‘We made all the right choices,’ says Verstappen, as he pulls off a spin-and-win in Hungary to extend his lead to 80 points

Max Verstappen hailed Red Bull’s inspired strategy in Hungary as they prevailed from 10th on the grid, avoiding a spin to extend their lead at the top of the drivers’ championship.

The Dutchman kept it clean at the start, pulled off a soft-medium-medium strategy, undermining the Ferraris and overhauling Charles Leclerc’s rubber-tyred Ferrari for the lead late – for what he admitted was an unlikely 10th win on the grid, after power unit problems cost him in qualifying.

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“Yes, I don’t think anyone really expected it, but we said to ourselves that we had to stay calm before the race, and I think we did; we made all the right choices and the race was a little choppy…in the first lap we got a little stuck and stayed out of trouble.

“But after that we made a few overtakes. But yeah, we pitted at the right time, we put the right tires on the car, I think when we planned, and then I saw basically that Charles was in a lot of trouble with the hard tyre, so it was my time to try to attack it. I got it, then I spun, did a 360, lost another position, but yeah, it was a bit of bad luck of course.

“But then we kept our heads down, got them back and pulled a gap.”

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The defending champion added that his grid laps on soft tires had convinced his strategists that hard tires were not the right compounds for the race. Leclerc spent 15 laps on hards and eventually dropped them to finish on soft compounds as he finished sixth from third on the grid.

“We had planned to start on the hard tyres, but I went to the grid on the soft tires and I was already struggling to get grip, so I thought, ‘No way to start hard! ‘

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“It’s also to the credit of the team, because of course we planned our strategy around that on the hard tyres, and then I said, ‘Okay, we’re moving on to the soft’. We had a lot of confidence , just changing… I’m very glad we did it because the hard tire was really hard and you could see that with Charles and Carlos they were sliding a lot After we chose the softs that [hard tyre] was never considered.

“Of course it’s very difficult to always be on the right side, let’s put it that way, but I think we have a lot of good guys in the team, and girls too; today I think Hannah [Schmitz]our strategist, was incredibly calm and she is very good,” he added.

2022 Hungarian Grand Prix: Max Verstappen takes 10th place on the Hungaroring grid

Verstappen have an 80-point lead over Leclerc heading into the summer break, with fourth-placed Perez just five behind the Ferrari driver. Moreover, Red Bull are 97 points ahead of Ferrari and Mercedes are just 30 points behind Scuderia.

“It’s of course a good lead,” said Verstappen, “but we can’t have too many days like yesterday – and even today we had some small problems with the clutch and the gear changes, which wasn’t great to drive.”

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