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Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton (centre) is over the moon as second placed Red Bull's Max Verstappen and Ferrari's third placed Sebastian Vettel look on at the podium. Image Credit: AFP

Hungaroring, Hungary: Lewis Hamilton regained his momentum in the drivers’ world championship with a memorable strategic victory on Sunday when he overcame young rival Max Verstappen to triumph in a tense and thrilling Hungarian Grand Prix.

The 34-year-old defending five-time champion started third on the grid in his Mercedes and, after stalking the 21-year-old Dutch tyro for most of a fascinating tactical contest, finally swept into the lead on lap 67 of a stirring 70 laps.

Hamilton’s record seventh win in Hungary and 81st of his career wrecked Red Bull’s hopes of turning Verstappen’s maiden pole position into victory and increased his lead in the title race to 62 points before the sport’s European summer break.

Verstappen, who led most of the race before his tyres faded, came home 17.796 seconds behind in second and clocked a record race fastest lap for the Hungaroring after a late pit-stop.

Four-time champion Sebastian Vettel was third for Ferrari ahead of teammate Charles Leclerc, Carlos Sainz of McLaren and Pierre Gasly in the second Red Bull.

Kimi Raikkonen was seventh for Alfa Romeo ahead of Hamilton’s Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas who had been forced into an early pit-stop after a first lap incident.

British rookie Lando Norris was ninth in the second Mercedes and Alex Albon 10th for Toro Rosso.

“What a drive, what a strategy,” said Hamilton’s race engineer Peter Bonnington. “Only you could make that work today.”

Mercedes matched Red Bull’s strategy until gambling with a late additional pit-stop that left Hamilton with 20 laps to make up a 20-second deficit on fresh tyres - a move that worked with Verstappen complaining to his team before he lost the lead “my tyres are dead”.

“They rolled the dice and it worked for them, unfortunately,” Red Bull team boss Christian Horner told Verstappen.

“But you drove your heart out.”

A week after his forlorn error-riddled exit from a tumultuous German Grand Prix, won by Verstappen, Hamilton had bounced back in style.

“It feels like a new win for us,” he said.

“I didn’t know if I could do it and I am sorry I doubted our strategy - it was brilliant.”

Formula One teams have, meanwhile, given their approval in principle to an expanded 22-race calendar next year without any allowance for an additional power-unit, Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff has said.

Speaking after a teams’ meeting with F1 chief executive Chase Carey at the Hungarian Grand Prix, Wolff was quoted saying the 22-race plan with no extra engines - and therefore costs for the smaller customer teams - was supported.

“In a nutshell, we basically agreed to have a 22nd race,” said Wolff, as quoted by Autosport.

“We’ve got to let Liberty do their business and their business is to grow F1.

“If they are able to attract promoters, we’ve got to support them so, we shouldn’t change the technical regulations because we have an extra race. That was the debate we had.”

Wolff added that an increase to the duration of the season and number of races should not be interpreted as a chance for more components to be used on the cars.

“It shouldn’t be seen as an opportunity to increase the number of components, but equally we’ve got to protect our people and all of us because it could get to a point where it’s not manageable any more with one single crew.

“That becomes a factor that needs a solution.”