(Adnkronos) – Max Verstappen wins the Hungarian GP 2022, thirteenth round of the World Championship, Ferrari flops and ends up off the podium.
The Dutch Red Bull driver, world leader and world champion, triumphs with an extraordinary comeback and with a perfect champion tactic suggested by the pits: from tenth position on the starting grid to the highest step of the podium. Verstappen precedes the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton and George Russell, who started from pole position. Ferrari disappointment: Carlos Sainz closes in fourth place, Charles Leclerc – weighed down by a questionable strategy – is sixth behind Sergio Perez’s Red Bull.
THE RACE – Ready, go and Russell remains in the lead after the first lap. The British Mercedes driver, who started from pole position, precedes Sainz and Leclerc’s Ferraris. Verstappen, caught in the middle of the group, looks for a comeback from tenth place.
Russell turns on the foot of 1’24 ” and after 10 of the 70 laps scheduled he has over 2 ” of margin on Sainz. Leclerc chases by about 4 ”. Behind the reds are Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes and Verstappen’s Red Bull.
In lap 17, Russell starts the first round of pit stops, imitated by Verstappen and Sainz. Leclerc, provisional leader, stops on lap 21 and returns to the track in second position, ahead of Sainz.
With fresher tires, Leclerc approaches the leader and in the 28th lap he goes to the attack at turn 2: Russell resists and keeps the first position. Leclerc tries again on lap 31 and this time the Mercedes has to give way.
The Ferrari strategy foresees that Leclerc, in the second pit stop in the 40th lap, mounts the white tire, with the harder compound. A questionable choice of the wall, yet another in a season that is further complicated.
The Monegasque, with tires still running-in, cannot oppose Verstappen’s very fast Red Bull, which however immediately runs into a sensational head-to-tail, once again yielding the position to the Cavallino car. Verstappen starts hammering again and in the 45th lap he overtakes the Ferrari again. In front, in the tourbillon of stops, Sainz’s red is first, waiting for the second stage in the pits. When the Spaniard stops, the first position is occupied by Hamilton’s Mercedes: the British, with only one stop under his belt, hopes for rain with 20 laps to go to complete a masterpiece of strategy. Behind him, however, Verstappen arrives like a train, while Leclerc has to stem the arrembante Russell.
Hamilton returns for the last tire change and Verstappen, in the 52nd lap, takes the first position. Shortly thereafter, Leclerc gives way to Russell, who moves up to second place. The hard tire turns out to be disastrous, the Monegasque is called back to the pits for the third pit stop: goodbye to the podium. Verstappen marches quickly towards victory – and towards the second world title – while the Mercedes take the podium. The rain on the last lap does not change anything: the Ferrari sticks, again, and the Cavallino remains off the podium.