Max Verstappen now faces an easy sprint to his second championship.
We know it's tough being a Ferrari fan at the moment, but we can take some solace in the fact that the memes are pretty lit. If nothing else, Ferrari's continued strategy decisions have resulted in an influx of amazing content. As much as we've tried, we couldn't think of another upside to the mess that is Scuderia Ferrari.
At this point, we can only hope that the people behind the critical choices spend the summer break reading Strategy For Dummies. And that's all we have to say about the red team, who somehow managed to turn a second and third place qualifying into a fourth and sixth place finish. Somebody should take Binotto's F12 Berlinetta away and replace it with a Fiat 500 X until the next race win.
Before we get too depressed, here's what went down with the rest of the grid.
Max Verstappen qualified in tenth place, and a victory seemed highly unlikely. Still, Red Bull pulled him in first, which turned out to be a brilliant strategic move made by Hannah Schmitz, principal strategy engineer at Red Bull Racing. Red Bull capitalized on Ferrari's mistakes and stole a victory right out from under Ferrari and Mercedes-Benz.
Let's not beat around the bush. Max Verstappen drove like the world champion he is. After overtaking Leclerc, spinning the car, and overtaking Leclerc again, the Flying Dutchman managed to eke out a 10-second lead. Sir Lewis Hamilton made a late lunge for soft tires and closed that gap to roughly eight seconds.
Verstappen was in a class of one this weekend. He's now three full races ahead, with nine left to go. Even if Leclerc wins every race from now on, Max simply needs to finish second to win the championship.
We hate predicting so far ahead, but the 2022 championship is Verstappen's to lose.
The Hungarian podium provided a bit of deja vu. Just a week earlier, Verstappen won, followed by Hamilton in second and Russell in third.
Mercedes-Benz is proof that consistency is just as important as pace. The two Mercs can at least match the speed of the Red Bull while being just as reliable. George Russell proved that Mercedes finally has the pace by qualifying on pole on Saturday. What a way to claim your first-ever pole.
By being consistent, it has a genuine opportunity to claim Ferrari's second place in the constructor's championship. Thanks to the German team's consistency, it's just 30 points behind Scuderia Ferrari.
Sir Lewis drove like a demon, proving that he's not yet done with the sport. Unfortunately, it's too late to go for the driver's championship. Second place is still up for grabs, with just 32 points between Leclerc (178) and Hamilton (146). To get there, Hamilton will still have to pass Carlos Sainz in fifth (156), George Russell in fourth (158), and Sergio Perez in third (173 points).
The fight between McLaren and Alpine for fourth place has been one of the best battles this whole season.
Lando Norris was charged with holding off the Alpine duo, and he was helped along in this task by the French team's poor tire choice. Alonso and Ocon started the race on the hard compound and limped their way through the entire race. Lando managed to secure seventh place, ahead of Alonso in eighth and Ocon in ninth.
Despite Norris' attempts, Alpine managed to stay ahead. Daniel Ricciardo finished outside the points, leaving Norris to do all the heavy lifting. Alpine is sitting on 99 points, and McLaren is four points behind.
Formula 1 is officially on summer break. The next race is only scheduled for August 28.
Now is the time for the teams to relax, regroup, and get everything prepared for the second half of the 2022 championship. Ferrari definitely needs some time off, and Mercedes-Benz will likely benefit as well. It's on the brink of taking the fight to Red Bull in the nine final races of the season.
F1 will hit your screen with a bang because the next round is at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps. Drivers will be facing the treacherous Eau Rouge, which claimed the life of F2 driver Anthoine Hubert in 2019.
To get some idea of how gnarly Eau Rouge is, look at what happened to Lando Norris during qualifying last year.