Verstappen manages tyres to win at Silverstone

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

7 thoughts to “Verstappen manages tyres to win at Silverstone”

  1. Race review as reported by

    Max Verstappen has become the first non-Mercedes driver to win a race in 2020, the Red Bull racer winning out in the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix from the Mercedes pairing of Lewis Hamilton and polesitter Valtteri Bottas after an incredible display at Silverstone.

    Verstappen had been the only driver in the top 10 to begin the race on the hard tyres. And after starting P4 – which became P3 by Turn 1, after he quickly passed the Racing Point of Nico Hulkenberg – he managed his pace brilliantly throughout the race, pressuring the Mercedes early on before taking the lead from Bottas with a brilliant move around Luffield, before racing to the finish for his first victory since Brazil last year – and Red Bull’s first at Silverstone since 2012.

    Hamilton enjoyed a late-race surge, passing his team mate with two laps to go into Brooklands to claim second place – equalling the number of podium finishes of Michael Schumacher in the process – while it was the second time in three years that Bottas has failed to convert a Silverstone pole into a win, as he came home third.

    Charles Leclerc was another driver to manage his tyres well, making a one-stop work to claim a fine P4, while team mate Sebastian Vettel could only manage P12, having spun on his own at the first corner of the race.

    Alex Albon took fifth for the second Red Bull, passing the Racing Point of Lance Stroll with a lap to go, Stroll ending up P6 ahead of stand-in team mate Nico Hulkenberg, who stopped late on for soft tyres.

    Rounding out the top 10, Esteban Ocon was P8, ahead of the McLaren of Lando Norris and the AlphaTauri of Daniil Kvyat, who despite his lower starting position, finished one spot ahead of team mate Pierre Gasly to take his second point of the season.

    Polesitter Bottas was calm and assured off the line, heading Hamilton – who’d angled his Mercedes W11 aggressively towards his team mate on the grid – into Turn 1, while Verstappen was past Hulkenberg before Abbey to take P3. Further back, Sebastian Vettel ruined any advantage of starting P11 on the hard tyres by spinning on his own through Turn 1, relegating him to the back of the pack immediately.

    Daniel Ricciardo had maintained his fifth position, but trying to go around the outside of Hulkenberg at The Loop, got squeezed by the German, Ricciardo’s stutter on the throttle allowing Lance Stroll past for fifth. Up ahead, Hamilton had a sniff of an overtake on Bottas going into Brooklands, but Bottas held the corner, before settling into a rhythm at the head of the pack, just over a second up from Hamilton.

    George Russell and Charles Leclerc were two other fallers at the start, Russell briefly dropping behind his team mate Nicholas Latifi despite starting three places ahead of him, while Leclerc dropped from P8 to P10 – with Lando Norris doing the opposite to get up to P8.

    That became P7 when Pierre Gasly was one of the first to pit early doors on Lap 8, trading his mediums for hards as Alex Albon had a lap before, the two drivers the first of several to pit early on.

    Verstappen had done incredibly well to keep in touch with the Mercedes in the early part of the race, much to the chagrin of his race engineer Gianpiero Lambiase, who on Lap 11 told his driver to cool his pace to preserve his tyres. “Mate, this is my only chance of getting the Mercedes, I’m not just sitting around like a grandma,” came the response.

    He wasn’t. Verstappen had scented blood with Hamilton, and after leader Bottas pitted on Lap 14, emerging P6, the Dutchman was all over Hamilton’s rear wing, Hamilton complaining that his rear tyres were “finished”. The battle was called off, though, when Hamilton was brought in on Lap15, leaving Verstappen in the lead, having crucially started on the hard compound tyres.

    By Lap 26, the order was Verstappen from Bottas from Hamilton, Verstappen heading the Finn by 19s – theoretically enough for a free pit stop – and making Mercedes sweat, the Dutchman lapping consistently faster than the Silver Arrows despite being on much older tyres, with Lambiase then instructing his driver to increase his pace before bringing him in on Lap 27 for mediums.

