F1: 5 Takeaways from the Hungarian Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton Mercedes F1 Hungarian Grand Prix
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It was déjà vu at the Hungarian Grand Prix with Max Verstappen victorious, a double Mercedes podium & Ferrari strategy blunders.

A new pole sitter. Uncertain weather throughout the Grand Prix. Tires that struggled to switch on throughout the field. And multiple teams bringing new upgrades. But despite all those differences, in the end, it was a repeat of Paul Ricard. The Hungarian Grand Prix sends the F1 paddock off for the summer break with a six-car battle at the front, but a title race that looks all but over.

1 – Unshakable Form From Verstappen

If Ferrari has seemingly taken strong positions and thrown them away, Verstappen is the opposite. The Red Bull driver has shrugged off any setbacks or hurdles as an expected champion should. Damage at Silverstone was still turned into a seventh-place finish. A tenth-place start in Hungary into his eighth win of the season. He’s been distancing himself from his teammate the past few weeks and looks to be doing the same to the entire grid for the 2022 title.

2 – Mercedes Are Back (Now?)

Incremental steps. Slowly, but methodically, the eight-time reigning Constructors Champions have been gaining on the leaders. First, they separated themselves from the rest of the field. Then the third place finishes came more regularly. Improving pace and throughout it all consistency. Now the team enters the summer hiatus in their best form this season and with the best version of their 2022 car. And it’s not just the back-to-back double podiums. Mercedes have now had a driver on the podium for six straight races.

3 – Groundhog Day for Ferrari

Strong in practice. Strong in qualifying. Great pace and running well in the opening stages of the Grand Prix. Then it happens. The ‘it’ changes from race to race. Car failure, driver error, pit strategy mistake, etc. It truly has been a tale of two seasons for Ferrari. They have dramatically improved from last season and have two drivers who not only can win races but seriously challenge for the title. But Ferrari is struggling to perform like a title-challenging team. Unless there is a dramatic turnaround in the fall, 2022 will be a season where Ferrari stepped forward but wasn’t ready to be the frontrunner on a weekly basis.

4 – Underwhelming Upgrades at the Hungarian Grand Prix

Several teams were hoping to find momentum heading into the break. Aston Martin trialed a new rear wing to limited success. Tenth and 11th for the second straight Grand Prix. But for a team with title-challenging aspirations in the future, and now with an open seat, one point a weekend won’t pull them higher than 8th this season. Haas finally brought their first upgrade of the season, which went on the car of team leader Kevin Magnussen. While it was a tricky day for the weather and tires, Schumacher in the original Haas spec finished two places ahead. Then there was Nicholas Latifi who finally got the Williams upgrades his teammate Alex Albon has been racing with the past few weeks. Latifi will be pleased to be running with Albon, but not still stuck at the back of the pack. A few weeks to reset and try again at Spa.

5 – Alfa Romeo Struggles

The Sauber team was riding high heading home from Canada. With a double points finish they were safely in sixth place and looking towards a battle with McLaren and Alpine. Since then it has fallen apart. A double-DNF at Silverstone, although to no fault of Zhou. Followed by both drivers finishing outside of the points for this recent tripleheader. Alfa Romeo now heads into the summer break closer to Aston Martin in 9th than they are to McLaren in 5th. After seven points finishes in the first nine rounds, new team leader Valtteri Bottas was loving life at his new team. They will be hoping to rediscover their form and sort out their car’s issues when they arrive in Belgium.
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