SILVERSTONE: Max Verstappen delivered Red Bull’s first victory at Silverstone since 2012 on Sunday when he made the most of a superior strategy in sizzling conditions to beat both Mercedes and claim victory in the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix.
It was the Dutchman’s first victory of the season after Mercedes had won all four season-opening races and the ninth of his career.
“I think we did everything perfectly today,” he said. “Thank you.”
His team boss Christian Horner responded with a team in-joke: “That was brilliant …. fully-sanitised.”
Verstappen owed his victory to a team decision to start the race on hard compound tyres while his main rivals all launched from the grid on ‘mediums’, the two Mercedes men struggling to manage tyre-wear throughout the race.
Verstappen won by 11.326 seconds ahead of drivers’ standings leader and six-time champion Lewis Hamilton who passed Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas in the closing stages. The Finn finished third.
“I didn’t see that coming, but after the first stint it seemed we were really good on tyres. I didn’t have any tyre issues at all – a great day for us,” said the Dutch star.
Hamilton said: “That was a massive challenge, but congratulations to Red Bull. It was definitely unexpected to have the blistering as hard core as that.”
Bottas, who started from pole, said: “Very frustrating for me, to start from pole and finish third … It’s not ideal and I think that as a team we were sleeping at some points in the race. My strategy was far from ideal.”
Hamilton’s podium finish meant he equalled Michael Schumacher’s career record of 155 podium finishes. It was also his record-extending 38th points scoring finish in a row.
Charles Leclerc came home fourth after a sterling drive for Ferrari ahead of Alex Albon in the second Red Bull, Lance Stroll and his Racing Point team-mate Nico Hulkenberg.
Esteban Ocon finished eighth for Renault ahead of Lando Norris of McLaren and Daniil Kvyat of Alpha Tauri.
This was the first time a race had been won by a driver who did not start on pole position in seven races since last year’s Mexican Grand Prix.