After some fantastic wheel-to-wheel racing, Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton passed Red Bull's Max Verstappen to win the Hungarian Grand Prix with four laps to go, following a second pit stop late in the race to gain an advantage from fresher P Zero Yellow medium tyres. Hamilton, who started third on the grid, caught up with Verstappen again - who claimed a first pole yesterday - after his second stop to reprise their duel and ensure a spectacular finish.
Both Verstappen and Hamilton began the race on what appeared to be identical one-stop medium-hard strategies, with Hamilton making his first stop six laps later than Verstappen. Having failed to get past Verstappen, Mercedes then opted to pit Hamilton for a second stop back onto mediums, which proved to be the winning strategy.
After being passed by Hamilton, Verstappen also made a final stop onto the soft tyre in the closing stages, claiming the extra championship point for fastest lap.
The race was run at a frenetic pace: the leading duo were able to make their first stops without losing position to the third and fourth placed cars. The fastest race lap was also more than three seconds faster than the equivalent time from last year.
The top six on the grid all started on the medium tyre, with McLaren's Carlos Sainz the highest-placed driver to start on soft, from seventh on the grid. The Spaniard finished fifth in the race after stopping once, from the soft to the hard.
A wide variety of tyre tactics were seen throughout the race, with five very different strategies in the top five.
Mario Isola: "This was a really exciting grand prix with a big divergence of strategies, which kept us guessing all the way to the final laps! Mercedes took a bold call to pit Hamilton again but it proved to be the right decision: even though the race was very nearly a one-stopper for both Hamilton and Max Verstappen. After mixed conditions in free practice and qualifying today was dry and warm: this almost certainly contributed to the unpredictable race outcome, as nobody really had any reliable long run data on the tyres in these conditions. Despite these demanding circumstances, all three compounds stood up extremely well to the challenge, with all of them contributing strongly to the entertaining race action."