Max Verstappen praises his win in the French Grand Prix as “extremely fulfilling,” but anticipates a counterattack from Lewis Hamilton.
After a dramatic French Grand Prix, Max Verstappen extended his advantage at the top of the standings by 12 points.
In a dramatic strategy duel between Mercedes and Red Bull at the French Grand Prix, Max Verstappen triumphed and extended his championship lead to 12 points over Lewis Hamilton – but then stated he anticipates lots more fierce confrontations with the Briton this season.
On the medium tyre, Verstappen earned pole position and had a superb start off the line, but a lock-up into turn two allowed Hamilton to sweep by the Dutchman and into the lead of the race.
Red Bull was the first to blink during the pit stop window, preventing Mercedes from undercutting Hamilton, and Verstappen’s brilliant out-lap propelled him above his title rival.
Verstappen’s team subsequently went with a two-stop plan, relegating the Dutchman to fourth place for the time being. On fresher tyres, he carved his way through the field until passing Hamilton on the last lap.
“It’s a little bit of payback for earlier in the year,” Red Bull chief Christian Horner said over the radio, referring to the Spanish Grand Prix, when Mercedes overtook them on strategy.
With the win and Sergio Perez’s third-place result, Red Bull now leads the Constructors’ Championship with 37 points heading into round eight in Austria.
And while the Dutchman was pleased with his team’s performance, he conceded that his early blunder had hampered their progress.
“Towards the finish, absolutely [I began to love it],” Verstappen said.
“At first, it was quite difficult out there with the wind.
“We had a good balance one lap, then you were sliding all over the place the following lap.
“You could see when we made the first pit stop because they were pushing me on the hard tyres behind me, but when we decided to do the two-stopper, it paid off in the end.
“We had to put in a lot of effort, but it was well worth it. We were fighting the entire race, and I expect it to continue for the remainder of the season.”
Mercedes, on the other hand, was trying to rebound from two disappointing weekends in Monaco and Baku, where the team only managed to gain seven points.
“Brinkwire Summary News” had Hamilton in second place at the end of the race.