.789. With race leader Sainz and Hamilton needing seconds stops, Max was now second on the road behind Leclerc who was struggling badly for grip and pace.
On lap 42 Max smelled blood and he attacked the Monegasque drive into Turn 1, sweeping past the Ferrari driver who was powerless to resist. Verstappen then almost had his own disaster when exiting the penultimate corner he suddenly spun and Leclerc reclaimed P3. After the uncharacteristic spin, Max was soon back on the attack, however, and the Red Bull driver eased past the Ferrari on exit from Turn 1 as Leclerc struggled for traction. He was now third behind Sainz and Hamilton, both of whom had only stopped once.
Sainz and Hamilton then made their final stops with both taking soft tyres for a last dash to the flag. And as they did so, Verstappen took the lead.
Leclerc was now 6.3s behind the Dutchman, while Russell was putting the Ferrari driver under heavy pressure. And as Leclerc wobbled through the final corner on lap 53, Russell powered past him to take second place. Ferrari pitted Leclerc at the end of lap 54 for soft tyres but his race was now compromised and he rejoined in P6, behind Pérez.
In the closing stages, Hamilton swiftly closed on Sainz and after passing the Spaniard with eight laps left he closed in on Russell. Aided by better grip he eased past his team-mate at the start of lap 65 to take P2.
And there the order froze. Verstappen pulled out a gap of more than 13 seconds in the final stages, but with drizzle falling in the closing laps, the Dutchman throttled back to take his eighth win of the season 7.8 seconds ahead Hamilton, with Russell a further four seconds further back in third place. Sainz crossed the line in fourth, with Pérez in fifth ahead of Leclerc. Lando Norris took seventh for McLaren ahead of the Alpines of Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon and the final point on offer went to Sebastian Vettel.
2022 FIA Formula 1 Hungarian Grand Prix – Race
1 Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing 70 1:39’35.912
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 70 1:39’43.746 7.834
3 George Russell Mercedes 70 1:39’48.249 12.337
4 Carlos Sainz Ferrari 70 1:39’50.491 14.579
5 Sergio Pérez Red Bull Racing 70 1:39’51.600 15.688
6 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 70 1:39’51.959 16.047
7 Lando Norris McLaren/Mercedes 70 1:40’54.212 1’18.300
8 Fernando Alonso Alpine/Renault 69 – 1 lap
9 Esteban Ocon Alpine/Renault 69 – 1 lap
10 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin/Mercedes 69 – 1 lap
11 Lance Stroll Aston Martin/Mercedes 69 – 1 lap
12 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri/Red Bull 69 – 1 lap
13 Zhou Guanyu Alfa Romeo/Ferrari 69 – 1 lap
14 Mick Schumacher Haas/Ferrari 69 – 1 lap
15 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren/Mercedes 69 – 1 lap
16 Kevin Magnussen Haas/Ferrari 69 – 1 lap
17 23 Alexander Albon Williams/Mercedes 69 – 1 lap
18 6 Nicholas Latifi Williams/Mercedes 69 – 1 lap
19 22 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri/Red Bull 68 – 2 laps
20 77 Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo/Ferrari 65 – 5 laps