SILVERSTONE, England — Max Verstappen sprung what could be the surprise of the Formula One season by beating Lewis Hamilton to win the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix on Sunday.
The Red Bull driver crossed the line at Silverstone 11.3 seconds clear of Hamilton, with Valtteri Bottas third.
“I didn’t see it coming but after the first stint it seemed we were really good on tires,” Verstappen said after his ninth career win. “We had a lot of pace in the car. I didn’t have any tire issues and we kept pushing.
“It was an incredible result to win, so everything worked out well and I am very happy.”
Mercedes had been expected to cruise to its fifth win from as many rounds this season. But both Hamilton and Bottas struggled with their tires to clear the way for Verstappen to take an unlikely win.
“It was a massive challenge,” Hamilton said. “Congrats to the Red Bull team and to Max. They didn’t have the problems we had today.
“It was definitely unexpected to have the blistering as hardcore. as we experienced. I was nervous the tire was going to explode but I am grateful I managed to progress and get through the race.”
Charles Leclerc finished fourth for Ferrari ahead of Red Bull’s Alexander Albon. Racing Point’s Lance Stroll of Montreal was sixth. Toronto’s Nicholas Latifi was 19th.
Hamilton will head to next week’s Spanish Grand Prix with a 30-point championship lead over second-place Verstappen. Hamilton has 107 points, Verstappen 77 and Bottas 73.
Hamilton’s Mercedes team has been the class act of the field this year and, after pole-sitter Bottas beat Hamilton to the first corner, it looked as though it would be a straight fight between the all-black cars for victory.
But Verstappen, who moved ahead of Racing