Tuesday 20 August 2019

Strategic pit stop gives Hamilton edge to deny Verstappen

Motorsport

Hamilton will now head into the summer break with a mammoth 61-point championship lead over Valtteri Bottas. Photo: Laszlo Balogh/AP Photo
Hamilton will now head into the summer break with a mammoth 61-point championship lead over Valtteri Bottas. Photo: Laszlo Balogh/AP Photo

Phil Duncan

Lewis Hamilton passed Max Verstappen with three laps remaining to win the Hungarian Grand Prix.

Hamilton was within one second of Verstappen when he was called in for a second pit stop - Mercedes hoping that a switch to fresh tyres would provide the British star with a chance to usurp Verstappen.

The strategic move by Formula One's all-conquering team proved inspired.

Hamilton left the pit lane 21 seconds behind Verstappen with 21 laps remaining, the Briton lighting up the time sheets before reeling in and catching the back of Verstappen's Red Bull.

The world champion then made the move for victory stick around the outside of Verstappen on lap 67.

Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel finished third ahead of his team-mate Charles Leclerc.

Hamilton will now head into the summer break with a mammoth 61-point championship lead over Valtteri Bottas.

The Finnish driver ended the race in eighth after he had to stop for a new front wing following a collision with Leclerc on the opening lap.

"Wow, just wow, mate," said Hamilton's engineer, Pete Bonnington.

"What a drive. What a strategy."

Hamilton replied: "That was a tall order but I am grateful you did it. That feels so good. I hope you are feeling it too."

Verstappen has not been hot off the line in recent races, but the pole-sitter retained the lead with a near-perfect start on the long charge down to the opening corner.

Verstappen moved to cover off both Mercedes cars, but a sloppy start from Bottas allowed Hamilton to blast around his team-mate.

The flying Dutchman and Hamilton raced off into the distance and when the former stopped for new rubber on lap 24, he was less than a second ahead of his rival.

But Mercedes kept Hamilton out, and when he eventually stopped six laps later, he emerged six seconds down.

Then the reigning World champion put his foot down and wiped out Verstappen's lead in a handful of laps. On lap 39, Hamilton sensed his opportunity, and in a gung-ho move for victory fell off the track at the fourth bend.

Hamilton fell back, and started to reel Verstappen back in before Mercedes made the strategy call which won Hamilton the race.

Irish Independent

The Throw-In: Tipp throw off the shackles while Kilkenny’s soul-searching begins

In association with Bord Gáis Energy

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport