George Russell rejoiced in achieving a maiden Formula One podium finish, even if the circumstances of his second place at the Belgian Grand Prix were a little unorthodox.

The race was called off at a rain-soaked Spa after just two laps behind a safety car, with pole-sitter Max Verstappen declared the winner as British duo Russell and Lewis Hamilton completed the top three.

Heavy rain had delayed the start by over three hours as Sergio Perez had crashed while making his way out onto the grid.

The conditions ultimately made competitive racing impossible, but a two-lap procession was enough to declare a result, with half points awarded.

Williams driver Russell, who performed wonders to qualify second on the grid, felt it was a suitable reward.

"We don't often get rewarded for great qualifyings, but we absolutely did today," said the 23-year-old.

"It was a shame we did not get the race under way but, from my side, and the team's side it's an amazing result.

"The whole team deserve it because there has been so much hard work going into work over the last few years and there has been nothing to show for it, but we absolutely nailed it yesterday."

Red Bull's Verstappen is now just three points behind defending champion Hamilton and he reflected on a crucial performance in Saturday's qualifying, which also took place on a sodden track.

He said: "Now, in hindsight, it was very important to get that pole position. It's a shame to not get proper laps, but the conditions were very tricky.

"At 3.30pm the conditions were decent but the visibility was very low. I think if we'd started at 3pm we would have had a decent chance.

"Big credit to the fans for staying here all day."

Hamilton added: "They knew, at the end, the track wasn't any better and they did it just so they could do two laps and declare a race. I really hope the fans get their money back.

"You couldn't see even five metres in front of you on the straight. You couldn't even see the flashing light in front of you."

The Belgian Grand Prix was called off at a rain-soaked Spa after just two laps, though that was still enough racing for Max Verstappen to claim a victory that cuts Lewis Hamilton's championship lead.

Heavy downpours ruined Formula One's return after the mid-season break, with the start delayed by over three hours after Sergio Perez had crashed while making his way out onto the grid.

Eventually the cars did get out onto the track with the plan to stage a one-hour race amid time constraints, only for the red flag to again be waved after the field had tip-toed around behind the safety car.

However, having managed to successfully get around the circuit twice, a final result was declared with half points awarded.

Having claimed pole position in qualifying on Saturday, Verstappen was awarded the victory, his sixth of a hugely impressive 2021 campaign for Red Bull.

Hamilton, meanwhile, had to settle for third place, behind fellow Briton George Russell. It means the reigning world champion leads the driver standings by just three points with 10 rounds to go.

"It's a win but not how you want to win. Today a big credit goes to all the fans around the track for staying here the whole day in the rain, the cold, windy conditions. They are actually the bigger winners today," Verstappen said.

Racing had already been pushed back from the scheduled start of 15:00 local time (14:00 BST) when Perez provided a further complication. The Red Bull driver lost control in the tricky conditions and skidded into a barrier. Unable to reverse out, he climbed out and appeared set to be out of the race.

But, with his team having time to work on the damage amid the lengthy stoppage, the Mexican was cleared by race director Michael Masi to resume from the pit lane.

In the end, the entire grid returned from the pits behind the safety car to try and get under way, only for the red flag to be waved again. Not long after, it was confirmed racing had been stopped, bringing a rather damp and disappointing end to proceedings.

 

George Russell earned a front-row spot for the Belgian Grand Prix as it was revealed Mercedes have decided whether to recruit him for next season.

The young British driver defied expectations of what the Williams car could achieve by producing a stunning qualifying lap in the rain at Spa.

Only a last-ditch effort by title hopeful Max Verstappen denied Russell a first career pole, while Lewis Hamilton took third place on the grid.

It may be that Hamilton and Russell become team-mates next season, if Mercedes decide to part ways with Valtteri Bottas.

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff revealed on Saturday that the team have chosen their line-up for 2022, but that they will keep it private for now.

According to multiple reports, Wolff twice replied "Yes" in a media call when asked if that big call had already been made.

"Today doesn't make any difference," Wolff said. "We know what we have with George."

Russell is a part of Mercedes' young driver programme and was recalled to his parent team to replace a COVID-19 affected Hamilton for the Sakhir Grand Prix last season, an indication of Wolff's high regard for his ability.

