Hungarian GP: Lewis Hamilton takes supreme win, Max Verstappen second despite pre-race crash
Record-equalling eighth win in Hungary sees Hamilton take 2020 points lead from Bottas; Verstappen and Red Bull miraculously finish second despite pre-race crash in wet; Ferrari lapped in sixth
By James Galloway
Last Updated: 20/07/20 6:22am
A dominant Lewis Hamilton seized the lead of the F1 world championship for the first time in the 2020 season with his second win in a row and a record-equalling eighth on the same circuit at the Hungarian GP.
But Max Verstappen remarkably denied Mercedes another one-two finish after holding off Valtteri Bottas for second place - despite crashing and breaking his Red Bull car's front wing in wet conditions before the race.
Verstappen's afternoon had appeared over before it had even begun when he lost control on his way to the grid on intermediate tyres and slid into a hefty nose-first impact with the Turn 12 barriers.
Yet a frenzied and heroic effort from his Red Bull mechanics on the grid ensured his repaired car just made the start - and Verstappen then paid them back immediately by surging from seventh to third off the line as Bottas lost crucial ground from the front row.
However, Hamilton was in a league of his own up front all afternoon and could even afford a late stop for fresh tyres to try and take the bonus point for the fastest lap - which he duly secured on the final tour for the maximum 26 points.
Hamilton's 86th career win means he now leads Bottas in the standings by five points heading to the British GP in two weeks' time. Yet another win at the Hungaroring also ties Michael Schumacher's record of eight wins at one venue.
"Round One had multiple different punches that I wasn't perhaps ready for but I refocused and the last two have been fantastic," said a jubilant Hamilton. "This weekend, we've just been on point throughout so we need to try and keep this up."
Although the podium was out of reach for Racing Point, Lance Stroll still capped an impressive weekend with a commanding fourth place - his best result since joining the team last year.
After a torrid Saturday when he dropped out in Q2, Alex Albon raced strongly from 13th in the second Red Bull and overtook Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel for fifth late on. Red Bull escaped without penalty after an investigation for allegedly drying the Albon's RB16 grid box before the race.
Vettel was the only Ferrari to score points, with Leclerc down in 11th, and was lapped by old rival Hamilton to underline the mountain the Scuderia have to climb to get back into contention this year.
Sergio Perez was seventh in the second Racing Point after a poor start, with Daniel Ricciardo eighth for Renault.
Kevin Magnussen, meanwhile, opened Haas' points account for 2020 with a opportunistic drive to the point after the team cleverly pitted both their cars at the end of the formation lap for dry tyres and jumped up the order when others did likewise several laps later.
However, after finishing ninth, he was handed a 10-second time penalty after the race after stewards deemed that when pitting Magnussen, Haas had illegally used "driver aids". That dropped him a place in the final results.
McLaren, meanwhile, had a more difficult afternoon compared to Austria with Carlos Sainz collecting their only point in 10th place, courtesy of a late pass on a struggling Leclerc.
Hungarian GP: Top 10 result
1. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes
2. Max Verstappen, Red Bull
3. Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes
4. Lance Stroll, Racing Point
5. Alexander Albon, Red Bull
6. Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari
7. Sergio Perez, Racing Point
8. Daniel Ricciardo, Renault
9. Carlos Sainz, McLaren
10. Kevin Magnussen, Haas
How did Verstappen recover from his pre-race crash?
On a weekend totally dominated by Mercedes, and after a tough qualifying session with a mishandling car which left them down the grid, Verstappen's chances of splitting Hamilton and Bottas appeared remote from seventh on the grid irrespective of the changeable race-day conditions he usually thrives in.
But any chance appeared absolutely gone when Verstappen committed one of F1's cardinal sins - crashing before the race had even started.
Or so it seemed.
After assessing the extent of the damage and the repair work required after Verstappen had damaged to drag the RB16 to the grid, Red Bull's mechanics set about getting it back into a state to race.
"It was not how I wanted in the beginning of course, ending up in the barriers, a bit of a lack of grip - but the mechanics did an amazing job to fix the car," said Verstappen after finishing second.
"I don't know how they did it, incredible. Everything was working as normal. To pay them back with the second place, I'm very pleased with that."
After his stellar getaway put him second to Hamilton and Stroll at the end of lap one, Verstappen got ahead of the Racing Point when he went one lap longer on his intermediate tyres after the top two stopped for dries at the end of lap three.
But any hope of catching Hamilton - who had opened a massive 3.1s lead on lap one alone - was quickly put to bed as the Mercedes simply streaked away at the front.
Bottas fightback just falls short on second
Bottas, meanwhile, had dropped to seventh after a problematic getaway from the front row. The Finn's Mercedes rolled forwards fractionally just before the start, before stopping, and he lost momentum when the lights went out for real.
Stewards deemed that no investigation over a jump start was required, with Bottas free to focus on a fightback through the field.
"It was a pretty bad race from me to be honest. Starting second, obviously we aim to win the race," admitted Bottas. "But I lost it from the start, I reacted to a light on my dash that went off. I don't know what it was."
From sixth at the end of the opening lap, Bottas fought back dilligently and was back into the podium positions by lap 36 when he overtook Stroll. From there the Finn started to chase down Verstappen for second place, with Mercedes setting up a late assault on the Red Bull with a third stop for dry tyres into the closing stages.
However, despite lapping considerably faster than his Dutch rival into the closing laps, Bottas came up 0.8s short at the flag and had to settle for third place.
Hungarian GP Race Result
|1. Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||1:36.12.473|
|2. Max Verstappen||Red Bull||+8.702|
|3. Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes||+9.452|
|4. Lance Stroll||Racing Point||+57.579|
|5. Alexander Albon||Red Bull||+78.316|
|6. Sebastian Vettel||Ferrari||+1 lap|
|7. Sergio Perez||Racing Point||+1 lap|
|8. Daniel Ricciardo||Renault||+1 lap|
|9. Carlos Sainz||Haas||+1 lap|
|10. Kevin Magnussen||McLaren||+1 lap|
|11. Charles Leclerc||Ferrari||+1 lap|
|12, Daniil Kvyat||AlphaTauri||+1 lap|
|13. Lando Norris||McLaren||+1 lap|
|14. Esteban Ocon||Renault||+1 lap|
|15. Kimi Raikkonen||Haas||+1 lap|
|16. Romain Grosjean||Alfa Romeo||+1 lap|
|17. Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo||+1 lap|
|18. George Russelll||Williams||+1 lap|
|19. Nicholas Latifi||Williams||+5 laps|
Next stop for Formula 1: Silverstone! Watch the British GP, the first of two consecutive races at the famous circuit, live on Sky Sports F1 on July 31-August 2.