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Max Verstappen snatches win in Hungary after Ferrari strategy shocker

Max Verstappen ripped through the field from 10th on the grid to take a memorable triumph at an action-packed Hungarian Grand Prix as Ferrari’s title chances took another critical blow.

Using a superior strategy to his Ferrari rivals and with more outright car performance than Mercedes, Verstappen gained the race by 7.8 seconds from Lewis Hamilton, who recovered from seventh to second with a remarkable drive of his own.

The victory means Verstappen is now 80 points clear of title rival Charles Leclerc, who finished sixth thanks to a disastrous tire strategy.

Ferrari’s championship hopes now look in tatters, with Verstappen’s current trajectory putting him on course to take the title with several rounds left.

The race was indicative of Leclerc’s title campaign as he went from leading on lap 31 to 16 seconds off Verstappen by the finish.

Leclerc had looked like a contender for victory until Ferrari switched him to the hard compound tyre at his second pit stop, which proved to be a disastrous tire choice for every driver that used it.

Leclerc eventually made a third pit stop for soft tires on lap 54, but by that point the damage to his race was done.

Due to the various strategy options available, five different drivers led over the 70-lap race as different tire performance saw the strategies overlap.

The threat of rain lingered throughout the race but ultimately failed to impact the result, with drizzle arriving over the circuit in the final couple of laps.

Verstappen won despite a spin on lap 41, which briefly handed the lead back to Leclerc before a decisive overtake on the Ferrari on lap 45 to take the position back.

George Russell, who started from pole position, dropped to third by the finish after a thrilling battle over second place with teammate Hamilton five laps from the finish.

Carlos Sainz took fourth for Ferrari despite starting second — underlining the Italian team’s struggles at the Hungaroring — but was ahead of the second Red Bull of Sergio Perez in fifth and Leclerc in sixth. Outside the top three teams, Lando Norris was seventh ahead of Fernando Alonso, Esteban Ocon and Sebastian Vettel.

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