Max Verstappen charged from 10th on the grid and overcame a mid-race spin to win the Hungarian Grand Prix as an ill-fated Ferrari race strategy left Charles Leclerc sixth.
A mistake on his first run and a power unit issue on his second left Verstappen unable to set a competitive Q3 time on Saturday.
But he made swift progress in the early laps of the grand prix as he passed a slow-starting Valtteri Bottas, former and current Red Bull team-mates Daniel Ricciardo and Sergio Perez, as well as the Alpine duo of Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon.
This left him in sixth place behind his 2021 chief title rival Lewis Hamilton, who he undercut during his first pitstop to move into fifth.
Red Bull called Verstappen in for an aggressive early second pitstop that triggered first-time poleman George Russell to pit the next lap, but the Mercedes driver came out behind Verstappen.
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Leclerc, who had overcome Russell for the race lead with a stunning move around the outside of Russell in the Turn 1 braking zone on lap 31 of 70, also made his second pitstop but Ferrari opted to fit the hard tyres while Russell and Verstappen were on mediums.
The team’s decision to take the hard tyres to Leclerc’s car instead of extending his second stint until he could pit for softs proved to be a fatal error.
It allowed Verstappen to easily catch Leclerc and pass him into Turn 1 and he looked all set to race off into a comfortable lead before he spun at the penultimate hairpin.
Verstappen rotated his RB18 around 360 degrees before getting back on track behind Leclerc.
He was able to regroup, and he passed Leclerc again a few laps later on the exit of Turn 1, using the greater traction of his mediums while Leclerc struggled on his cold hard tyres.
Leclerc’s tumble continued as he was passed by Russell before his team conceded and called him in for a third pitstop for the soft tyres. This dropped him out of the podium fight and into sixth place.
That left Russell on his mediums trying to hold off Carlos Sainz and Hamilton who both fitted softs during their second and final pitstops.
Hamilton was the faster of the two and passed Sainz on the run down to Turn 1 with seven laps to go.
This allowed Hamilton a run at his new team-mate Russell, and he passed him two laps later into Turn 2.
It marks a second successive double-podium finish for Mercedes, while Verstappen scooped his eighth victory of the year to extend his championship lead by a further 17 points.
Sainz couldn’t mount a serious challenge on Russell and instead had to settle for fourth place ahead of Perez, who had a steady drive to fifth place.
Leclerc ended up sixth, unable to fire up his soft tyres up enough to threaten the top five.
Lando Norris ran a quiet race to seventh place after McLaren’s chief rival Alpine made the same mistake as Ferrari earlier in the race by fitting the hard tyres to both of its cars at the first pitstops.
Alonso and Ocon were initially passed by the Aston Martins but managed to recover to take eighth and ninth place to equal McLaren’s race points tally.
Alpine was helped by Ricciardo locking up and hitting Stroll at Turn 2 and picking up a five-second time penalty.
Earlier in the race, Ricciardo was running behind his team-mate Norris but also made a failed switch to hard tyres which contributed to his clumsy lock-up and contact with Stroll.
Stroll allowed his retiring Aston Martin team-mate Sebastian Vettel to pass him with four laps to go for 10th place – the duo avoiding a repeat of their clash on the final lap of the French GP where Vettel believed Stroll “brake-checked” him to get the final point.
Bottas stopped on track on the exit of the chicane and caused a brief virtual safety car period with three laps to go.
Stroll ended up 11th ahead of Pierre Gasly, Zhou Guanyu, Mick Schumacher and Ricciardo.
|Pos||Name||Car||Laps||Laps Led||Total Time||Fastest Lap||Pitstops||Pts|
|1||Max Verstappen||Red Bull||70||20||1h39m35.912s||1m22.126s||2||25|
|4||Carlos Sainz Jr.||Ferrari||70||8||+14.579s||1m22s||2||12|
|5||Sergio Pérez||Red Bull||70||0||+15.688s||1m21.94s||2||10|
|8||Fernando Alonso||Alpine-Renault||69||0||+1 lap||1m23.979s||1||4|
|9||Esteban Ocon||Alpine-Renault||69||0||+1 lap||1m24.149s||1||2|
|10||Sebastian Vettel||Aston Martin-Mercedes||69||0||+1 lap||1m22.824s||2||1|
|11||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin-Mercedes||69||0||+1 lap||1m22.437s||2||0|
|12||Pierre Gasly||AlphaTauri-Red Bull||69||0||+1 lap||1m23.199s||2||0|
|13||Guanyu Zhou||Alfa Romeo-Ferrari||69||0||+1 lap||1m22.029s||2||0|
|14||Mick Schumacher||Haas-Ferrari||69||0||+1 lap||1m23.151s||2||0|
|15||Daniel Ricciardo||McLaren-Mercedes||69||0||+1 lap||1m23.654s||2||0|
|16||Kevin Magnussen||Haas-Ferrari||69||0||+1 lap||1m23.511s||3||0|
|17||Alex Albon||Williams-Mercedes||69||0||+1 lap||1m23.047s||3||0|
|18||Nicholas Latifi||Williams-Mercedes||69||0||+1 lap||1m22.478s||3||0|
|19||Yuki Tsunoda||AlphaTauri-Red Bull||68||0||+2 laps||1m23.538s||3||0|
|Valtteri Bottas||Alfa Romeo-Ferrari||65||0||DNF||1m24.002s||1||0|