Wolff said of Mercedes' recent quandary over Bottas and Russell: "If it would have been an easy decision, we would have made it earlier, because we know what we have with Valtteri and we know what we have with George.

"Both of them deserve being looked after. Both deserve to be looked after in the best possible way, because both of them are part of the family, and we hold them up high."

Russell said there "probably should be" points awarded for qualifying performance, as he reflected on the fact he has taken no such reward yet this weekend. But the 23-year-old believes he can be a force in Sunday's race, particularly if the track is again wet.

He said: "We've obviously got to be realistic, we've got incredibly fast cars behind us, but if the conditions stay the same, we've got a car that's probably quick enough on merit in the top 10.

"But if we're starting from the front row, there's no reason why we can't try to hold that position for the majority of the race. I don't think I’m going to do anything stupid with the cars around me that are clearly going to be faster than us – but there's no reason why we can’t finish, if conditions are like this, top five, and just maximise it. Points is an absolute minimum."

Verstappen said: "This track is amazing to drive in the dry and when you then have a wet qualifying, it's pretty ... I wouldn't say scary but it's really interesting and quite extreme in Q3 when you know that you have to push and try to go to the limit in the wet here."

Championship leader Hamilton said the Mercedes race pace "should be a little bit stronger" than in practice. "But I still think it's going to be a handful, particularly if it's going to be these conditions," he added.

 

The season broke for summer after the Hungarian Grand Prix at the start of August, and Saturday marked a return to the thrills and spills of the sport.

The conditions were particularly tough in the third and final stage of qualifying as heavy rain arrived at the circuit, with Lando Norris crashing out early and leaving his McLaren a heavily damaged heap.

Norris, who had shown excellent pace up to that point, was given the all-clear after an elbow X-ray in hospital and looks set to race.

He had complained of aquaplaning moments before crashing badly, his car sliding into the barrier on the left side of the track at Eau Rouge and spinning out of control across the track.

He said over the team radio: "I let you down, my bad."

However, four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel had wanted the session red-flagged before the crash happened and told his team on hearing of the crash: "What did I say, red flag? It's unnecessary. Is he OK?"

Vettel was quickly on the scene and stopped to check Norris was safe before driving on past the damaged McLaren.

There was succour for McLaren as Daniel Ricciardo took fourth on the grid, just ahead of Vettel, but it was a shocker of a day for Ferrari as Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz qualified in 10th and 12th respectively. 

Ferrari racing director Laurent Mekies said: "Our qualifying performance was well below our usual standard and so far this whole weekend has proved very difficult for us."

Max Verstappen took pole position at a soggy Belgian Grand Prix – and incredibly it will be George Russell alongside him on the front row.

A stunning final lap from Russell looked set to give the Williams driver a first career pole, but Formula One title hopeful Verstappen pipped him in the closing seconds.

British 23-year-old Russell, who has been tipped for a move to join Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes next season, said he was "absolutely buzzing" about his performance, defying the limitations of his car with a supreme drive.

Hamilton took third on the grid and saluted Russell's performance, with Daniel Ricciardo fourth.

The qualifying session was disrupted by heavy rain and a heavy crash for Lando Norris – Ricciardo's McLaren team-mate – which caused a hold-up in Q3 of close to 45 minutes.

Moments before smashing into the barriers, Norris complained about the conditions, and Sebastian Vettel had called for the session to be red-flagged before the crash made it an inevitability. Norris was taken to hospital for a precautionary elbow X-ray.

The drivers returned to the wet track eventually, with Hamilton quick to point out that spray remained a problem. He set an early target of 2:01.552 but Russell producing a stunning lap to go quicker.

Verstappen and Hamilton were both out on the track and chasing the new target as the clock ran down, with only the former able to achieve that.

After three weeks since the last race, the Hungarian Grand Prix, this was a return to the thrills and spills of the sport.

"I'm super happy to have a qualifying like this after the break and to have a pole position again," said Verstappen.

Russell has been on the front row once before, but that came in a Mercedes when he stood in for Hamilton last season at the Sakhir Grand Prix. He said getting out of Q1, the initial stage of the qualifying session, had been his primary target at Spa, with anything else a bonus.