    It wasn’t Red Bull’s finest pit stop, with the right-rear slow on, allowing Bottas to re-take the lead by a few car lengths when Verstappen emerged. It didn’t last long, though, Verstappen jinking to the inside on Bottas on the run down to Brooklands, before braving it out around the outside at Luffield and claiming the lead again – before immediately gapping Bottas by a couple of seconds.

    Lower down the order, Albon was in punchy form, passing Raikkonen with a scintillating move around the outside of Copse, before getting past Gasly at Brooklands and Norris, once again at Copse, before making his second pit stop on Lap 31.

    Haas’ Kevin Magnussen was slapped with a five-second penalty meanwhile, for re-joining the track aggressively into the path of Nicholas Latifi – while Haas would later retire the car from last place six laps from the end.

    Daniel Ricciardo, who’d sniffed a podium after finishing P3 in Free Practice 2, wasn’t having a good time of it, making two pit stops early on, before the Australian spun his Renault at the exit of Village and dropped to P12 on Lap 31. After his own Lap 1 spin, Vettel was not in the best of moods, either, lambasting Ferrari for his own pit stop having put him in an unfavourable gap. “We spoke about it this morning,” he seethed on the radio. “You’ve messed up.”

    Verstappen and Bottas both pitted again for hards on Lap 33, Red Bull confident enough to match Mercedes stop-for-stop, meaning that with 15 laps to go, the order was Hamilton – who Mercedes had opted to keep out as long as possible despite the haggard state of his hard tyres – with Verstappen around 10 seconds behind, then Bottas, Leclerc, Hulkenberg, Stroll and Albon, the Racing Points having held on decently after struggling for race pace at the British Grand Prix a week earlier, while having pitted on Lap 18, Leclerc had managed his tyre life beautifully to be up in P4.

    If Mercedes had thought that they might have been able to one-stop Hamilton, memories of his tyre failure from seven days earlier probably checked that course of action, with Hamilton pitted on Lap 42, 10 from the end, emerging fourth, and leaving Verstappen, Bottas and Leclerc in the top three.

    Hamilton’s pace was electric in the latter stages, though, as he picked off Leclerc at the end of the Hanger straight before chasing after his team mate. He was on his tail with a handful of laps to go, and pulled off the coup de grace on Bottas on Lap 50 of 52 into Brooklands to take P2.

    The Mercedes’ squabbles, though, had allowed Verstappen to clear off at the front. He had enough time in hand to send a cheeky message to Lambiase on the final lap reminding him to stay hydrated – as he had done a week ago – before he delightedly weaved across the line to take his ninth career win, admitting after the race that it was a victory he “didn’t see it coming”.

    Hamilton was able to hold on for second, after suggesting darkly on team radio during the race that Verstappen’s pace might have owed something to what Red Bull had done with his tyre pressures – while Bottas found it “very frustrating” to finish third after starting first, stingingly saying afterwards that his team had been “sleeping” strategy-wise, as Hamilton appeared to receive a more optimum strategy.

    Charles Leclerc finished on the podium a week ago, but seemed almost happier with P4 this time around, whooping into his radio after boldly making a one-stop strategy work in one of the drives of the day.

    After starting P9, Albon once more had to fight through the pack, but did so with aplomb, picking off Stroll with a lap to go for P5, Stroll then finishing sixth ahead of Hulkenberg, with the German having pitted late on for softs.

    Fourth at the British Grand Prix, Ricciardo’s day was more difficult this time around as he wound up P14, but Reanult team mate Esteban Ocon’s performance was better, as he ended up eighth, ahead of the McLaren of Norris and the two AlphaTauris of Daniil Kvyat and Gasly.

    So there you go – Mercedes can be beaten. And perhaps it’s hardly surprising that the driver to do it was Max Verstappen, whose defiance of his engineer early in the race made for such an exciting 70th Anniversary Grand Prix. Roll on Barcelona…

  2. After winning the race, Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen admitted he “didn’t see it coming”. has the news story.

    Max Verstappen was surprised to beat both Mercedes Formula 1 drivers to victory in Sunday’s 70th Anniversary Grand Prix, saying he “didn’t see it coming”.

    Verstappen was able to give his rivals a lesson in tyre management by stretching out his first stint on the hard compound Pirellis, pulling out a gap on Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton after their early stops.

