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Verstappen and Red Bull in another league to rivals: Wolff

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BUDAPEST: Max Verstappen's crushing triumph in Sunday's Hungarian Grand Prix confirmed not only his dominance of the drivers' title race, but also Red Bull's apparent invincibility en route to a record-breaking success.

The two-time defending world champion's victory was his seventh in succession and the team's record 12th in a row, a run that has left their rivals gasping in pursuit — and admiration.

AFP Sport looks at three things we learned from Sunday's race at the Hungaroring:

Verstappen's Red Bull makes rivals look like Formula Two cars: Wolff Twenty-four hours after the euphoric celebrations when Lewis Hamilton beat Verstappen in qualifying, albeit by a fraction of a second, Mercedes were back to square one, admitting they felt like distant also-rans.

Hamilton had turned his record 104th pole position into a fourth place finish ahead of team-mate George Russell, with McLaren's Lando Norris and a revitalised Sergio Perez, in the second Red Bull, finishing second and third.

"We could talk each other up and say 'we could have been and would have been second'," said team chief Toto Wolff.

"But that is irrelevant because you have a car that was 38 seconds in front that was probably cruising most of the time... That is the bitter reality."

"We are going to fight back and win races and championships, but we saw the pace Max had and for now that's where they are -- it was like a bunch of Formula Two cars against an F1 car."

Ferrari revival a long way off After a disappointing British Grand Prix, Ferrari were unable to find any reasons for optimism in Hungary and suffered another weekend of poor form and self-inflicted setbacks that do not augur well for the future.

Charles Leclerc finished seventh, his race compromised by a botched pit-stop and a five-second penalty for speeding in the pit-lane while Carlos Sainz finished eighth after qualifying only 11th.

At Silverstone, they were ninth and 10th -- and the Italian team is clearly no longer among the front-runners with Red Bull, McLaren, Mercedes and Aston Martin pushing them into the midfield places.

"It's not what we expected, but we were compromised by our qualifying," said team chief Fred Vasseur, who has struggled to have a positive impact on results since coming on board this year.

"We need time to understand what we did right and wrong.

"I have spent the last 35 years on the pit-wall and every Monday you have a long list of mistakes -- sometimes you can see them and sometimes not."

Norris the coming man After two consecutive podium finishes behind his friend Max Verstappen, Lando Norris has led McLaren's mid-season resurgence and endorsed his position as a future winner and possible champion.

The 23-year-old Briton did little wrong at the Hungaroring until he accidentally broke the winner's unique porcelain trophy while banging a Champagne bottle on the podium to generate spray, an incident that left both drivers laughing.

"Max placed it too close to the edge," said Norris.

"It fell over, I guess. Not my problem. It's his!" — AFP

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