"The car was feeling great and I had so much confidence," Russell said. "I was in a fortunate position where I had nothing to lose. We were in Q3 which is not the norm for us and we just had to go for it.

"I'm buzzing, absolutely buzzing. Tomorrow's the important one but it's been mega today. I'm delighted for everyone. If the weather is the same and it's there for the taking tomorrow, we'll go for it."

Hamilton, who edged ahead of Verstappen in the drivers' standings by finishing second in Hungary, said it had been "a very difficult day for everyone" due to the inclement weather.

"Well done to Max and to George," Hamilton added. "If it's like this tomorrow it's going to be tricky to balance straight line speed and downforce."
 

PROVISIONAL CLASSIFICATION

1. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) 1:59.765
2. George Russell (Williams) +0.321secs
3. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) +0.334
4. Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren) +1.099
5. Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin) +1.170
6. Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri) +1.399
7. Sergio Perez (Red Bull) +2.347
8. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) +2.737
9. Esteban Ocon (Alpine) +3.748
10. Lando Norris (McLaren) no complete lap in Q3

Lando Norris saw his 15-race points streak end with a first-lap crash at the Hungarian Grand Prix, and he took no solace in an apology from the man who started the chain reaction. 

Valtteri Bottas failed to time his braking in Turn One and hit Norris, sending the McLaren driver into Max Verstappen as Bottas continued on to take out the other Red Bull car driven by Sergio Perez. 

While Norris was able to remain on the track and reach the pits, his team determined he had suffered too much damage to continue, leaving the Briton frustrated with his early exit. 

Bottas also was forced to retire, along with Perez, and the Finn apologised to Norris afterward. 

“I had a poor start,” Bottas said. “Wheelspin off the line, and lost places, and then braking into first corner I was right in the gearbox of Lando and I just locked the wheels.

"So probably being that close didn’t calculate quite right the braking point, locked two wheels, hit him, and then it was a mess.”

It was a mess that left the other two drivers knocked out of the race furious. Perez called it a "big mistake" on Bottas' part and feared another engine loss due to the damage incurred. 

Norris had no time for Bottas saying he was sorry for the wreck. 

“There’s not much to say is there?" Norris said. "It’s not my fault, like, to be honest he [Bottas] just came over to me then and apologised – but apologies are nice, but it doesn’t change the result or anything, so it’s Lap 1 of the race, no one has to do anything stupid but that’s what they did today. So just ruined it.”

With his pursuers Bottas and Perez also knocked out, Norris remained a distant third in the championship standings as leader Verstappen slipped into second behind Lewis Hamilton following a 10th-place finish. 

Mercedes will learn from a costly mistake at the Hungarian Grand Prix according to Lewis Hamilton, who will have to wait a while longer to win his 100th Formula One race.

In a thrilling race on Sunday, Hamilton – who is on 99 career victories – had to charge up through the field just to claim a podium finish at a track where he has won on eight previous occasions.

Hamilton started in pole position, yet a crash at Turn One caused by his team-mate Valtteri Bottas, who has been handed a five-place grid penalty for the next event in the season, resulted in the need for the red flag.

Max Verstappen, Hamilton's championship rival, was involved, though the Red Bull driver managed to continue – albeit in a heavily patched up car.

Five other drivers, including Bottas, were not so fortunate, but upon the restart, Mercedes made an error when they advised Hamilton more rain was scheduled to arrive at the Hungaroring. 

However, the skies had cleared and the track had already dried up. With every other remaining driver electing to switch to dry tyres, Hamilton was left as the only car on the starting grid.

Mercedes realised the situation quickly but, by the time Hamilton had pitted, he was stuck last in 14th place, forcing him to battle his way back to secure a quite remarkable third place, behind maiden F1 race winner Esteban Ocon and veteran campaigner Sebastian Vettel.

"Today was definitely tough, we always make it difficult for ourselves," said Hamilton, who looked visibly exhausted on the podium.

"It's crazy to think we were the only ones on the grid at the start, but these things happen and we learn from them. I gave it everything, and I had nothing left at the end.

"I was telling the team how the track was through the formation lap, but they said rain was coming when I got back in the car, so I thought they had other information. I then saw everyone diving in [to the pits].

