Max Verstappen cruised to another majestic victory on Sunday, reeling off a record 12th straight win for Red Bull as he dominated the Hungarian Grand Prix with a textbook drive from lights to flag. The defending double world champion grabbed the lead from pole-sitter Lewis Hamilton at the start and remained in control for his seventh successive victory, his ninth in 11 races this year and the 44th of his career. More significantly, it was Red Bull’s 12th consecutive win, breaking a 35-year-old record they had shared with McLaren, who won 11 straight races in 1988 with Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna as their driver pair.
Verstappen came home a massive 33.7 seconds ahead of McLaren’s Lando Norris with his Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez in third.
“For the team 12 wins in a row is incredible. Hopefully we can keep this momentum going for a long time,” said Verstappen
Verstappen’s seventh straight win stretched the double world champion’s lead over Perez to 110 points in the championship.
Seven-time world champion Hamilton, who started the race from a record 104th pole position, was outpaced at the start and finished fourth for Mercedes ahead of Oscar Piastri in the second McLaren and the Ferrari of Charles Leclerc.
Leclerc, however, took a five-second penalty, and was ‘passed’ by George Russell in the second Mercedes with Carlos Sainz finishing eighth in the second Ferrari ahead of the Aston Martin paid two-time champion Fernando Alonso and Lance Stroll.
“What an unbelievable race,” said Verstappen on his cool-down lap.
“It was good to drive, so enjoyable. It was unbelievable and thank-you everyone.”
He added: “I had a good start and had good ‘bite’. I had the inside, so I knew the corner was mine and it all worked out well. Then, it was my race and the car was fantastic.”
Norris said: “It was a tough race and it wasn’t easy to hold off Checo at the end when he was catching up. But it’s another podium for me and for the team. We’re making great progress.”
The race began in hot conditions with an air temperature of 30 degrees Celsius and the track at 54, factors sure to affect tyre performance. Verstappen wore an ice-packed vest on the grid under a parasol.
Hamilton made a strong initial start, but was swamped at Turn One, Verstappen squeezing through on the inside and both McLarens taking advantage to push him down to fourth.
Gifted the lead, Verstappen took control as Hamilton, so delighted by his record 104th pole position, apologised. “It’s a long race,” Mercedes reminded him.
On a busy opening lap Russell, from 18th on the grid, moved up to 13th as the two Alpines collided and retired, Zhou Guanyu having pushed the returning Daniel Ricciardo into Esteban Ocon who hit his teammate Pierre Gasly. The Chinese driver was given a five-second penalty.
Red Bull pitted Verstappen for hard tyres on lap 23 without him losing his lead.
Perez, in the mood, passed Piastri forcefully at Turn Two on lap 48 as Leclerc was penalized for speeding in the pit-lane before Hamilton made a second stop for mediums.
He re-joined fifth, close to a minute behind Verstappen who led imperiously ahead of Norris, Perez and Piastri with 20 laps remaining, the Dutchman afforded a luxurious 2.6 seconds stop on lap 51 before clocking the fastest lap as he surged to the flag.
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