Max Verstappen stormed to victory at the Hungarian Grand Prix to seal a slice of history for Red Bull as the new all-time record holder for the most consecutive wins by a constructor in Formula 1.
But who had reason to join the reigning World Champions in celebrating a well-executed weekend in Budapest?
Max Verstappen – 9
Qualified: P2, Race: P1
Verstappen was searching for a sixth consecutive pole position and looked on course to achieve that when he stuck it on provisional pole in Q3. However, a scruffy final sector on his final run meant he didn’t improve, opening the door for Hamilton.
Nevertheless, he parked that to the back of his mind and nailed the start to immediately jump into a lead he wouldn’t relinquish. Amid doubts from Mercedes about Red Bull’s speed, his winning margin of 33.7s was the biggest the 2023 season has seen to this point to cap an emphatic display.
While Perez was able to avoid being absent from Q3 for the sixth consecutive race weekend, wounding up ninth was hardly demonstrative of a job well done. The Mexican admitted after qualifying that a mistake in the first sector had cost him.
Starting on the Hard tyre, Perez made solid progress throughout the 70-lap race. He overcut Leclerc after a slow stop, sliced by the sister Ferrari of Sainz and then pulled moves on the Mercedes pair plus Piastri to recover to third place by the chequered flag.
A welcome return to the podium for the 33-year-old – but one he’ll need to use as a springboard to alleviate the recent building pressure surrounding his seat.
Lando Norris – 9
Qualified: P3, Race: P2
It speaks volumes of McLaren’s remarkable recovery of late that Norris was somewhat disappointed to end up 0.085s away from claiming his second career pole position.
With McLaren and Mercedes appearing evenly matched in race trim, both McLarens getting ahead of Lewis Hamilton at the start proved pivotal to Norris landing a podium.
The Brit was fortuitous that the priority on pit stops fell his way to undercut his way past his team-mate. But Norris showed he had the speed by extending the margin greatly to Piastri behind, which would prove essential when Perez and Hamilton began to close him down in the dying embers.
Oscar Piastri – 7
Qualified: P4, Race: P5
For the second consecutive weekend, Piastri was near enough matching Norris throughout the weekend and looked like a good bet for a maiden podium at one stage.
However, apparent damage saw him struggle for speed past the first round of pit stops and he dropped behind Hamilton and Perez to finish three places shy of Norris.
Lewis Hamilton – 8.5
Qualified: P1, Race: P4
Hamilton stunned everybody when he pinched pole position – his first since December 2021 – by 0.003s at the death in Q3 to bring an end to Verstappen’s recent qualifying superiority.
But his stellar work in qualifying was instantly undone by a poor getaway that eventually saw him get shuffled down to fourth by the end of the opening lap.
Whilst he was able to use superior tyre management to regain the place he had lost at the start to Piastri, Hamilton ran out of laps to close down either Perez or Norris.
George Russell – 7
Qualified: P18, Race: P6
Last year’s Hungarian GP pole sitter was made to rue traffic on the build-up to his final run in Q1 that witnessed him become a shock casualty from the first segment.
Despite Mercedes’ pre-race simulations anticipating Russell could manage a best of seventh, the ex-Williams driver went one better to eclipse both Ferraris for sixth. A strong 28-lap run on the Hard tyre at the start of the race proved crucial to opening up overtaking opportunities later on.
Charles Leclerc – 7
Qualified: P6, Race: P7
Leclerc appears to have reasserted his superiority over Sainz in qualifying recently and maximised the machinery at his disposal to start sixth following a challenging Saturday for Ferrari.
He was then running a promising opening stint on the Medium when a 9s pit stop cost him a place to his team-mate. While Leclerc would recover that particular place, the Monegasque racer was to blame for speeding in the pits and earning a five-second time penalty that ultimately cost him a position and two points to Russell.
Carlos Sainz – 6.5
Qualified: P11, Race: P8
The debut of the Alternative Tyre Allocation (ATA) format couldn’t have come at a worse time for Sainz, who succumbed to a Q2 exit after encountering struggles with the Medium compound tyre all weekend.
However, a lightning start on Softs gained him a plethora of places to leave the Spaniard running sixth behind Leclerc. He would get ahead through his team-mate’s hindered pit stop, but Sainz would drop back behind both Leclerc and Russell.
Fernando Alonso – 7.5
Qualified: P8, Race: P9
Alonso’s weekend was spent creating more headlines away from the track than on it as Aston Martin’s recent performance regression continued in Budapest.
On a circuit expected to suit its AMR23 car, Alonso could only manage eighth in qualifying before dropping one place to a lonely ninth in the race.
