Criticism of Ferrari has been difficult enough for the Scuderia to take in recent months, but it has reached a new level of pain, and that is ridicule.
Carlos Sainz started the Hungarian Grand Prix second and third respectively, and they looked in prime position to beat Mercedes’ polesitter George Russell to the win, with Max Verstappen starting all the way down in 10th after issues in qualifying.
Following the first stop, Leclerc had jumped Sainz and was on the back of Russell, passing the Mercedes in the second stint of the race.
From there, it looked like job done for Ferrari, but they made an unbelievable howler.
Verstappen had recovered up to fourth, and was applying pressure on Sainz before he pitted for Mediums. Ferrari’s response? Bring Leclerc in for Hards.
Lacking considerable pace and grip in the cool conditions, Leclerc was a sitting duck as Verstappen passed him, before the Dutchman got the job done again having fallen back behind due to a spin.
Eventually, the Italian side had to cave and bring the 24-year-old back into the pits for a set of Softs, but he failed to catch Sergio Perez for fifth after the Mexican’s nightmare weekend.
Sainz was brought in for Softs late on, but he could not make any in-roads on Russell, before being passed by Sir Lewis Hamilton, who himself had started the race seventh following a DRS issue in qualifying.
Both drivers were on the Softs, so it was a clear indication that Mercedes’ race pace is now right back up there with the top guns, and Hamilton would eventually pass Russell to finish the race second ahead of his team-mate.
Verstappen’s second stop onto Mediums took him to the end of the race as he won by nearly 10 seconds, despite starting P10 and suffering a spin.
In the cool-down room before the podium, Verstappen, Hamilton and Russell were all watching the highlights on the screen, and Hamilton noticed the blunder the Maranello-based side had made.
“They were on the Hards?!” said a bemused Hamilton.
“Yeah,” replied Russell and Verstappen with a giggle.
Verstappen’s win now puts him 80 points clear of Leclerc in the Drivers’ Championship after another horrendous error from Ferrari cost the Monegasque victory.
*Hi James, could you put your name on this one please? 🙂