The sky is blue. The grass is green. Max Verstappen is victorious.
Thirty-three seconds. That’s how long it took, after Verstappen won his seventh consecutive race, for the next single-seater to arrive on Sunday at the Hungarian Grand Prix.
Once again, the two-time reigning world champion rode alone from start to finish. He thus equaled the mark of Alberto Ascari and Nico Rosberg for the number of consecutive victories. The record of nine belongs to Sebastian Vettel. No need to specify that it is within reach of the Dutchman.
Speaking of numbers: this victory is the 12e away from Red Bull, including the last race of 2022. This is a new Formula 1 record.
“What we have experienced in the last two years is incredible. Hoping that we can maintain this for a long time, ”said Verstappen, always moderate in his answers, at the microphone of F1.
As in Great Britain two weeks ago, Lando Norris took second place. “Let’s go! Yea, baby! “Launched the young and candid 23-year-old pilot. His team-mate, Oscar Piastri, was second for much of the derby before losing momentum; he concluded in the fifth row, but showed a great aggressiveness when confronted with other cars trying to overtake him.
If McLaren showed little confidence in repeating its exploits in the last days, it is clear that its setbacks at the start of the season are officially behind it. This result cements the new rhythm of the papaya team. Could a victory be possible? Rosberg asked Norris over the F1 microphone.
“If Max retires, maybe! exclaimed the Brit with a smile. Guys [de Red Bull] are too fast. Unless they make mistakes or something happens… But I think we’re very happy where we are compared to four or five races ago. »
Little boost of confidence for Sergio Pérez: starting ninth on the grid, the Mexican adopted a different tire strategy and worked his way up to the third step of the podium.
This kind of performance and day, it will help [à ma confiance]. From now on, I hope to be on the podium every weekend.
Better luck next time
You will have understood: happiness was short-lived for fans of Lewis Hamilton. However, Saturday’s qualifying promised an intriguing race, as the Mercedes driver held the lead position for the first time since 2021…
But from the first corner, Verstappen calmed everyone’s enthusiasm. In his usual brilliance, the 25-year-old driver took the lead. All hopes of a good old fight between Red Bull and Mercedes suddenly evaporated.
Even the two McLarens of Piastri and Norris passed Hamilton on the exit of the first corner. It’s good to say.
“Sorry about that, guys,” the seven-time world champion told his team. He still managed to finish just off the podium.
At Aston Martin, Fernando Alonso and Lance Stroll closed the top 10 with, respectively, the 9e and the 10e place. This means that the stagnation continues at the green team, which can no longer keep up with the pace of the leading teams, a bit like Ferrari. Meanwhile, Red Bull, Mercedes and McLaren are progressing…
However, Aston Martin’s situation cannot be worse than that of Alpine which, for the second race in a row, saw its two drivers forced to retire. This time, however, it is Zhou Guanyu’s fault. At the first corner, the Alfa Romeo driver touched Daniel Ricciardo’s AlphaTauri, which incidentally slammed into the rear of Esteban Ocon’s Alpine.
The latter led his teammate in his exit from the track. Result: the two Alpines had to retire before even taking a lap.
Ricciardo in front of Tsunoda
The Hungarian race marked the return of Daniel Ricciardo, alias Monsieur Sourire, to Formula 1. With his 13e place, the AlphaTauri driver can say mission accomplished for this first race. Especially since he was ahead of his teammate, Yuki Tsunoda, by two places.
After the collision at the first corner, Ricciardo found himself in last place for part of the derby. Slowly, he took his ease and made up for lost places.
“Our pace wasn’t bad, maybe we could have been in the points today, I don’t know, but our strategy was good. We were just a bit unlucky,” the Australian said in a team statement.
“I’m happy to have been able to do 70 laps to learn as much as possible,” he continued. I will learn from the mistakes I made to become better. I took mental notes that I will share with the team. All in all, there are several things for which we can be happy! »