Lance Stroll – 6.5
Qualified: P14, Race: P10
Aston Martin’s sudden dip in competitiveness has witnessed Stroll’s core qualifying weakness come to the fore and he failed to make Q3 for the fifth time in 2023.
A surging start on the Soft compound, however, brought him into play and the Canadian did well to manage his rubber when he reverted to a two-stop strategy.
Alex Albon – 7
Qualified: P16, Race: P11
Unsurprisingly, it was once again Albon leading the charge for Williams – but on this occasion, the less competitive state of the FW45 meant it didn’t yield a top-10 return.
Nevertheless, the ex-Red Bull affiliate battled hard and defended well from Bottas at the end to only miss out on scoring points for the third time in four races by one position.
Logan Sargeant – 4
Qualified: P20, Race: DNF
Following two promising displays in Austria and Britain, Sargeant was back to encountering familiar territory as he wound up last of all the runners in qualifying.
His race was going reasonably until a spin in the closing stages dropped him down the order, with Williams then swiftly electing to retire his car on the penultimate lap.
Zhou Guanyu – 4.5
Qualified: P5, Race: P16
The entire Alfa Romeo camp would have been rubbing its hands at the prospect of accumulating a vital points haul when both cars qualified inside the top seven.
But the Italian marque’s race came undone almost immediately when Zhou, starting a career-best fifth after an exceptional final run in qualifying, suffered a bizarre fault that saw him immediately get swarmed on both sides.
Despite that hiccup, there was nobody to blame but Zhou when it came to the braking mishap at Turn 1 that saw him nudge the rear of Daniel Ricciardo’s AlphaTauri, putting both Alpines out of the race.
Valtteri Bottas – 6
Qualified: P7, Race: P12
A case of what could have been: even accounting for Zhou’s horror launch, Bottas would surely have challenged for a point’s position if he had been able to maintain position over the fast-starting Soft runners in the opening exchanges.
Sitting ninth in the Constructors’ Championship, Alfa Romeo will surely come to rue not maximising a weekend where its car was inherently extremely quick.
Daniel Ricciardo – 7
Qualified: P15, Race: P13
Ricciardo revelled in being able to push on low fuel in qualifying for the first time in two years as he booked his passage into Q2 by 0.013s and beat Yuki Tsunoda.
Unfortunately for the Australian, he was also caught up in the contact that ensued at Turn 1 on the first lap, dropping him right to the back of the classified runners.
A lengthy 40-lap stint on the Medium compound at the end brought him back to a respectable 13th place, offering plenty of encouragement upon his F1 return.
Yuki Tsunoda – 5
Qualified: P17, Race: P15
Having destroyed de Vries, Tsunoda failed his first serious test of the year as he was out-qualified by Ricciardo in their first weekend together as team-mates.
Nonetheless, he was stringing together a tidy race before an agonisingly slow stop undid all his early progress.
Nico Hulkenberg – 6.5
Qualified: P10, Race: P14
Haas team boss Guenther Steiner hailed Hulkenberg the best qualifier he’s ever worked with ahead of the weekend and it was easy to see why at the Hungaroring.
As Magnussen was all at sea, Hulkenberg registered his sixth Q3 appearance. The experienced German was maintaining a strong position behind Alonso but lost out through the pit stop phase and eventually got shuffled down to 14th by the close.
Kevin Magnussen – 3.5
Qualified: P19, Race: P17
Magnussen’s qualifying struggles up against Hulkenberg continued as his team-mate inflicted yet another comprehensive defeat.
The ex-McLaren debutant could only manage a place on the back row of the grid in machinery that Hulkenberg illustrated was up to the pace of a Q3 contender.
With Haas’ race pace woes continuing to hamper its Sunday prospects, Magnussen must get a handle on his one-lap troubles in order to start higher up the grid.
Esteban Ocon – 6
Qualified: P12, Race: DNF
It’s hard to give an accurate rating to either Alpine driver when their races were curtailed inside only one corner by Zhou tagging the rear of Ricciardo, which pushed him into Ocon and onto Pierre Gasly.
But Ocon did have the measure of Gasly in qualifying, at least, during a weekend in which Alpine’s prospects were bleak.
Pierre Gasly – 5
Qualified: P15, Race: DNF
Gasly came up short in the battle of the Alpines in qualifying, having his final lap in Q2 deleted for track limits to relegate him to being the slowest of all in the second stage.
The one-time F1 race winner looked set to pick up a handsome number of places when he ventured around the outside of Turn 1 – but it proved to be a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time as his team-mate got pushed into his path.