A scintillating drive by Lewis Hamilton has seen the six-time world champion obliterate his competition in the Hungarian Grand Prix to claim an unprecedented eighth career victory at the Hungaroring.
An elated Max Verstappen would see off a last lap challenge by a rapid Valtteri Bottas to claim second in an incredible result after the Dutch driver had crashed into the barriers on the lap to the gird prior to the start of the race.
The Red Bull team hastily rebuilt a damaged front suspension package and front wing, finishing their repairs just moments before the formation lap.
Lance Stroll would cruise to an unchallenged fourth place as the Racing Point driver secured a healthy bag of championship points.
Ferrari had welcomed a fresh turn of pace for the weekend as the Scuderia teammates locked out the third row of the grid in qualifying. But a duff strategy call to fit a set of the soft tyres on Charles Leclerc in the second stint left the Monegasque ailing down the order and eventually finishing in 11th
Sebastian Vettel fared slightly better in the second Ferrari to claim his best finish of 2020 in sixth ahead of qualifying star Sergio Perez who struggled to unlock the same level of pace as yesterday and would hold off Daniel Ricciardo and Kevin Magnussen to lay claim to seventh.
After two strong races in Austria, McLaren seemed nowhere in today’s Grand Prix as the Woking outfit could only muster one car inside the top 10 as Sainz pulled off a late move on Leclerc to claim a solitary point in tenth position.
A fast-starting Verstappen saw the recently rebuilt Red Bull challenge for the lead on the run down into Turn 1 as Hamilton charged out in front, pulling out a three-second gap over his Dutch rival at the end of the opening lap.
An earlier shower had laid down a subtle film of water which made the opening handful of laps slippery as drivers gingerly tussled for track position, though a change to dry tyres was imminent.
Lap four saw a flurry of action in the pitlane as several drivers switched out their Intermediate tyres for slicks, with Verstappen the last driver to make the change and re-joined 7.1secs down on Hamilton.
The biggest beneficiary of the opening lap dramas were the Haas duo who both made their switch to slicks at the end of the formation lap and had inherited third and fourth on track after everyone had ditched the Intermediates.
Stroll would quickly relegate Romain Grosjean from fifth as Hamilton extended his advantage over Verstappen at the head of the field out to beyond ten seconds but was warned over the radio of a lurking threat of rain set to strike as a blanket of leaden sky rolled over the Hungarian circuit.
Pierre Gasly would be the race’s first and only retirement when the AlphaTauri returned to pitlane on Lap 16 as pungent smoke expelled itself from the rear exhaust of the Frenchman.
The two Ferraris were the first to make their second stops with both cars fitting the Hard tyre to run to the end of the race was the forecasted rain amounted to little more than some scattered spots as race leader Hamilton extended his opening stint until Lap 38 where the Mercedes driver donned a new set of Mediums
Some 19-seconds adrift of Hamilton, Verstappen quickly came threat by the second Mercedes of Bottas as lapped traffic came into play for the leading trio to navigate.
The Finn would then cause a strategic headache on the Red Bull pit wall by pitting for a third time twenty laps from the finish. Verstappen was nursing worn rubber and the Bottas began to hack into the Red Bull’s margin.
Hamilton’s lead was insurmountable, and the Mercedes pilot had enough margin in hand to box for a set of the soft tyres in a bid to snare the extra championship point for setting the fastest lap while maintaining his lead.
It was Groundhog Day for Verstappen as once again his second-place finish came under threat by Bottas in the dying stages of the race, though this time around the Red Bull had enough in the tank to maintain his spot on the rostrum, finishing 8.7s behind Hamilton.
Hamilton’s now moves him onto 86 career wins, five shy of F1 legend Michael Schumacher’s all-time record of 91 Grand Prix victories.
The Brit now usurps his teammate for the lead of the world championship as the F1 grid goes into a two-week hiatus before it revs back into action for a doubleheader at Silverstone on August 2 and 9.