With 21 laps to go in the Hungarian Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton was 21 seconds behind. Max Verstappen had fought him off long enough that Mercedes realized their only way to victory was with an aggressive pit strategy. Hamilton had emerged from the pits with a huge lead to make up.
But with softer, newer tires on his Mercedes, he was able to chip away over a second per lap to end up on the tail of the Red Bull car. On lap 66 of 70, he went for the kill and secured his seventh Hungarian GP win.
With the pressure off, Verstappen was able to enter the pits and replace his absolutely shot tires. Despite a last-minute pit, Verstappen finished almost a minute ahead of the Ferrari cars, which took third and fourth place.
This was a stark contrast to last week’s German Grand Prix, where rain and crashes led to a chaotic and wild race. Instead, this race was a two-way battle for most of the day and came down to Hamilton having the faster car and a better pit strategy.
The other Mercedes, piloted by Valtteri Bottas, suffered a crash early in the race. Despite a second-place start, Bottas finished in eighth. Not great, but it’s safe to say that this race went better for Mercedes than last week’s disaster of a German GP.