Max Verstappen second in Hungarian Grand Prix: 'We were not fast enough'

Published on 04 August 2019 by Kees-Jan Koster

Max Verstappen finished second in the Hungarian Grand Prix. The Dutchman, who started for the first time in his Formula 1 career from pole, held on to the lead at the start. He was under pressure from Hamilton for a large portion of the race and blocked a couple of attacks. With 21 laps to go, Hamilton went for a second pitstop and with his newer tyres the Brit was able to overtake Verstappen in the final phase of the race and win. Max finished in P2 and scored an extra point for the fastest lap. Sebastian Vettel finished third.

“We were not fast enough”, says Max after the race. “This race was the race I pushed the hardest to stay ahead, but we did not have the speed. Nothing to be ashamed of, because if you look at the rest the two of us were a lot faster. We tried to do a one-stopper and Lewis had the opportunity to do a two-stopper and that worked out for him today.”

When asked if he could have responded to Hamilton’s second stop, Verstappen answers: “I said over the board radio: ‘if you see that Lewis is not faster than me, then we can do that stop too’, but he was straight away faster so then you have to go on. If you stop then, you will be behind. I tried everything to keep the hard tyres alive, but you know it is a lost cause. You see him come closer and try the best you can. After he passed me, we did the fastest lap. It is nice to get an extra point.”

Even though Max was not able to redeem his first pole, he is satisfied with the weekend: “We cannot complain. Of course, if you start from pole, you want to win, but you saw straight away that we did not really have the speed. That makes yesterday even nicer because you know that you outperformed the car. We still finished second and set the fastest lap. I congratulate Lewis for winning the race. He pushed me hard and I like that. Today we did not win, but it was a good day and a good weekend for us.”

Under sunny conditions the race on the Hungaroring gets underway. Max gets away well from pole. He defends the inside in the first corner and keeps the lead. Valtteri Bottas is passed by teammate Hamilton for second position. The Mercedes teammates touch slightly, and Charles Leclerc seizes the opportunity to pass Bottas also. In doing so his front wing hits Bottas. Sebastian Vettel then also passes the Finn.

In the sixth lap Bottas pits to get a new front wing. After a stop of more than 14 seconds Bottas comes back out on track. In the following laps Verstappen and Hamilton increase the gap to both Ferraris. Hamilton stays about two seconds behind the Dutchman.

In lap 24 Max says over the board radio that he is losing grip. One lap later Verstappen goes into the pits to change his medium tyres for a new set of hard tyres. The mechanics of Aston Martin Red Bull Racing carry out a faultless stop of 2.6 seconds and Max comes out in P2, just in front of Leclerc and about eighteen seconds behind Hamilton.

Verstappen immediately sets the fastest lap and closes in on Hamilton. The brit pits in lap 32 and comes out on track behind Max. Max leads the race with about five seconds ahead of Hamilton. On his new tyres Hamilton closes in on Verstappen and is from lap 36 within a second and can use DRS. Verstappen, has to lap multiple backmarkers which gives Hamilton the opportunity to attack the Red Bull driver. Max keeps Hamilton behind in a beautiful fight.

In lap 49 Hamilton makes a second pit stop. The Brit gets new medium tyres on his car, and comes out on track in P2, 21 seconds behind Verstappen. Romain Grosjean is in lap 52 the first drop out. The Frenchman has to park his Haas in the pits with technical issues.

On his new tyres, Hamilton closes in fast on Verstappen. With five laps to go, Hamilton is right behind Max. One lap later Hamilton assisted by DRS passes Max on the long straight. Verstappen says over the board radio that his tyres are ‘dead’. Straight away Max comes into the pits for a new set of soft tyres. With ample margin to the Ferraris the Dutchman comes back out on track. On this new tyres Verstappen sets the fastest race lap (1:17.103) and takes the extra point. With his second position Max scores his first podium in Hungary, 25 years after the podium finish of his father Jos at the same circuit. Hamilton wins the race, while both Ferraris of Vettel and Leclerc are well behind and finish third and fourth. Carlos Sainz finished fifth the same as in Hockenheim. Pierre Gasly, Kimi Raikkonen, Valtteri Bottas, Lando Norris and Alexander Albon complete the top ten.

Results Grand Prix Hungary:

1Lewis HamiltonHAMMercedes701:35:03.79625
2Max VerstappenVERRed Bull Racing Honda70+17.796s19
3Sebastian VettelVETFerrari70+61.433s15
4Charles LeclercLECFerrari70+65.250s12
5Carlos SainzSAIMcLaren Renault69+1 lap10
6Pierre GaslyGASRed Bull Racing Honda69+1 lap8
7Kimi RäikkönenRAIAlfa Romeo Racing Ferrari69+1 lap6
8Valtteri BottasBOTMercedes69+1 lap4
9Lando NorrisNORMcLaren Renault69+1 lap2
10Alexander AlbonALBScuderia Toro Rosso Honda69+1 lap1
11Sergio PerezPERRacing Point BWT Mercedes69+1 lap0
12Nico HulkenbergHULRenault69+1 lap0
13Kevin MagnussenMAGHaas Ferrari69+1 lap0
14Daniel RicciardoRICRenault69+1 lap0
15Daniil KvyatKVYScuderia Toro Rosso Honda68+2 laps0
16George RussellRUSWilliams Mercedes68+2 laps0
17Lance StrollSTRRacing Point BWT Mercedes68+2 laps0
18Antonio GiovinazziGIOAlfa Romeo Racing Ferrari68+2 laps0
19Robert KubicaKUBWilliams Mercedes67+3 laps0
0Romain GrosjeanGROHaas Ferrari49DNF0