Verstappen outduels Mercedes duo to win Emirates GP

Max Verstappen proved once again he is the most talented driver in F1, beating the two Mercedes with an inferior car.
Max Verstappen proved once again he is the most talented driver in F1, beating the two Mercedes with an inferior car.

Max Verstappen might have won the British GP last weekend had his team not pitted him late to get the fastest lap, and this week Red Bull played the tire strategy to perfection and Max Verstappen, the more talented driver, defeated Lewis Hamilton in the Emirates GP at Silverstone comfortably despite Hamilton having the superior car.

Valtteri Bottas was third in the 2nd Mercedes after starting from pole.

Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) and Alex Albon (Red Bull) rounded out the top-5.

It was the first win at Silverstone for Red Bull since 2012 with Sebastian Vettel.

It was quite the performance from Red Bull. Verstappen started on the hard tires, made that long first stint work, and covered off all threats. Brilliant stuff. "What an amazing race," Verstappen beams after his 9th F1 win.

He was told to back off. He refused. He chased after the Mercedes ahead, he managed his tires when they couldn't, he kept his composure to pass Bottas out on track, and he didn't panic when Hamilton looked like he was going to one-stop.

"I didn't see it coming but after that first stint we seemed to be really good on our tires," said Verstappen. "An incredible result, we just had a great day, everything went smoothly."

Hamilton enjoyed a late-race surge, passing his teammate with two laps to go into Brooklands to claim second place – equaling 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.

"Yeah that was a massive challenge," said Hamilton. "Definitely unexpected to have the blistering like we experienced it. I'm sure the team will work as hard as they can as we haven't had this before, but I think it is because of the high tire pressures we are running now, the highest we have ever used."

Impressive stuff from Leclerc too, who made a long one-stop race work to jump up from P8 to fourth at the flag, despite having a not incredibly competitive Ferrari under him.

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 teammate Nico Hulkenberg, who stopped late for soft tires.

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 teammate Pierre Gasly to take his second point of the season.

Select Quotes

Max Verstappen, Winner
“It’s a great day and I’m very happy with the result as we did everything really well as a Team. The race showed we had the right strategy after our decision to qualify on the hard tire and I’m pleased it paid off. I think the length and pace of our first stint was the key to being competitive as the mediums don’t last that long, so starting on the hard was definitely the right call. We can see the car works well on softer compounds, especially in the race, and it looks after its tires. When you are able to overtake and pull away from a Mercedes it is really satisfying. Of course, I hope this will happen a lot more throughout the season and we’ll keep pushing them hard even though they have been the dominant team up until now. We’ll keep pushing, we have a really good Team spirit and I love that we never give up and do take risks. We will enjoy today because everyone deserves it after all the hard work, before focusing our attention on next week’s race in Barcelona."

Alex Albon
“I am happy with today’s race and the car was unbelievable. At the beginning of the race it was tricky to overtake with the DRS train but once we had clear air we had a really good chance to get through the field. I was a bit surprised by the balance and race pace today, it was so good, so we need to go away and understand why. It shows we have a lot of potential in the car, it’s just hard to unlock it sometimes, but we are good in these conditions so now we know to find out why. It was a good finish to get fifth and hopefully we can now bring some more performance to next week’s race."

Christian Horner
“Today is an amazing day for the Team with Max putting in a dominant performance in the race. After taking a risk in qualifying yesterday and electing to start on the hard tire, Max made it pay dividends with great race pace in the first stint. To our surprise and encouragement, when Mercedes pitted for new tires we still had better pace on our used hard set. We then switched our strategy to go onto the medium once we got a pit stop clear of Mercedes and re-emerged just behind Bottas who Max re-passed within a couple of corners. Max then covered Bottas off by going onto his remaining hard tire to the end of the race by which point he was fully in control to score his ninth victory. Alex also put in another very strong race today with some great passes, particularly around the outside of Copse as he progressed through the field decisively to finish a very competitive fifth place. First and fifth today is great constructors points and moves Max up to second in the Drivers’ Championship. This victory is thanks to a monumental Team effort from everyone trackside, in the factory and also Honda. We’re making great strides and days like today show we’re going in the right direction and now we need to harness this potential moving forwards. Now we look ahead to the next race in Barcelona and let’s hope it’s a hot one!"