"We came in this weekend and didn't know how it was going to go and considering the circumstances today, I'll take it."

Hamilton and Mercedes at least had a better race than Red Bull. Sergio Perez was one of the drivers to crash out, along with Bottas, Charles Leclerc, Lance Stroll and Lando Norris, while Verstappen just scraped into the points in 10th.

It means Hamilton now holds a six-point lead over Verstappen at the top of the drivers' standings, while Mercedes also top the constructors' championship heading into an extended mid-season break, with the next race – in Belgium – scheduled for August 29.

"Again, taken out by a Mercedes, it's not what you want. From then on, I was missing the whole side of my car, the floor was damaged as well, it was almost impossible to drive to be honest. I still tried my best and I scored one point, it is at least something, but of course not what you want," Verstappen told Sky Sports.

"No, it's not [a reset]. These moments, they're just disappointing but I know that when we go again after the break I will be there again. I hope my car is going to be competitive, we'll find out.

"It's a lot of freak moments at the moment that have cost us a lot of points. We will never give up, we have to focus on ourselves, we'll keep pushing and see where we end up."

Ocon, meanwhile, was overjoyed to seal his first ever F1 race triumph. The 24-year-old Frenchman secured Alpine's maiden victory under its new name, and its first as a team since Kimi Raikkonen won the 2013 Australian Grand Prix.

"What a moment," Ocon said. "We've had some difficult moments this season, but we are back where we belong.

"Sebastian put me under big pressure but we managed to keep him off, so it's a great moment."

Lewis Hamilton was denied a 100th Formula One race win but charged up from last to finish on the podium in a dramatic Hungarian Grand Prix, leapfrogging championship leader Max Verstappen in the process.

There was chaos from the off at the Hungaroring, where Esteban Ocon triumphed to hand Alpine an unlikely victory.

Like two weeks ago at Silverstone, the race was suspended after a collision at Turn One. Unlike on that occasion, Hamilton – who started in pole has he hunted a record ninth win in Hungary – was not involved, but Verstappen was.

Hamilton's Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas was at fault, with five drivers forced out in total. 

Verstappen survived, albeit with a damaged car, and an apparent mistake from Mercedes after the restart sent Hamilton down from first to last.

Yet the seven-time world champion battled back, leaving Verstappen – who just scraped into the points – well in his wake as he took top spot in the championship standings while Ocon celebrated a maiden F1 success.

After the furore at Silverstone, the pre-race build-up was dominated by talk of possible danger at Turn One, and so it came as little surprise when, in wet and greasy conditions, Bottas failed to judge the timing of when to brake.

Bottas, who was given a five-place grid penalty for the Belgian Grand Prix, Verstappen's team-mate Sergio Perez, Lance Stroll and Charles Leclerc were all out by the time the red flag was raised, with Lando Norris, on a 15-race streak of finishing in the points, also unable to continue.

There was more drama to come. After the restart formation lap, only Hamilton started from the grid, with all other 14 drivers choosing to switch tyres as the rain eased off and the track dried.

By the time he had pitted, Hamilton had fallen to last.

The 36-year-old recovered, getting the better of Antonio Giovinazzi before, on the 21st lap, undercutting Verstappen, who was held up by Daniel Ricciardo's sluggish exit from the pit lane.

Hamilton continued his charge up the field, and at one stage it seemed like an incredible victory could be on the cards.

However, his push was held up by Fernando Alonso, who expertly held his own in a thrilling 10-lap tussle.

A frustrated Hamilton finally got beyond his former McLaren team-mate on lap 65, with Carlos Sainz's efforts to hold onto third proving fruitless.

Hamilton's remarkable run stopped there and, though a milestone success on the track where he won his first Mercedes triumph in 2013 alluded him, he has the championship lead.

Alonso's defence ultimately ensured victory for Alpine team-mate Ocon, with Sebastian Vettel holding off Hamilton to seal a second podium finish of the season.