    Verstappen emerged from the pits after his first stop just behind Bottas, but quickly passed the Mercedes driver before moving off the medium tyre just six laps later, moving back to hards.

    A final push to cover off a possible one-stop strategy for Hamilton was ultimately not required as Mercedes called the world champion in for a second time, returning the lead to Verstappen.

    Having downplayed Red Bull’s chances throughout the weekend, Verstappen conceded after the race that he did not expect to beat the Mercedes drivers to victory.

    “I didn’t see it coming,” Verstappen said. “But after the first stint, it seemed like we were really good on tyres. Of course that is a question mark, how Mercedes is going to go on the hard tyre.

    “We had a lot of pace in the car, I didn’t really have a lot of tyre issues at all. We just kept pushing, and [it’s] an incredible result of course to win here.

    “We had a great day. I think everything worked out well we had the right strategy. Everything was running smoothly. I was incredibly happy to win.”

    Verstappen was able to make a good start from fourth place on the grid before putting pressure on both Mercedes drivers in the early stages of the race.

    Red Bull warned Verstappen that he needed to look after his tyres and to drop box, only for the Dutchman to quip back: “This the only chance of being close to the Mercedes, I’m not just sitting behind like a grandma!”

    Verstappen explained after the race that he sensed an early opportunity to catch the Mercedes, and didn’t want to let it slip through his fingers.

    “We so far [this season] didn’t really have an opportunity in all the races to push them, and I could see we were pushing them,” Verstappen said.

    “So I tried to put the pressure on. They had to pit, and from then onwards, I could do my own pace, and basically built that that advantage to the end.”

    The result lifts Verstappen to second place in the drivers’ championship ahead of Bottas, who finished the race in third, and leaves him just 30 points behind leader Hamilton.

    Asked if he had a Mercedes-beating car for the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona next weekend, Verstappen replied: “I don’t know, I think we do need to use soft tyres, that seems to suit our car.

    “But we’ll see again in Barcelona. I think at the moment, we are just very happy that we just won.”

  3. This was another challenging race in terms of tyres. Lewis Hamilton was able to finish in second position and says new pressures making tyres like “balloons”. has the details.

    Lewis Hamilton suspects that the increased tyre pressures that have led to them being like “balloons” contributed to the blistering problems that hurt Mercedes in the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix.

    With Max Verstappen taking a surprise victory for Red Bull at Silverstone, as Mercedes faced battles all afternoon to keep its tyres alive, Hamilton said he never expected things to be as bad as they were.

    And with Mercedes suffering the most out of all the teams, Hamilton suspects that a ramping up of tyre pressures as a result of the failures encountered last week may have been to blame.

    Asked if he had any reasons why Mercedes was hurt more than others, the second placed finisher said: “Not that I know of at the moment, but I’m sure the team will be working as hard as they can, because we’ve not had that before.

    “I would imagine most likely is obviously Pirelli were struggling with tyre failures last week. So then weekend on weekend on, they just put the pressures up and up and up and up. They’re balloons now, they’re the highest pressures we’ve ever had on a track like that.

    “I wouldn’t be surprised if that was a thing for us. But I don’t know if anyone else struggled with blistering like we had so it’s something we’ll look into.”

    Hamilton said that he was happy to have recovered to second after a tricky race where at times he felt he was driving with just half a tyre.

    “Definitely unexpected to have the blistering as hardcore as we experienced it,” he said. “But I’m really grateful to have progressed and managed to just get my way through the race.

    “I think right at the end I had blistering again but I’d been pushing pretty heavily to catch the guys.”

    He added: “That second stint, I was managing like you couldn’t believe. I was managing to the best of my ability but it just didn’t make a single difference to that blistering.

    “At the end I was just driving with half a tyre basically. If you look in the mirrors, one half was bald and the other side was okay, so it held together. But of course I was nervous it was going to explode or something.”

  4. Valtteri Bottas says Mercedes was “sleeping at some point” when Max Verstappen managed to get ahead en route to victory in the Formula 1 70th Anniversary Grand Prix.