Lewis Hamilton
It was a really challenging race out there today. Fair play to Max on the win, Red Bull didn't seem to have the same tire issues we encountered. I'm just grateful that we managed to bring it home in P2 and score some good points. We didn't expect to struggle with the blistering to the extent we experienced it. The first stint was difficult, in the second stint I was managing the tires like you cannot believe. I was doing everything I could to nurse the tires, but it made no difference to the blistering. I was pushing so hard in those final laps to pass Charles and Valtteri that it felt like I was racing with half a tire at the end. I don't know if anyone else struggled with the blistering the same way we did, so we'll have to see what happened today, but I know this team will get on top of it.

Valtteri Bottas
That was a frustrating race today. It's never great to start from pole and finish P3. I think we were pretty much on the backfoot from the moment I lost track position to Max. We potentially could have gone longer in the second stint, the way Lewis did, to be able to push more towards the end of the race on fresher tires. I tried to keep up with Max, but as soon as I started to push in the final stint the tires just fell apart. We really struggled with the blistering today; as soon as you have blisters, you lose the grip and the performance, and it becomes very tough. It seems like the other teams, particularly Red Bull, didn't have the same problem, so we'll have to look into that and try and get to the bottom of it. There's a lot to learn for us today, but as always we'll move on and try to come back stronger.

Toto Wolff
Congratulations to Max and Red Bull for their first race of the season. For us, it's been a difficult day in the office. We knew that in certain conditions we weren't as competitive as we would like to be and that caught us out today. It's a combination of hotter conditions, a high-downforce car, softer compounds and higher tire pressures that meant that we didn't have the fastest car today and we were blistering our tires far more than the others. We have a handful of days to find out what exactly caused our issues today, come up with solutions, test them on Friday in Barcelona and then hopefully have a better race on Sunday. It will be challenging, but we've had these days in the past and came out stronger and I am really looking forward to Barcelona. These days where we lose are the days where we learn the most.

Andrew Shovlin
Well done to Max and Red Bull on the win. We couldn't really compete with them today and were in damage limitation mode from fairly early in the race to make sure we didn't slip further back than second and third. We've obviously got work to do before Barcelona to understand our performance today, we were clearly more prone to blistering than our opposition and just about every car out there looked to be in better shape. However, our bad days have always resulted in our biggest steps of learning and we'll be getting stuck into that challenge immediately. The forecast for Barcelona looks like it will be even hotter than here so we don't have long to understand these issues.

Lance Stroll
“I had a good start to the race and made up some places off the line, which put both of our cars into a great position early in the race. It was fun to have a battle with Nico and I managed to get him around the outside of Turn 6, but I locked up a little bit, and he was able to get by again. We then settled into P4 and P5, but it was clear that Leclerc was able to make a one-stop strategy work and the Red Bulls were very quick today. We’ve banked some good points with a solid strategy. We always want more, though, so we’ll go away and look into all the different strategies used today and learn from it. Nico did another good job, and it’s a strong result for the team."

Nico Hulkenberg
“I’m happy to have scored points for the team. P7 is a good result, especially when you haven’t raced for nine months. It wasn’t an easy race, and it was tough physically, but first of all, it was important that I made a good start and got through the first lap because once the race settled down, I could use my experience of managing tires and driving these types of Formula 1 cars. I was quite relieved after I got through the first few corners! In the second stint, it was tricky to manage the tires. Unfortunately, we had to pit again and move onto a three-stop strategy because there were some vibrations, and we needed to make sure I could make it to the finish."

Otmar Szafnauer, CEO & Team Principal
“Given our starting positions, we were hoping for a bit more today, but as the strategies played out I think we can be satisfied with sixth and seventh places. Lance and Nico drove clean and tidy races, and we had solid pace. It was important to bank a couple of good results and that’s exactly what we did – coming away with 14 points. We chose to play it safe and pit Nico a third time when his tires picked up a severe vibration. I think it was a sensible decision and I’m pleased he could still score good points after stepping into the car only last week."