IN THE POINTS

1. Esteban Ocon (Alpine)
2. Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin) +1.918 seconds
3. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) +2.540s
4. Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) +15.018s
5. Fernando Alonso (Alpine) +15.651s
6. Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri) +1:03.614s
7. Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri) +1:15.803s
8. Nicholas Latifi (Williams) +1:17.910s
9. George Russell (Williams) +1:19.094s
10. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) +1:20.244s 

CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS

Drivers

1. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) – 192
2. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) – 186
3. Lando Norris (McLaren) – 113
4. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) – 108
5. Sergio Perez (Red Bull) – 104

Constructors

1. Mercedes – 300
2. Red Bull – 290
3. McLaren – 163
4. Ferrari – 160
5. Alpine – 75

The Hungarian Grand Prix began in chaotic fashion as five drivers crashed out on Turn One, with championship leader Max Verstappen also heavily affected.

Verstappen was forced to retire early after a collision with Lewis Hamilton at the British Grand Prix, which the Mercedes driver went on to win.

Red Bull were unhappy with the penalty handed out to Hamilton, who made contact with Verstappen at Copse Corner at Silverstone two weeks ago.

This time, it was Hamilton's Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas who was clearly at fault on a wet and greasy first turn at the Hungaroring.

He failed to time his braking, clipping Lando Norris, who in turn span into both Red Bulls, with Ferrari's Charles Leclerc also caught up in the chaos. 

Verstappen had been in third but slumped down to ninth before heading into the pits and dropping a further four places before the red flag was raised due to debris on the track.

His team-mate Sergio Perez could not continue, with Leclerc, Bottas and Lance Stroll all out of the race.

"I think basically Bottas made a big mistake and took everyone out of the race, it's a big shame. It's a massive loss for us as a team," Perez told Sky Sports.

"I don't know what to say. It's a big mistake, we will leave it up to them [the race stewards]."

Hamilton, who is hunting his 100th F1 race win after clinching pole, escaped unscathed with his lead intact, with the pause to the race at least giving Red Bull the chance to repair Verstappen's car.

However, McLaren were unable to get Norris – who was on a 15-race streak of finishing in the points and had made a fantastic start – back on the track, making it five out of the race in total.

Lewis Hamilton was shocked by Mercedes' superiority in qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix as he continued to apply pressure to world championship leader Max Verstappen and Red Bull.

Hamilton closed the gap in the standings to eight points after his controversial win at Silverstone last time out, where a collision between the seven-time world champion and Verstappen on the opening lap led to the latter retiring.

The fallout from that flashpoint has dominated the build-up to this race and Hamilton was booed by spectators after securing pole position for Sunday's race at the Hungaroring.

Valtteri Bottas closed out a Mercedes front row, with that dominance surprising Hamilton given his team have spent much of the season to date grappling with the problem of Red Bull's superior speed.

"Definitely, definitely not," Hamilton said when asked whether he had expected to be faster than Verstappen and Sergio Perez, who qualified fourth.

"This is a track that they’ve been very strong at for a long time. And given the improvements they made earlier on this year, we thought that we obviously closed the gap a little bit in the last race but we thought they would still have a little bit of an edge.

"We saw today that they changed from their big wing to their smaller wing today. Whether or not that’s hampered them, I don’t know but yeah, it was definitely a real surprise to see us have that sort of pace on them. Of course we’re happy with that."

Mercedes are just four points shy of Red Bull in the constructors' standings and Hamilton is glad to have Bottas for company on the front row as he plots the path to what would be the 100th victory of his F1 career.

"Valtteri did an astonishing job, really boosting the team into the front row, which is honestly… I don’t remember the last time we had a front row together," he added.

"So super positive and it's all down to the amazing work back at the factory and the men and women here are doing a phenomenal job and with everything going on around us, in the outside world and everything.

"People are just staying focused and staying centred and I’m really proud of everyone."

Max Verstappen has angrily hit out at the continued questioning he and Lewis Hamilton are receiving after their Silverstone clash.

Hamilton, who is on pole for Sunday's Hungarian Grand Prix, received a controversial 10-second time penalty having collided with title rival Verstappen on the opening lap at the British Grand Prix last time out.

But while Verstappen was forced to retire from the race and sent to hospital for checks, Hamilton recovered from his punishment and went on to record a famous win that reignited his labouring championship bid.
 
A fierce war of words followed as Red Bull criticised Hamilton and race stewards for what had transpired.

