Budapest was a fantastic place for F1 to finish the first part of the season. There, Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton took a record sixth win in Hungary, his fifth for the season, using teammate Valtteri Bottas as a rear gunner against the Ferraris.
At lights out, polesitter Hamilton led cleanly into Turn 1, followed by Bottas – who fended off the Ferrari of Kimi Räikkönen to retain second, Sebastian Vettel, who started on the softs with his rivals ahead on the ultras, passed his teammate for third into Turn 2.
Up front, Hamilton set a string of fastest laps to open up a 3-second gap to Bottas by Lap 6 – when Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen retired from fifth, bringing out the Virtual Safety Car.
At the restart on the next lap, Hamilton again stretched his legs to pull out a 5.8 second gap on Bottas by Lap 14, while Vettel in third was struggling to close the 1.8 second gap.
Meanwhile, Daniel Ricciardo was up to eighth from 12th on the grid.
Räikkönen, in fourth, was the first of the lead pack to pit on Lap 14 but an issue with the left rear meant a 5.1 second stop, dropping him to sixth.
Bottas pitted to protect against the undercut, with a quick 2.5 second stop putting him in fourth; as Vettel in second now picked up the pace.
The German started eating into Hamilton’s 8.7 second lead, getting it down to 6.5 before the Brit’s stop on Lap 25, promoting Vettel to the lead.
But the German lost time through traffic before his Lap 39 stop for the ultrasofts, with an issue on the front left costing him again, dropping him to third behind Bottas.
The Finn kept the Ferrari at bay, before another Virtual Safety Car for the retiring McLaren of Stoffel Vandoorne.
On Lap 65, a frustrated Vettel went around the outside of Bottas into Turn 1 but attempted to make it stick into Turn 2 – where they touched, dropping the Finn to fourth. Bottas made contact with Ricciardo three laps later, with his ageing soft tyres finished. But Hamilton was in control to the flag.