Max Verstappen rallies to win the Hungarian Grand Prix

Formula 1 champion Max Verstappen overcame a spin and his worst starting spot of the season to win the Hungarian Grand Prix on Sunday. His eighth win of the season pushed Verstappen’s lead to 80 points over Charles Leclerc as F1 enters its mid-season break.

Mercedes placed both cars on the podium for the second race in a row; Seven-time F1 champion Lewis Hamilton fought his way from seventh to second place, his team-mate and pole sitter George Russell finished third.

Carlos Sainz Jr. finished fourth in another disastrous day for Ferrari. Leclerc finished sixth, one place behind Red Bull’s Sergio Perez.

Verstappen’s eighth win of the season was the 28th of the Dutchman’s career.

“Who would have thought when we woke up today that we would get this result? Incredible,” Verstappen told his team.

He qualified in the worst 10th of the season due to a loss of power on Saturday, then in Sunday’s race Verstappen made a 360 degree turn.

“Amazing Max, that’s up there with your best,” replied Red Bull team principal Christian Horner. “Fantastic.”

Russell, who started from pole for the first time in his career, led 30 laps until Leclerc passed him on the outside as dark clouds rolled over the Hungaroring circuit and a light rain began to fall.

With Leclerc in the lead, Verstappen undermined for faster tyres. Ferrari made a mistake choosing the more durable hard tires for Leclerc.

“These tires are [expletive]“said Leclerc.

Moments later, Verstappen lost grip and ran 360 down the track, allowing Sainz to take the lead from Hamilton. Leclerc passed Verstappen, only to lose position soon after as Verstappen had faster tyres.

Ferrari missed Sainz’s next tire stop on lap 47, taking too long to mount their left rear tyre. Hamilton stayed away but was losing time to Verstappen as the rain increased.

Leclerc came in for a third tire change on lap 55 as Ferrari’s failed tactic resurfaced. Leclerc crashed into the lead in the French Grand Prix last week.

Lando Norris was seventh for McLaren, Fernando Alonso was eighth and his Alpine teammate Esteban Ocon was ninth. Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel finished 10th.

After a one-month break, the season resumes with a hat-trick in Belgium, the Netherlands and Italy.

Laura T. Thrasher