But two weeks on in Hungary, Verstappen has been unimpressed at repeated questions on the matter.

He then hit out when he was asked after qualifying how he and Hamilton would approach the start of this race if they end up wheel-to-wheel once more.

Standings leader Verstappen, who starts third behind Valtteri Bottas and ahead of Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez, cut off the question at a news conference for the top three drivers.

"Can we just already stop about this because we've had so many f*****g questions about this," he said

"It's just ridiculous, honestly. The whole Thursday we've been answering this stupid s**t all the time. 

"So can we just stop about it please? We are racers. We will race. And, of course, we are going to race hard but fair. We'll just be pushing each other."

As the fallout from the British GP incident continues, Hamilton was booed by the Hungary crowd during qualifying and after recording the fastest time on Saturday.

The Mercedes driver told fans at the circuit they had "fuelled" his success as he seeks a 100th career Formula One win.

Asked about the booing, Verstappen said: "What do you want me to say? It is not correct, of course, but at the end of the day I think we are drivers. 

"We shouldn't get disturbed by these kind of things. You should anyway just focus on what you have to do and that's deliver in the car. 

"Luckily we wear helmets actually when driving. When it matters you don't hear anything. That's maybe a bit different to other sports, probably we are quite lucky with that.

"Of course, it's not nice but it shouldn't influence any of us. I think we are all very professional."

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff was in a jovial mood after his team's qualifying success and he was shown Verstappen's comments as part of an interview with Sky Sports.

Asked what he thought would happen at the first corner, he joked fifth-placed Pierre Gasly could be primed to benefit from another Mercedes-Red Bull clash.

"Let’s see what happens, I think it's going to be an exciting start," Wolff said.

"Maybe Gasly leads after turn one and all four cars are out! 

"I'm just joking, I hope not. But it will be an exciting turn one and for sure from the strategy, we will see some interesting manoeuvres.

"But if I start teaching my drivers about how to approach turn one, it has actually completely gone off the rails.

"It [the rivalry] is exciting. You guys and everybody needs headlines and that keeps the sport interesting. It keeps stitching us up! But none of them has lost respect for each other, so let's see what happens."

Verstappen's lead in the standings has been cut to eight points, while Red Bull are just four clear in the constructors' championship.

Lewis Hamilton told an angry Hungarian Grand Prix crowd their jeers "fuelled" him as he took pole position at the start of a potentially historic weekend.

The Mercedes superstar was at the centre of controversy two weeks earlier at Silverstone as his crash saw Max Verstappen ruled out on the first lap.

Hamilton recovered from a 10-second penalty to win the race and close the gap significantly in the title race.

That was the defending champion's 99th Formula One victory and he now has a clear sight of the century, albeit only after another Red Bull flashpoint.

Having already secured provisional pole with a time of one minute and 15.419 seconds, which would ultimately prove enough, Hamilton crept in front of the chequered flag to make a second run, delaying Verstappen and team-mate Sergio Perez, who was unable to get through in time.

It left Hamilton fighting only against Verstappen, who lacked the pace of previous races and has work to do from third on Sunday.

Hamilton's first win as a Mercedes driver came in Hungary and he could be the first driver to win the same event nine times this week, but he was not popular among the locals as he took the microphone.

Greeted with loud boos, the Briton said: "I appreciate the great support I have here.

"Honestly, I've never felt so great with the booing. If anything, it just fuels me. I don't really mind it. It's alright."

Mercedes had gone six grands prix without pole position, their second-longest barren run in the hybrid era.

But Valtteri Bottas followed Hamilton in second place for the Silver Arrows' 80th qualifying one-two, a joint-record alongside Ferrari.

"It was an amazing qualifying lap," Hamilton said having claimed his 101st pole. "I think it's been amazing teamwork from everyone this weekend, Valtteri included.

"Trying to push the car forwards, developing constantly, the guys back at the factory have not left a stone unturned. It's been amazing to see everyone coming together, rallying and pushing forwards."

Verstappen, using the same Honda power unit from his Silverstone crash, was given a far warmer greeting by the Hungarian fans after coming in 0.421 seconds behind Hamilton.

"It's difficult to say the gap, but clearly the whole weekend so far we've been a bit behind," the Red Bull star said. "It showed again in qualifying.

