Ferrari Blunder Leaves Rivals Laughing as Verstappen Races to F1 Hungarian Grand Prix Victory

Photo credit: NurPhoto - Getty Images
Max Verstappen heads into the month-long summer break of Formula 1 with a commanding lead of 80 points after a convincing win at the Hungarian Grand Prix, while Ferrari faltered and Mercedes marched forward.
Autoweek summarizes the main talking points from Budapest:
Ferrari's latest mistake a ridiculous affair
"They were on the hards," asked a confused Lewis Hamilton in the cool room in front of the podium.
"Yes," chuckled winner Verstappen.
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Even former arch-rivals were unanimous in their surprise - and almost mocking - at Ferrari's strategy. This was another race where Ferrari snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.
Ferrari converted second and third on the grid, combined with a favorable track position, into fourth and sixth through the checkered flag for much of the day. His title ambitions are over before the autumn rounds have started and now, amid the Mercedes resurgence, he certainly can't even be sure of second place.
Photo credit: NurPhoto - Getty Images
So what happened this time?
Leclerc did the first two stints on medium tires and took the lead from Russell, but at his second stop Ferrari put him on the hard tires in what proved to be a disastrous decision given warm-up difficulties and lack of power. "This tire is ****," exclaimed Leclerc, bleeding time and positions and eventually making another stop to take on softs, relegating him to sixth place.
"Of course, such a race is frustrating," said Leclerc. “And overall we need to get better. You know it always feels like there's always something going on, whatever, reliability, bugs, whatever. But we better have to put a weekend together.”
Leclerc explained: “The pace was very good today, on the medium, on a strong tyre, it was really good. But then of course we lost the pace on the hard track. So we made one more stop than everyone else who lost 20 seconds, plus the five or six laps on the hard where we lost a second a lap. So that’s a lot of race time.”
But Leclerc's perspective was countered by team boss Mattia Binotto, who pointed to the overall performance of the F1-75 Ferrari racer.
"What we really lacked today was speed and pace," said Binotto. "I don't think we could have won today. And I don't know why, because it was the first time in the first 13 races where we kind of didn't have the pace to be in there to win."
Why the hard tires?
"Based on our data and analysis we knew the hard wasn't as good as the middle but they could have been faster after 11 laps in the stint and it was a 30 lap stint," Binotto said. "So, yeah, they didn't perform like we hoped in the race and we wouldn't have hit him hard if we'd known they were going to be so bad today. Overall they didn't work, but why they didn't work today again explains why the car wasn't fast today.”
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Sainz, meanwhile, pursued a similar medium/medium/soft strategy to Hamilton, but lacked the performance of the Mercedes driver - underscoring Binotto's belief that overall pace was to blame, not tire choice.
"It was a fight every lap," said Sainz. “No balance in the car. I couldn't push because I had the front tire open. I was just struggling quite a bit with the car and I'm not surprised that I finished P4 because the feeling in the car was pretty bad. For me, if you compare my pace on softs to Lewis, it's clear that from being much faster on Friday [in hotter conditions] we've slowed down today.
The story goes on

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