Max Verstappen says losing out on victory to Lewis Hamilton at Formula 1’s Hungarian Grand Prix was not a “big disappointment” as he could see it coming.

The Red Bull driver outpaced the Mercedes duo in qualifying to land his first-ever F1 pole position and controlled the first half of the race despite intense pressure from Hamilton behind.

But an inspired strategy gamble by Mercedes to make the most of a free stop and pit Hamilton again for a fresh set of Mediums swung the race in the Briton’s favour, as he obliterated a 20s deficit to Verstappen - on ageing Hard tyres - and passed him for the win in the closing stages.

Asked if Red Bull was tempted to copy Mercedes’ strategy, Verstappen replied: “Well it wouldn’t have made sense because then I would have been behind and then the race is lost anyway.

“The only option from me was then to continue and that’s what we did.

“I started to run out of tyres trying to keep up with Lewis’ pace on those Medium tyres, trying to keep within a second but it was almost impossible and then I ran out of tyres.

“But you could see it coming, so for me it was not a big disappointment once he passed me, it was just a normal thing to happen. But anyway, we have to be realistic and he was just clearly faster today.

“Always I think I was struggling a little bit more for grip than him, he could keep the pressure on and of course when you are in second, you can gamble to do a two-stop.

“It was always about trying to cover him to stay ahead. If you do a two-stop worse case scenario you stay second, and best case you overtake me and that’s what they did today.

“We pitted at the end as well so then of course happy to do that fastest lap. It’s still one point and hopefully at the end of the year it will matter.”

Verstappen believes he would have been able to keep Hamilton behind had both drivers remained on a one-stop strategy.

“I think on the start, I think on the first tyre he never really had a shot, so we were still competitive in the last sector,” he explained.

“When we got onto the Hard tyre, also with the traffic, because of that he had a few goes at me because I couldn’t take my normal lines through the last few corners and he caught up.

“Then of course with the defending I tried to do it as good as I could. I could stay ahead and he had to manage his brakes and engine a bit but you could see clearly once that was sorted he closed the gap again.

“I think if we had stayed on that one-stop, I think we could have kept him behind. But once he goes on the Mediums then you know it’s going to be really hard.”



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