Hamilton pips Verstappen to win Hungarian Grand Prix

Mercedes' decision to pit Lewis Hamilton for medium tyres proved pivotal as the reigning F1 champion beat Max Verstappen in Hungary.

Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton celebrates winning the Hungarian Grand Prix standing on his car.   -  reuters

Lewis Hamilton benefited from a late strategic gamble by Mercedes as he pipped Max Verstappen to glory at the Hungarian Grand Prix on Sunday.

Verstappen looked set to record consecutive race wins for the first time in his career after claiming his maiden pole position in Budapest, but Hamilton's switch to a two-stop race denied him.

After failing to make an overtake attempt stick on lap 39, the reigning champion returned to the medium compound for his final stint and it paid off.

Hamilton finally got past Verstappen, who had complained his hard-compound tyres were "dead", at turn one with four laps remaining to snatch an eighth win of the season in a thrilling finale, while Sebastian Vettel beat Ferrari team-mate Charles Leclerc to third.

 

Verstappen got away well but soon had Hamilton on his tail after Valtteri Bottas locked up in the first two corners and took damage to his front wing as he was overtaken by his Mercedes team-mate and Leclerc.

Bottas pitted for a replacement and was told when he emerged at the back of the field that sixth place was a realistic prospect, but he could only recover to finish eighth.

Hamilton closed to within a second of Verstappen but the Red Bull driver stopped for hard tyres and did enough to stop the reigning champion, who was kept out for five more laps to try to increase the gap, retaining first place after pitting.

The Briton was flying on fresh rubber and made his move on Verstappen on the run down to turn four on lap 39, but he went off track and expressed his exasperation in the aftermath.

"What more can I do? I can't keep the pressure on," Hamilton said over team radio as he eased off to let his tyres cool.

Hamilton was called in for a set of the medium compound and set a new lap record as he cranked up the pressure on Verstappen, whose deteriorating hard tyres made it impossible to deny the five-time champion.