Poleman Hamilton was passed by Verstappen at Turn 1 on the first lap, and passed the first stint of the race behind the Red Bull driver, eventually losing 5.5 seconds after the pit.
Hamilton was then able to close in on Verstappen on medium tires and had to pass before Mercedes called him for a second pit stop.
With Red Bull engaging Verstappen in a one-stop-shop strategy, Hamilton was able to put his cooler tires to good use, taking the Dutchman two seconds per lap to widen the gap.
He eventually passed for the lead with seven laps remaining, securing his third win of the season in the process and edging 14 points ahead of the drivers’ championship.
“[It was] such a close start, obviously there was a bit of rubber on the right side and Red Bull got off to a great start, ”said Hamilton.
“Then I was hunting, and I was so close for so long, and I didn’t think I was going to be able to make the tires last.
“But I just managed to keep them sort of. And a long way to go 20 seconds back. But it was a good bet, a really good strategy.”
Race winner Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12 crosses the finish line
Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images
Hamilton thanked Mercedes Chief of F1 Strategy James Vowles for the team radio after taking the checkered flag, and explained that the team still plans to keep a set of supports available in case they do. would opt for a two-stop strategy.
“The plan throughout the weekend to make sure we have two mediums, to be able to make one two stops,” Hamilton said.
“Even though a one-stop-shop looks potentially better, I know from experience here that a one-stop-shop is very, very difficult to achieve. And as soon as we got the pace that we had, I knew as soon as I could move on. him if I could. “
Hamilton closed within half a second of Verstappen on lap 42 and looked set to cross the main straight before being called to the pits for his second stop.
The seven-time world champion admitted he was torn over whether to ignore the call to be able to overtake Verstappen or not.
“I was about to get, I think, a shot to pass him before I pitted him in the end,” said Hamilton.
“I was really in conflict: do I go in or do I ignore the call and stay away? I did what the team asked for and it’s because there is great trust between us.
“It was a remarkable job from everyone on this team. What a day!”