    Bottas led the early part of the race after starting on pole position, but struggled for pace after switching to the hard compound tyre for the second stint.

    Red Bull opted to keep Verstappen out for a long first stint on the hard tyre, during which he was able to match Bottas’ pace despite the Finn having pitted for a fresher set.

    It meant that by the time Verstappen took his first pit stop, he emerged just behind Bottas before passing him into Brooklands on his out lap and going on to take a commanding victory.

    Bottas ultimately finished the race third on a two-stop strategy after being passed by Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton in the closing stages.

    “Very frustrating obviously, starting from pole and finishing third is not ideal,” Bottas said after the race.

    “I think as a team, we were sleeping at some point when Max managed to get ahead of us, and my strategy was far, far from ideal. So lots to learn from today.

    “There was a chance to keep up with Max, but as soon as I started to push towards the end, the tyres just fell apart.

    “It was a blistering in the tyres today for us, and [it] seems like Red Bull had none, so they clearly had an edge over them.”

    Both Mercedes cars struggled with blistering on the hard compound tyres throughout the race, leaving Bottas and Hamilton unable to match Verstappen’s pace.

    Pirelli opted to bring a softer selection of tyres to Silverstone this weekend than at the British Grand Prix, while track temperatures swelled beyond 40ºC in the race.

    “The tyres just overheat, so it is basically boiling,” Bottas explained.

    “You get holes in the tyre, and then you just lose grip. Once you start to have those blisters in that particular tyre, you just lose cornering grip, and you go slower and slower.

    “We’ll move on. Of course, a disappointing day, but we move on.”


  5. Racing Point’s Nico Hulkenberg missed out on the opportunity to score a podium result. He explains the reasons for the “forced” late pitstop. has the details.

    Nico Hulkenberg doubts his tyres would have lasted until the end of the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix due to a vibration that forced him into a late pitstop.

    After qualifying third on Saturday at Silverstone, Racing Point stand-in Hulkenberg looked on course to record a top-five finish after completing his second stop for a fresh set of hard tyres.

    Hulkenberg was lapping quicker than both Mercedes drivers at one point and was catching the one-stopping Charles Leclerc, only to be called into the pits for a third time with eight laps remaining.

    The stop caused Hulkenberg to drop back to seventh in the final classification, losing positions to Red Bull’s Alexander Albon and Racing Point teammate Lance Stroll.

    Racing Point quickly said after the race that Hulkenberg had been struggling with a vibration on his tyres towards the end of the third stint, leaving it with no choice but to bring him in again.

    Hulkenberg doubted his tyres would have made it to the end of the race due to the issue.

    “We were kind of forced to pit off the prime set,” Hulkenberg explained on Sky Sports F1 after the race.

    “I think we got a couple of nice big blisters on both rear tyres. The vibration just gets so quickly out of hand that within two, three laps, it just skyrocketed.

    “I don’t think the tyre would have survived to the end. It was a pity. First half of the race was very under control, very managed.

    “The second I got onto the second prime set, that just felt like a different set of tyres, a different compound, and it just didn’t work in the end.”

    It marked Hulkenberg’s first race finish since his final appearance for Renault in 2019, having failed to start at Silverstone last weekend in his first race as Racing Point’s stand-in for Sergio Perez.

    Hulkenberg conceded that it was “tough” completing a full F1 race distance after so long out of a car.

    “Luckily these cars have the headrest quite close, so I could rest my head a lot,” Hulkenberg said.

    “The whole body, back muscles, even the seat is quite tight around the glutes. I’m definitely going to be a bit sore tomorrow morning.

    “It was a quiet race, no big fighting, no safety cars, but I’m actually quite grateful. I’m glad it wasn’t too action-packed, because it was enough as it was probably.”

    Hulkenberg is set to be on standby for Racing Point if Perez is unable to race again at the Spanish Grand Prix next weekend, but the team has said it is “99% sure” the Mexican will be able to return.

    “I don’t know the full picture, to be honest yet,” Hulkenberg said.

    “We’ll find out more in the next couple of days, and as we get closer to the weekend, it will develop.

    “I guess I’ll be present just in case he’s not able to race. I guess I’ll be there to replace him again. I think it will come down to again a late decision on Thursday.”

