BUDAPEST (AP) — Formula One champion Max Verstappen needed only a few seconds to stamp his authority on the Hungarian Grand Prix on Sunday and win his seventh straight race of a crushingly dominant season.
Seven-time F1 champion Lewis Hamilton started from pole position ahead of Verstappen, who muscled him out at the first corner and never looked back.
Red Bull’s 12th straight win, including the final race of 2022, broke McLaren’s record for consecutive team wins set in 1988.
“That was so enjoyable to drive, 12 in a row that is unbelievable,” Verstappen said. “Unbelievable. I was really enjoying that last stint.”
Verstappen is cruising toward a third straight F1 title. His ninth victory overall — complete with another bonus point for the fastest lap — means the 25-year-old Dutchman already leads his Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez by 110 points.
McLaren driver Lando Norris finished second for the second-straight race and Perez was third for a much-needed second podium in six races.
Verstappen’s career win total now stands at 44 — the same number as Hamilton’s car.
Hamilton started from pole for the first time since the penultimate race of 2021 in Saudi Arabia — which was also when he won his record-extending 103rd F1 race. He has not won since.
He felt he had a chance after an impressive drive in qualifying.
But Verstappen, who won from 10th here last year, overtook a sluggish Hamilton as they dived into the first turn, while the McLarens of Norris and Oscar Piastri jumped past Hamilton and dropped him down to fourth.
That is where he finished at the sinewy 4.4-kilometer (2.7-mile) Hungaroring track, one of the hardest in F1 for overtaking.
Daniel Ricciardo finished 13th for AlphaTauri on his F1 comeback and beat teammate Yuki Tsunoda in 15th.
The Associated Press