Max Verstappen ended Mercedes' domination of the 2020 Formula 1 season with what turned out to be an easy win over Lewis Hamilton in the 70th Anniversary F1 Grand Prix at Silverstone on Sunday.
Verstappen, who started third behind pole sitter Valterri Bottas and Hamilton, was the only contender to start the Formula 1 race on the hard tire compound. Bottas made his first pit stop on lap 14 and Hamilton one lap later to give Verstappen the lead.
Meanwhile, Vertsappen held off on his first stop until lap 26 of the 52-lap race. The Red Bull driver came out of that pits in second behind Bottas, but he wasted no time in passing Bottas on the first turn out of the pits to re-take the lead.
Both Verstappen and Bottas made their second and final pit stops on lap 32 for fresh tires. Those pit stops allowed Hamilton to assume the lead until Hamilton, who was dealing with blistering tires and a degrading rear tire throughout the middle portion of the race, conceded the lead with his final pit stop for fresh tires and for one final run at Verstappen over the final 10 laps.
Verstappen was just too strong on this day, however, as he went on to a win over Hamilton by 11.3 seconds. Bottas finished third, 19.2 seconds behind.
The win was the ninth of Verstappen's career, and it came in his 107th start. It also came one week after he finished second to Hamilton on the same Silverstone track.
"I didn't see it coming," Verstappen said of his first victory of 2020. "But after the first stint, it seemed like we were really good on tires, and of course that was a question mark on how Mercedes was going to go on that hard tire."
Both Mercedes cars shredded tires late in the race a week ago. This time, the Mercedes drivers battled blistering tires, but there were no blowouts.
"I didn't have a lot of tire issues at all," Verstappen said. "We just had a great day. Everything worked out. We just kept pushing. It was an incredible result to win here. We had the right strategy"
Ferrari's Charles Leclerc, one of just three drivers to finish the race on one stop (Esteban Ocon, Kimi Raikkonen were the others), finished fourth. Alex Albon of Red Bull finished a strong fifth.
"It was an amazing performance," Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said. "Even after Mercedes pitted and came out on new hards, we were able to pull away."
With the second-place finish, Hamilton tied Michael Schumacher atop the all-time list for most podiums in Formula 1 with 155. Hamilton leaves the Silverstone doubleheader with 107 points and a 30-point lead in the championship over Verstappen. Bottas is 34 points back.
Verstappen's victory was the first for Red Bull at Silverstone since Mark Webber's win there in 2012. It was the first win for Honda power at Silverstone since Alain Prost in 1989.
The Red Bull win ended a string of five wins in a row for Mercedes, dating back to last season.
Lance Stroll led Racing Point to a strong 6-7 finish. Nico Hulkenberg, racing for Racing Point for sidelined Sergio Perez (COVID-19) made a bid for his first career podium finish before a late pit stop dropped him from fifth to seventh. Hulkenberg missed last week's race at Silverstone when his car failed to fire for the start of the race.
The only real racing incident came just after the start when Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel spun out going into the first turn. He dropped to 20th before finishing out of the points in 12th.
F1 70th Anniversary Grand Prix
at Silverstone, England
Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Winner
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Mercedes, 11.3 secs.
Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, 19.2 secs.
Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, 29.2 secs.
Alex Albon, Red Bull, 39.1 secs.
Lance Stroll, Racing Point, 42.5 secs.
Nico Hulkenberg, Racing Point, 55.9 secs.
Esteban Ocon, Renault, 1:04.7
Lando Norris, McLaren 1:05.5
Daniil Kvyat, AlphaTauri, 1:09.6
Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri, 1:10.6
Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, 1:13.3
Carlos Sainz, McLaren, 1:14.0
Daniel Ricciardo, Renault, 1 lap
Kimi Raikkonen, Alfa Romeo, 1 lap
Romain Grosjean, Haas, 1 lap
Antonio, Giovinazzi, Alfa Romeo, 1 lap
George Russell, Williams, 1 lap
Nicholas Latifi, Williams, 1 lap
Kevin Magnussen, Haas, 9 laps