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Formula 1 Hungary: Hamilton wins in gigantic duel vs. Verstappen
The empire has struck back. Three laps before the end of the race, Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton wrested a long believed victory at the 2019 Hungarian GP from Max Verstappen. After a first defended maneuver after the pit stops, Mercedes had the brilliant idea and stopped Hamilton a second time. With fresh medium in the final sprint, Hamilton could not be held.
Starting from pole position, Verstappen controlled the Grand Prix on the Hungaroring with ease, ahead of Hamilton. Waning tires meant that Verstappen had to pit first. After all, the Mercedes undercut was fended off. Hamilton then drove several laps longer, then rushed up to Verstappen with fresher tires after his own stop.
On lap 39, Hamilton rode his major attack on Verstappen. In turn one, he braked next to the Red Bull for the first time, then stayed on and tried a sensational move on the outside in blind turn four! Verstappen parried, however, Hamilton went into the run-off zone. The world champion should not recover from that.
Mercedes then tried a second pit stop for softer tires. A golden handle. In the final offensive, Hamilton barely ran out of laps, while Verstappen ran out of tires. With 20 seconds of cushion for 20 laps three laps to go, Hamilton simply drove past corner one and celebrated his 81st career victory before Verstappen.
Late change also in third place. In the penultimate lap, Sebastian Vettel pushed Charles Leclerc off the podium. The Ferraris had been using different strategies, but overall they were extremely slow. Valtteri Bottas had to catch up after being touched in the crowd at the start and only made it back to P8.
The top facts of the race
Lewis Hamilton wins in Hungary
Mercedes with a strategic stroke of genius
Verstappen fended off the first attack on the route
Vettel takes podium for extremely weak Ferrari, Leclerc P4
Verstappen gets bonus point for fastest race lap
Touch: tough Mercedes duel at the start
Leclerc also touches Bottas in the turmoil
Bottas catching up after changing wings ends in P8
The points: Carlos Sainz finished the Hungarian GP as the winner of the midfield in fifth place, thus keeping a Red Bull behind himself. Pierre Gasly (P6), however, was happy to have made it past Kimi Räikkönen and Lando Norris using the strategy. Shortly before the end, Norris lost P8 to Bottas. Alex Albon secured the last world championship point.
The world championship status: Lewis Hamilton (250) increased his world championship lead significantly to 62 points with 25 points for the win and only eighth place for Bottas (188). Verstappen (181) gets up to seven points on the Finn. Vettel (156) continues to stand out from Leclerc (132) for the second time in a row. With the constructors, Mercedes remains clearly in the lead with 438 points ahead of Ferrari with 288 and Red Bull (244).
The weather: In contrast to the very changeable weather of the previous Hungarian GP 2019, the Puszta presented itself from its best side just in time for the race. Bright sunshine, only scattered little clouds over the Hungaroring. At the start the air temperature was 25 degrees Celsius, on the asphalt it was 47.
Mercedes touched the start, Bottas front wing damaged
The starting tires: Outside of the top ten, all drivers, with the exception of Daniel Ricciardo (Hard), who was moved to the end due to an engine change, chose the medium like the top six. So only Norris, Sainz, Grosjean and Räikkönen started on soft.
The start: No problems this time with Max Verstappen. The Dutchman accelerated cleanly out of the pits and just kept the lead through turn one. Between the Mercedes it became very tight on the brakes, including the Bottas brakes. In turn two, Hamilton was on the outside next to Bottas, where it was smoking again. It went wheel to wheel with a slight touch through turn three, where the world champion bit his way through.
Bottas immediately fell behind Leclerc, and there was also a contact. That cost the Mercedes more flaps. Back at the start and finish line, Vettel also passed the Finn. Mercedes radioed: Slight damage to the front wing, getting ready in the pits. The big loser at the start was Pierre Gasly, who was passed down to P9. In front of him the McLaren and Raikkones.
Verstappen manages before Hamilton, Ferrari does not come along
The early course of the race: Verstappen immediately set off slightly from Hamilton, so that the world champion had to do without DRS. The lead leveled off quickly and sustainably at 2.5 seconds. Ferrari didn't know how to keep up, almost a second per lap was missing from racing space. On lap five, Bottas finally pitted to change the front wing. The Finn got a set of hard mounts and fell back to last place.