Charles Leclerc
"Today feels like a victory, which is not something we like to say when we finish fourth. If you would have told me this morning that I could finish the race in my starting position in 8th, I would have signed immediately. In terms of strategy, the team had some concerns about the one-stop approach, looking at what happened to some of the tyres last week. But sometimes, as a driver, you feel something in the car that you can't see in the data. So I pushed to go for one stop because I believed I could make it work. I am glad that we went for it and that it worked out well. Last year, I knew that my weakest point was tyre management. I worked very hard to improve there, and to see the result on track is a huge satisfaction for me. I am interested in analysing the data from today and understanding where we found our pace. I was quite impressed and it was a positive surprise. In tough times like these, we have to take any opportunity we can get, and we did that today, so I am very happy with the result."

Sebastian Vettel
"Today I tried my best. Unfortunately I had a spin in turn 1 and I'm not sure what happened there. I thought I got hit, but actually it was a kerb, and I suddenly lost the car. However, I also feel we could have done a better job on the strategy. After my first stop I was in traffic and for this reason we had to bring forward the second stop. In the end I had to drive on the Medium tyres for 20 laps, which I feel was not the best choice we could have made today. Of course the race was difficult overall and it's a pity we couldn't get back to where we wanted to be."

Mattia Binotto, Ferrari Team Principal
"It was definitely a better day than yesterday. On the Hard tyre in the race, we rediscovered a level of performance that at least allowed us to stay ahead of our current rivals. Given the positions of our drivers at the end of the first lap – Charles tenth and Sebastian last – we tried to make the best strategy choices to bring home as many points as possible for the team. After that we made up six places with Charles and eight with Sebastian, so I don't think we could have done better in a race in which there were hardly any retirements or safety car periods. Charles finished in the same excellent position as last weekend and Sebastian's position was the result of his first lap incident. We must do all we can to ensure that he too can make the most of his talent and use all the car's potential. Now we face another test at the very demanding Montmelo track, where we had struggled during winter testing. The aim is still the same: to improve our performance both in qualifying and the race to bring home as many points as possible with both drivers.""

George Russell
It was a very difficult race. We made a really poor getaway and lost a couple of positions. It was difficult for everybody, but that’s how it is in these tricky races sometimes. We have a lot to understand and review, it just wasn’t our day. It’s been two very different weekends at Silverstone. We need to understand why and what’s changed between these two weekends and how that will help us moving forward. Nevertheless, it has been a good two weeks. Our qualifying pace is strong, so we just need to keep working on our Sunday pace.

Nicholas Latifi
It was a race that you had to adapt on the fly based on the situation and the strategy. The car was feeling great, even better than last weekend and it is the most confidence I have had behind the wheel in a race so far. I think the finishing position is not where we deserve to be, we came into some tire issues with our rear left, which forced us into a third stop. I think we were just unlucky with the track position and being stuck behind some cars. I’m a bit disappointed, but the positive is that the pace is there.

Results

POS DRIVER NAT. TEAM BEHIND
1 Max Verstappen NED Aston Martin Red Bull Racing +0.000s
2 Lewis Hamilton GBR Mercedes AMG Petronas +11.326
3 Valtteri Bottas FIN Mercedes AMG Petronas +19.231
4 Charles Leclerc MON Scuderia Ferrari +29.289
5 Alexander Albon THA Aston Martin Red Bull Racing +39.146
6 Lance Stroll CAN BWT Racing Point F1 Team +42.538
7 Nico Hulkenberg GER BWT Racing Point F1 Team +55.951
8 Esteban Ocon FRA Renault F1 Team +64.773
9 Lando Norris GBR McLaren F1 Team +65.544
10 Daniil Kvyat RUS Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda +69.669
11 Pierre Gasly FRA Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda +70.642
12 Sebastian Vettel GBR Scuderia Ferrari +73.370
13 Carlos Sainz ESP McLaren F1 Team +74.070
14 Daniel Ricciardo AUS Renault F1 Team +1 lap
15 Kimi Raikkonen FIN Alfa Romeo Racing Orlen +1 lap
16 Romain Grosjean FRA Haas F1 Team +1 lap
17 Antonio Giovinazzi ITA Alfa Romeo Racing Orlen +1 lap
18 George Russell GBR Williams Racing +1 lap
19 Nicholas Latifi CAN Williams Racing +1 lap
DNF Kevin Magnussen DEN Haas F1 Team DNF

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