Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen scored his ninth career victory in Formula 1 by beating the Mercedes pair of Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas.
The softer tyres and hot temperatures at Silverstone played a factor for Red Bull in defeating rival Mercedes in Formula 1’s 70th Anniversary Grand Prix.
Verstappen’s hard starting tyres paid off immediately in the opening stint, while polesitter Bottas lost out in a late wheel-to-wheel fight with Hamilton, who had run longer in the middle stage of the race.
Charles Leclerc took another unexpectedly high result for Ferrari with fourth place, while team-mate Sebastian Vettel had to put in a recovery drive after spinning at the start.
At the start, Bottas held the lead off the line while behind the black Mercedes cars Verstappen immediately launched past Hulkenberg to seize third.
In the pack behind, Vettel spun at the first turn after getting onto the inside kerb at Abbey while following Leclerc – with Vettel fortunate not to wipe out Carlos Sainz Jr as he snapped left and fell to the rear of the field.
Hamilton chased Bottas and attacked around the outside going into Brooklands – echoing their battle at the same spot from the 2019 British Grand Prix – but Bottas shrugged off his teammate’s attention and moved clear in first.
The Mercedes drivers initially pulled clear of Verstappen, but the Red Bull driver used his hard tyre advantage to close in as the first stint went on.
Red Bull even warned Verstappen he was getting too close – a call he swiftly rebuffed – and he continued to home in on Hamilton, with both Mercedes drivers beginning to struggle for tyre life with the race barely ten laps old.
As Verstappen twice had a look to Hamilton’s inside at Copse, with the gap between the pair at the 0.5 seconds mark, Mercedes called Bottas in to switch his blistered mediums for hards at the end of lap 13 of 52.
Hamilton came in at the end of the next lap to leave Verstappen in the lead.
The Mercedes drivers, particularly Bottas, immediately moved to set their quickest laps of the race at that stage, but it soon became clear that Verstappen was able to lap fastest despite his tyres having done Q2 and the opening stint.
Both Bottas and Hamilton looked to be struggling with blisters on their hards and set a series of times in the one minute, 32 seconds, while Verstappen was able to run comfortably in the one minute, 31 seconds.
He continued until lap 26 to take the medium tyres and rejoined just behind Bottas at the pit exit.
But with the advantage of fresh rubber and DRS he attacked down the Wellington Straight and to the inside of Brooklands.
Bottas stayed in front but not for long as Verstappen ran easily around the outside of Luffield to retake the lead as they accelerated out of the long right-hander.
Verstappen used his new tyres to set a series of personal bests and pulled out a lead over Bottas, before Red Bull told him to abandon all tyre management – just as Bottas had set the races fastest lap.
The Red Bull driver soon retook that and raced clear on a rather short second stint, with Verstappen and Bottas coming in together on lap 32 – Verstappen to go back to hards and Bottas to take another set of the white-walled rubber.
Mercedes left Hamilton out for another nine laps, with Red Bull briefly concerned he would try to go to the end despite the blisters down the middle of both of the world champion’s rear tyres.
He rejoined in fourth position behind Leclerc, who had risen up the order from eighth on the grid with an unseen but effective one-stopper, and he immediately lit up the time screens.
Hamilton did not immediately clear the Ferrari – doing so to the inside of Stowe despite a late and firm move from Leclerc to cover the attack on lap 45 – but when he did he homed in on Bottas, with both Mercedes drivers told they were “free to race”.
By the end of lap 49 Hamilton was all over Bottas’s rear and he blasted by with DRS on the Wellington Straight to take second.
Verstappen had a near nine-second lead which never looked in danger of being eroded in the final few laps and he roared home to take his first win of the season, with the Mercedes drivers significantly slower on the last lap.
Leclerc held on to make his one-stop work and take an unexpected fourth for Ferrari, with Alex Albon recovering to fifth after starting ninth in the second Red Bull.
He put in a series of bold passes around the outside of Copse – including moves on Kimi Raikkonen and Lando Norris – after Red Bull brought him in early to get rid of the mediums he had started on.
Albon demoted Lance Stroll to sixth late on, with Nico Hulkenberg ending up seventh as he required an extra third stops – for the unfancied softs – in the closing stages of his Formula 1 return.
Esteban Ocon also made a one-stopper work to go from his penalised grid position of P14 to eighth, with Norris and Daniil Kvyat rounding out the top ten.
Pierre Gasly struggled on the hards in the second stint and fell from seventh to P11 at the end, just ahead of the recovering Vettel.
Daniel Ricciardo spun battling Carlos Sainz Jr (who finished P13 for McLaren) in the middle phase of the race and the Renault driver came home P!4 after starting fifth.
Kevin Magnussen was a late retirement for Haas and the only non-finisher.
So congratulations to Max Verstappen with this amazing victory. That gamble after qualifying to start on the harder Pirelli worked in wonders especially for the opening stint. Max’s pace was very strong and to lap faster than both Mercedes driver is impressive. Well done Verstappen with this win for Red Bull Racing.
70th Anniversary Grand Prix, race results after 52 laps:
1 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Honda 1h19m41.993s
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 11.326s
3 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 19.231s
4 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 29.289s
5 Alexander Albon Red Bull-Honda 39.146s
6 Lance Stroll Racing Point-Mercedes 42.538s
7 Nico Hulkenberg Racing Point-Mercedes 55.951s
8 Esteban Ocon Renault 1m04.773s
9 Lando Norris McLaren-Renault 1m05.544s
10 Daniil Kvyat AlphaTauri-Honda 1m09.669s
11 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri-Honda 1m10.642s
12 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1m13.370s
13 Carlos Sainz Jr. McLaren-Renault 1m14.070s
14 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 1 Lap
15 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1 Lap
16 Romain Grosjean Haas-Ferrari 1 Lap
17 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1 Lap
18 George Russell Williams-Mercedes 1 Lap
19 Nicholas Latifi Williams-Mercedes 1 Lap
– Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari Retirement