  6. This was a tricky race for Sebastian Vettel, who spun on the opening lap at the first corner. The Ferrari driver even criticized the team’s strategy which “didn’t make any sense”. has the full story.

    Sebastian Vettel said Ferrari’s strategy in the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix “didn’t make any sense”, as he endured another difficult race at Silverstone.

    The German dropped to the back of the field on the first lap after spinning at the first corner, but steadily began to make some progress up the order.

    However, Ferrari’s strategy calls left him stuck in traffic – and he made clear his frustration on the team radio at one point by suggesting that the team had “messed up”.

    In the end, Vettel could manage no better than 12th place, as teammate Charles Leclerc delivered another strong showing to take fourth.

    Reflecting on his radio message, Vettel told Sky F1: “We spoke this morning that there’s no point pitting, knowing that we will run into traffic, and that’s exactly what we did.

    “We went also on a hard tyre, which we then only had on for roughly 10 laps, probably not even that. So it didn’t make any sense.

    “I mean, why would you put the hard for 10 laps and then put the medium for 20 laps? I was running out of tyres towards the end. So we spoke about exactly that. I guess not the best work we could have done today.”

    Vettel’s struggles at Silverstone came a week after near identical difficulties at the British Grand Prix, where he never felt comfortable with the car.

    While he has been more at one with the SF1000 this time out, he says the laptimes have not reflected any improvement.

    “Honestly, I think my pace was the same for both races at Silverstone, I don’t think there was an improvement,” he said.

    “The feeling was a bit better than last week, but the performance was the same. The pace was the same. And that’s a question mark, but I can’t do much about it. I will have to try to keep doing my best and keep calm as much as possible, looking ahead to next week”.

    He added: “We’ve been going through a very bad two weeks. I don’t know what happened in terms of pace. It’s a little weird. It’s certainly not the best day for me right now, it’s a bit frustrating.

    “I tried to do something today, but the way I spun on the first lap didn’t help. I don’t know what happened, because I tried to keep myself out of trouble but I felt a hit. It must have been the kerb, and that made me lose grip and spin. It took me by surprise.”

  7. Race winner Max Verstappen explains why he defied Red Bull warning to back off. has the details.

    Max Verstappen says he was confident managing his tyres while chasing the Mercedes pair during the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix which was why he pushed on despite Red Bull warnings.

    Verstappen charged to victory thanks to impressive tyre management over his first stint on the hard compound Pirellis which allowed him to pull out an advantage over Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton after their first stops.

    Opting for the alternative strategy by starting on the hard tyres, Verstappen knew his opening stint and tyre management would be crucial and after seeing the Mercedes duo struggling he started to close the gap which led to Red Bull warning him to drop back to look after his own tyres.

    Verstappen responded over his team radio, “this the only chance of being close to the Mercedes, I’m not just sitting behind like a grandma” and duly kept the pressure on before the first pitstops.

    After the race, the Dutch driver explained he was happy with his tyre management and could see the Mercedes drivers were suffering so he wanted to maximise his opportunity.

    “I was already managing [my tyres] but their tyres were completely gone, I could see the tyres opening up,” Verstappen said. “But it was also expected with these tyres especially on high fuel when the car is very heavy.

    “But I didn’t want to just sit behind like I have been doing in previous races all the time so once I had the opportunity to put a bit of pressure on I want to do that so I tried.

    “I had a big moment once when I was close to Lewis in Turn 13, because it is really hard to follow even when I had the grip advantage.

    “Then it got to the point where it was impossible for them to continue so they boxed and that is where my race started.”

    Verstappen also conceded he was wary of wrecking his own tyres while following Bottas and Hamilton but felt it wasn’t an issue that would compromise his race strategy which was why he continued to push against Red Bull’s advice.

    “I hate sitting back especially when you see the car is pretty decent,” he said. “Sometimes it can be a bit of suicide, killing your tyres and trying to hang on desperately but I don’t think that was the case today.”

    Verstappen has moved up to second place in the Formula 1 world drivers’ championship, ahead of Bottas, and is 30 points behind Hamilton at the top of the standings.

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