"Of course it's not what we want, but we're still there in P3 and we'll see what we can do. So far, it's not what I want."

Verstappen will start on soft tyres having switched in Q2 to be sure of his place in the final session, one place ahead of team-mate Sergio Perez.

Q2 had briefly been halted due to a crash for Ferrari's Carlos Sainz, with Mick Schumacher also earlier hitting the barriers in FP3 and unable to enter qualifying.
 

PROVISIONAL CLASSIFICATION

1. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 1:15.419
2. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) +0.315secs
3. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) +0.421s
4. Sergio Perez (Red Bull) +1.002s
5. Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri) +1.064s
6. Lando Norris (McLaren) +1.070s
7. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) +1.077s
8. Esteban Ocon (Alpine) +1.234s
9. Fernando Alonso (Alpine) +1.296s
10. Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin) +1.331s

Valtteri Bottas recorded the fastest time of second practice at the Hungarian Grand Prix, 0.027s ahead of Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton.

Bottas' fastest lap of 1:17.012 helped Mercedes lead the way on their soft-tyre simulations, while championship leader Max Verstappen had to settle for third after his car struggled in the hot temperatures.

Verstappen’s Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez came in fifth, while the Alpine duo of Esteban Ocan and Fernando Alonso finished fourth and seventh respectively.

Three-time World champion Sebastian Vettel finished eighth, with team-mate Lance Stroll completing the top 10 behind McLaren’s Lando Norris.

Mercedes have criticised Red Bull for trying to "tarnish the good name and sporting integrity" of Lewis Hamilton after a request for a review into a collision with Max Verstappen was rejected.

Red Bull asked the FIA to review a 10-second penalty given to Hamilton after a crash that saw Verstappen smash into the barriers at high speed during the first lap of the British Grand Prix.

Verstappen was taken to hospital for checks after a 51G impact with the tyre barrier at Copse Corner and Red Bull argued the punishment handed to Hamilton - who went on to win the race - was not severe enough.

Red Bull boss Christian Horner accused the Brit of "dirty driving" at the time and Formula One's governing body confirmed on Tuesday the team had submitted a petition for a review of the incident.

The FIA's International Sporting Code only permits requests for a review if "a significant and relevant new element is discovered which was unavailable to the parties seeking the review at the time of the decision concerned."

Red Bull supplied four pieces of evidence, but the stewards did not deem the information provided qualified as a "significant and relevant new element", so Hamilton's win at Silverstone stands.

Mercedes took aim at Red Bull after the verdict was revealed.

A statement from the team said: "In addition to bringing this incident to a close, we hope that this decision will mark the end of a concerted attempt by the senior management of Red Bull Racing to tarnish the good name and sporting integrity of Lewis Hamilton, including the documents submitted for their unsuccessful right of review.

"We now look forward to going racing this weekend and to continuing our hard-fought competition for the 2021 Formula One World Championship."

Horner said Verstappen's crash with Hamilton cost Red Bull around $1.8million, an outlay that will have "massive ramifications" for the team.

Hamilton heads into this weekend's Hungarian Grand Prix just eight points behind Verstappen after triumphing on home soil for a record-extending eighth time.

Max Verstappen is keen to ensure his focus does not drift from the task at hand as the events of the British Grand Prix continue to hang over the Formula One title race.

Verstappen still leads the way in 2021 but saw his advantage cut to eight points at Silverstone after a first-lap crash.

The Red Bull superstar was involved in an incident with rival Lewis Hamilton, who remained on the track, served a 10-second penalty and won the race.

Verstappen fumed at a perceived lenient punishment at the time and Red Bull have since pursued a review.

The driver is happy to now leave that up to his team, though, as attention turns to Sunday's Hungarian Grand Prix.

"I don't have much to say on all the media hype [around the crash] and, to be honest, I am not interested in getting involved in any of that," Verstappen said this week.

"I know what happened at Silverstone as I was in the car and obviously I feel a certain way about how my race ended, but now I'm just focusing on making sure we are the best we can be on track so we can stay ahead in the championship.

"The team can take care of the official side of things and anything that needs looking into after the crash, but my job is the same as always – to be the best I can and try to win on Sunday."

