Verstappen’s Hungary win “right up there” with his best – Horner

2022 Hungarian Grand Prix

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Max Verstappen’s drive to win the Hungarian Grand Prix ranks among his best victories in Formula 1, says Red Bull team principal Christian Horner.

Horner said Verstappen’s victory was “right up there” with his best. He started 10th and immediately got ahead of Daniel Ricciardo and Valtteri Bottas. Nonetheless Horner said Verstappen’s getaway was “the first time I’ve seen him being cautious.”

“He got himself a little bit pinched in the middle of the pack,” Horner explained. “But thereafter his pace, the way he managed the issues that he had, were phenomenal.”

Red Bull realised before the race began that the hard tyres wasn’t going to work in the race as the conditions were cooler than expected.

“We were going to start the race on the hard tyre because statistically that looked like our best race,” said Horner. “But the drivers were struggling to generate temperature in the soft tyre on the way to the grid and so it felt ludicrous to be starting the race on a hard tyre, particularly with some [wet] weather around.

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“So we converted both drivers on the grid to the soft tyre, which committed us very much to a two-stop, but we made it work for them and it played out beautifully.”

Being able to pass cars ahead in the first stint brought Verstappen and team mate Sergio Perez into the mix among the front-runners, said Horner.

“If you looked at last year’s race, the first probably 25% we were expecting to be sat behind a whole bunch of cars. But the weather brought into play a difference in tyre strategy as well, so we then had a grip advantage that we were able to make use of as well early on against those cars. The two of them came through the pack quite quickly and it wasn’t long before we had Ferrari and Mercedes in sight.”

The race swung towards Red Bull when Ferrari brought Leclerc into the pits for a second stop in response to Verstappen’s, said Horner. He didn’t expect their rivals to react to Verstappen coming in.

“It felt that Ferrari were on a very different strategy at that point,” he said. “They obviously looked to bank track position.

“But as soon as they pitted Charles and brought out a set of hard tyres, it really felt that a victory was possible.”

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2022 Hungarian Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...
Claire Cottingham
Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

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19 comments on “Verstappen’s Hungary win “right up there” with his best – Horner”

  1. Seems some strategist are listening to their drivers as they couldn’t get heat in the soft easy so Hard was not option anymore.

    1. It’s even worse than that, with all the technology in those cars, how could Ferrari not notice the lack of temperature on the soft tires like Red Bull did on their lap to the grid ? How could they fail to see that the Alpines were struggling in the hard ? I’m still baffled, days after that GP.

      1. @arhn
        You would be even more baffled if I told that Binotto was in a complete denial mode when he told the Italian media that the strategy was right and there is no need to change anything with regard to the pitwall. He also said that other teams that have won world championships do make mistakes but they keep the same people in charge !

  2. Red Bull take input they get from, of all things, the lap to the grid to convert their strategy from starting on hards and a possible onestopper to starting on softs and a definite twostopper. They make their own race and strategy.

    Meanwhile Ferrari react in a bad way to others. Didn’t run anywhere near long enough on the mediums even when Leclerc was feeling good on them, which made them go for a tyre that RBR knew from the lap to the grid it wasn’t going to work (and which Alpine also learned and Ferrari should’ve seen too).

    Max overtook Leclerc twice. In the same stint. On the Hungaroring. Ferrari, get it together.

    1. Yes, Red Bull seem to work as they should – taking imputs from everywhere in the team to finetune their strategy, car and execution of things @mattds, they just work.

  3. Verstappen’s Hungary win “right up there” with his best – Horner… so if he’s lucky he might get an 8 for his efforts in the Racefans driver rankings !

    1. Don’t think he deserves an 8, that’s given for a perfect weekend, he made a costing mistake in quali and one that could’ve cost in the race, 7 imo according to the harsh ranking system on here.

      1. I’m not his biggest fan but there were some extenuating circumstances for the spin at least with it being a bit damp on the track at least, it wasn’t like he spun out on a dry circuit like certain rivals have. I don’t think a 7 or 8 is bad but the complaints usually come through those refusing to see how Verstappen could score less than anyone else when he wins but have spent years devaluing the performance of Hamilton based on his car performance.

        You can’t have it both ways, either you offset the car into the weighting or you don’t. For me Leclerc and Verstappen have the best cars and any time they don’t win or get pole should be marked down for them. Swings and roundabouts, I don’t think a 7 for Verstappen would be harsh this race.

        Horner is just doing good PR for his team and driver, you can’t compare this race to previous years when the top 3 teams were well clear of the rest of the field by such a massive margin that they could overtake fairly easily by Hungaroring standards. Nothing wrong with building hype for your brand though, it’s what he’s paid to do.

  4. Brazil 2019, Austria 2019, France 2021, US 2021, Hungary 2022. In no particular order.

    1. Nice list. In Hungary 2022 he started 10th, giving the win some extra juice ;-)

    2. I would add his maiden win in Barcelona to that list. He inherited the lead with the Mercedes pair crashing out, but he drove a masterful race keeping Kimi behind

  5. Didn’t see it that way myself.

    Most cars he passed realises that he wasn’t going to be the car they were racing and pretty much let him by. The front runners essentially tripped themselves up.

    He did well but I would t rate it anywhere near one of his best.

    1. Sorry was that a comment on Hamilton in Brazil 2021 or Verstappen in Hungary 22. Or both ?

  6. If that was “right up there” with his best wins, all I can say is – lacklustre career so far. Nothing remarkable about it whatsoever, just had no viable competition. And his car’s probably got a hidden leafspring somewhere, or traction control on the engine mapping, or the floor’s like Rolf’s wobble board…..

    1. I think Max secretly has 50 BHP extra

    2. Or he throws bananas out of his car, like in Mario Kart

  7. I agree with Horner. It was one of his best drives. Lap in, lap out he consistently was getting a few tenths closer to the car ahead; the spin just showed how close to the edge he was driving. He was very consistent. Horner has the data and can see his performance and is best to judge how expertly he ran the car. No hero driving, just consistently getting the best from the car and the situation.

  8. If Hungary 2022 is one of Verstappen’s “best” drives, then it illustrates how underwhelming his “best” drives are.

    After 8yrs in F1, I am yet to see anything truly scintillating that I can compare to Hamilton’s best drives from him – irrespective of whether he has the best car or not.

    1. I couldnt disagree more. Finally a driver without having a car that is miles ahead of the rest of the field shows true talent and speed, rather than just taking the opportunity without ability to reflect on oneself.

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