Max Verstappen’s first-ever victory at the Hungaroring saw the reigning World Champion extend his lead in the Drivers’ Championship to a 80 points, after recovering from a poor qualifying.
The Dutchman started the Hungarian Grand Prix from P10, after a power unit issue meant he was unable to post a lap-time in Q3.
Verstappen’s power unit problem ultimately saved his entire weekend it turned out, after Red Bull team principal Christian Horner admitted he was “grateful” that the Dutch driver suffered the problem that ended his Saturday.
Whilst repairing the broken part before the race, Red Bull discovered that the entire power unit desperately needed replacing.
The Austrian team changed both Verstappen’s and Sergio Pérez’s power units as a “precaution”, as they both had a spare engine in their pool.
This meant neither faced a grid penalty, allowing Verstappen to start from P10 and Pérez P11.
After the race, Horner dramatically revealed that Verstappen’s engine was just 12 kilometres away from a complete failure.
It means that had Verstappen not faced an issue during qualifying, then he would’ve suffered a full power unit failure on the way round to the grid on Sunday.
“We changed the power unit because there was a part that broke on Max’s car [in qualifying],” the Red Bull team principal told reporters.
“Luckily we are here now (as race winners) [but] with the maximum hindsight it’s lucky the part broke yesterday because with 12 kilometres more, it would have broken during the laps to the grid.
“So we decided to change the whole power unit rather than trying to fix it there. And as a precaution, we also changed Checo’s engine.”
Both of the engines taken out by Red Bull have been deemed as repairable, so have therefore been put back into Verstappen’s and Pérez’s pools.
With Verstappen going on to win the race and with his team-mate finishing in P5, Red Bull now lead Scuderia Ferrari by 97-points going into the summer break.
The gap between the pair should’ve been reduced on Sunday; however, another Ferrari strategic error saw Charles Leclerc go from having the race lead to finishing sixth.
Ferrari fitted the Hard compound tyre onto Leclerc’s F1-75, despite warnings from Pirelli not to use the hard rubber.
The low track temperatures meant that the Hard compound was almost impossible to warm-up, something Leclerc found out whilst Verstappen overtook him with ease, twice.
Verstappen spun not long after passing Leclerc for the first time, before rejoining the circuit and overtaking the Monegasque driver again shortly after.