Verstappen described himself as "a little bruised" but "feeling good" heading to Hungary.

The Dutchman added he "enjoys Hungary as a track", yet this is an event Hamilton has dominated, having won six of the past nine races in Hungary, including the most recent three in a row.

Indeed, as Verstappen waits on his first victory at the Hungarian GP, a ninth for Hamilton would take him past Michael Schumacher for the outright most ever at a single circuit.

LAST TIME OUT

The 2021 British Grand Prix will not be forgotten about in a hurry.

Verstappen won the inaugural sprint race in qualifying and then, very briefly, looked on course to do the same on the Sunday.

He protected his advantage from pole only as far as Copse Corner on the first lap before a clip from Hamilton took out the Red Bull's tyre.

A 40-minute red flag stoppage followed as the two teams offered contrasting views on the incident, described by Christian Horner as "dirty driving".

Hamilton was able to resume with only the 10-second penalty and was still in contention in fourth after serving his punishment.

The defending champion reeled in Lando Norris, benefited from a switch with team-mate Valtteri Bottas and then finally caught Charles Leclerc.

WHAT TO EXPECT IN HUNGARY

A response, of course! As he has made clear, Verstappen was not enamoured by events last time out and will be determined to hit back.

The opportunity to show off his Red Bull's pace is likely to appeal far more than another dogfight, though. Silverstone offered evidence of how that can go wrong for Verstappen.

Until heading to the United Kingdom, he had been in scintillating form, blowing Mercedes away with three wins on the bounce.

There is intrigue behind the two leading men, too, with Leclerc, Daniel Ricciardo and Carlos Sainz Jr finally starting to show again they are capable of mixing it with Norris, Bottas and Sergio Perez.

TOP FIVE OPTA STATS

Closing in – After five races without a win, Hamilton's victory last time out was his 99th in F1. Just as he was the first to a century of pole positions, 100 wins would break new ground.

Briton's breakthrough – It would be fitting if Hamilton did reach that milestone in Hungary, where he claimed his first Mercedes triumph back in 2013. That was his only Silver Arrows success prior to the hybrid era.

Pole pursuit – Hamilton will hope for a better Saturday to improve his chances of victory. Mercedes have not claimed pole in their past six races, their second-worst such stretch of the hybrid era.

Ferrari frustration – Mercedes' issues pale in comparison to Ferrari's. Leclerc was denied by Hamilton's fightback at Silverstone and the Scuderia will be 34 without a win if they fail again this weekend. That would tie their second-worst streak ever.

Streaky McLarens – Norris' run of earning points in 15 successive grands prix is the best run in McLaren's history. Meanwhile, team-mate Ricciardo has finished 26 straight races, the eighth-longest sequence ever in F1.

CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS 

Drivers 

1. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) – 185
2. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) – 177
3. Lando Norris (McLaren) – 113
4. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) – 108
5. Sergio Perez (Red Bull) – 104

Constructors 

1. Red Bull – 289
2. Mercedes – 285
3. McLaren – 163
4. Ferrari – 148
5. AlphaTauri – 49

Red Bull have requested a review with the FIA over the 10-second penalty given to Lewis Hamilton following his collision with Max Verstappen at the British Grand Prix.

Hamilton made contact with title rival Verstappen on the first lap at Copse Corner in this month's race, which the Mercedes driver went on to win despite the penalty.

Verstappen was taken to hospital for checks after a 51G impact with the tyre barrier at Silverstone and Red Bull argued the punishment handed to Hamilton was not severe enough.

Red Bull boss Christian Horner accused the Briton of "dirty driving" at the time and suggested a challenge would be lodged.

Formula One's governing body the FIA confirmed on Tuesday the team had submitted a petition for a review of the incident, with Red Bull and Mercedes officials being summoned to attend a video conference on Thursday.

A review is permitted if "a significant and relevant new element is discovered which was unavailable to the parties seeking the review at the time of the decision concerned."

Speaking last week, Horner said Verstappen's crash with Hamilton cost Red Bull around $1.8million, an outlay that will have "massive ramifications" for the team.

Hamilton heads into next weekend's Hungarian Grand Prix eight points behind Verstappen after triumphing on home soil for a record-extending eighth time.

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