On lap 15, Bottas had fought his way back to P16, with Hamilton in the front with three seconds on Verstappen. The Ferrari were already 15 seconds short of the lead, Vettel followed Leclerc permanently with a gap similar to that of Hamilton Verstappen at the front. Hülkenberg (P10) reported a loss of performance, further down the Toro Rosso team-internal sour for P12. Nice wheel-to-wheel duel over the entire first sector. Better ending for the Russian
Verstappen tires give in, Red Bull prevents Mercedes undercut
On lap 19, Verstappen reported decreasing grip on his medium starting tires, Hamilton moved up to 1.3 seconds. Mercedes briefly got ready at the pits. Undercut? No. There was no improvement, Verstappen reported twice within four laps.
The (first) pit stops: On lap 25, Red Bull released Verstappen and thus avoided the undercut caused by Mercedes. Verstappen got a set hard and came back on the track just before the Ferrari. Mercedes radioed Hamilton immediately: Hammertime! But immediately afterwards the Briton did not come. Mercedes radioed again: faster please. But more hammer time was not possible: "I can't!" Came back from Hamilton. Meanwhile, Verstappen quickly caught up with the fresh Hard.
Verstappen five times the lead thanks to stops
On lap 27, the first Ferrari pits. Leclerc also got hard mounted. The pit stop dance followed in midfield as well. Everyone switched from hard to medium or from soft / medium to hard. Nobody wanted to take the risk of a long final stint on soft. Norris lost a position to Raikkonen due to a pinch in the left rear wheel and traffic in Fast Lane, while the Finn fell behind Gasly.
Lap 32 then brought the Hamilton stop. The first stint was not to extend it any longer and then switch to soft. Hamilton came back with Hard, six seconds behind Verstappen. The pit stop phase against Red Bull cost five seconds.
From the top group only Vettel was on the way without stopping. That only changed on lap 41 - albeit with an extremely slow stop, so that Vettel came back almost 20 seconds behind Leclerc. Unlike everyone else, Vettel got soft. Further back, Hulkenberg and Magnussen did the same.
Hamilton chases Verstappen: 6 seconds ahead in 2 laps
The rest of the race: Incredible pace then from Lewis Hamilton! With seven-mile boots on the now seven laps of fresh tires, the Brit drove into the DRS in Verstappen in just two laps! Did the Dutchman make a mistake? There was nothing to be seen in the TV picture.
First attempt to overtake on lap 39. Hamilton in turn one next to Verstappen! End? No! Hamilton stayed tuned and actually tried the outside (!) In blind turn four. Not enough space, Hamilton had to go into the run-off zone and fell back two seconds. "Keep up the pressure," radioed race engineer Bonnington. "I can't," Hamilton radioed back. Should that have been it?
Hamilton rides surprise attack: Verstappen parries
The second (Mercedes) pit stops: Not quite. On lap 44, car 33 was back to car 33, except for a second. Verstappen asked on the radio once about more power. There was no attack at first - not even from Ferrari, who at this point were 40 and 60 seconds respectively behind the leaders. Bottas had even been lapped, but came back on lap 47. Final spurt on medium.
Surprise a lap later: Hamilton back in there too! Also medium for the world champion. Red Bull decided against reacting. A good 20 laps now remained to cover 19 seconds with fresher and softer tires. Hamilton's pace at the beginning was only one second faster per lap. Further back, Grosjean meanwhile caused the first retirement of the race - problem with the water pressure.
Hamilton chases Verstappen again: crime for victory
The final phase: As the race went on, Verstappen's tires ran out of grains exponentially. With five laps to go, Hamilton was down to three seconds, on the way the Brit broke Michael Schumacher's 15-year-old lap record and thus secured the bonus point for the fastest race lap.
Behind it it was also tight. Vettel also up to three seconds on team-mate Leclerc. But then the duel for victory: On lap 67, Hamilton went to the start / finish past Verstappen! With DRS out of the slipstream quite easily past the outside. Even Verstappen couldn't do anything. The decision. Hamilton flew up and away immediately. Verstappen then came back to the pits thanks to a one minute lead back and secured the bonus point for the FL with fresh softs. Hamilton's new lap record was underbid again: 1: 17.103.
On lap 69 there was also a change on the podium. Vettel pushed past Leclerc in turn one. Sensational end to a Formula 1 race that was once again epic in the end.
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