Lewis Hamilton passed Max Verstappen for victory with only three laps to go at the Hungarian Grand Prix, as a gamble from Mercedes made the difference.
With twenty laps to go, Hamilton was just over one second behind the Red Bull in which Mercedes decided to box the world champion, presenting him with a twenty second deficit to reduce in as many laps.
Hamilton was on fresh, medium tyres whereas Verstappen was left on an old, hard set.
A sensational comeback from the five-time world champion, as he overtook the wounded Dutchman on the home straight with just three laps to go.
This then forced Red Bull to pit Verstappen with the Dutchman worried he wouldn’t be able to finish the race on his tyres; however, he then claimed the fastest lap bonus point on his fresh set as he came home in P2.
Sebastian Vettel finished in P3, as Hamilton now extends his championship lead over Valtteri Bottas to 62 points.
Will Lewis Hamilton become the 2019 Formula One world champion? It would take a miracle for something else.
Passing of the baton?
This battle was much more than just Lewis Hamilton vs Max Verstappen.
It was the current champion of Formula One vs the future champion, a 35-year-old still at his best against a 21-year-old that is pinpointed as the man to take over from the current Hamilton era.
With two wins out of the last three prior to this grand prix, perhaps a ‘passing of the baton’ is to happen sooner than expected, this was added with Verstappen then claiming his maiden pole position.
Maybe the two periods of domination can intertwine.
Hamilton started in P3, but that proved no problem attempting to overtake Bottas on the outside of turn two, for it to then stick on turn three with just Verstappen now ahead.
A terrific move from the five-time world champion on lap one, however Verstappen, too, started off brilliantly – a contrast to his previous three starts, despite two of those ending in victory.
Verstappen managed to maintain a healthy gap to Hamilton but the Brit then started to close-in, forcing Red Bull into a pit-stop on lap 25. Mercedes stayed out for an additional six laps, as Hamilton returned on-track much quicker than the Red Bull.
The world champion then attacked and almost had the lead on lap 38, attempting to overtake on the outside of turn four but a slight oversteer then ran him off track.
This was Formula One at its very best.
Close wheel-to-wheel racing following an attack from the greatest driver of the current generation, vs terrific defence from the man who is predicted to take over.
If these two battling can be for the world championship and not just a race victory, then Formula One is in for a treat.
Some viewed this as a weekend that signalled the end of Hamilton’s era, edging towards the era of Max Verstappen but the five-time world champion thought otherwise.
Verstappen finally became his prey with three laps to go and victory belonged to Lewis Hamilton.
A passing of the baton? Not just yet.
Ferrari in their own race
In the midst of this great battle between Hamilton and Verstappen, whilst Bottas was struggling further down the grid due to a collision on lap one, Ferrari were experiencing their own inter-team battle for the final podium position.
Vettel came out on top overtaking Charles Leclerc on the inside of turn one, with just two laps to go.
Ferrari just never had the pace throughout to compete with the front two.
It was over a minute gap between Hamilton in first and Vettel in third, with the Hungaroring not being a track that suits the style of Ferrari’s car.
However, it is Red Bull that they should now concentrate on more with the Honda-powered car now potentially better and quicker than the Scuderia.
25 points separates Verstappen from Vettel in the championship and 49 to Leclerc, with Ferrari much more off the pace than they had hoped for at the season start.
The arrival of the summer break could not be better timing for the Italian team, who have serious thinking to do.
The summer break
Formula One now heads into the summer break, a three-week holiday for every team before action returns to Belgium on the opening weekend of September.
However, just because there are no races occurring doesn’t mean there is nothing to watch out for.
It is usually at this point where teams and drivers make their decisions about their lineups for the next season.
The 2018 summer break witnessed the announcement of Daniel Ricciardo’s shock move to Renault from Red Bull.
Valtteri Bottas’ future is certainly one to watch out for, it is widely accepted that the second seat in the Mercedes garage for 2020 will be between the Fin and the current reserve driver, Esteban Ocon.
Maybe they will announce Hamilton’s team-mate during the summer.
But also the future of Red Bull’s Pierre Gasly, who experienced yet another disappointing race in Hungary, may be one to be dropped over the summer.
No races but still many things to look out for as Formula One heads into its three-week holiday.