F1: Verstappen pulls off last-minute miracle in French GP nail-biter
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Max Verstappen has driven a superb race to win the French Grand Prix and extend his lead in the championship standings.
The Dutchman left it very late to make his move, overtaking Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton in the second last lap of the race at Circuit Paul Ricard.
It was a Red Bull sandwich on the podium, with Sergio Perez driving another sensible race to claim third.
Verstappen now leads Hamilton in the championship by 12 points.
“An absolutely superb drive,” Sky Sports commentator Paul Di Resta said of Verstappen’s performance.
Red Bull has won the past three Grands Prix in Monaco, Azerbaijan and now France, the first time they have achieved the feat in the turbo-hybrid era.
“They were pushing me on the hard tyres behind but then when we made the call to do the two stopper, luckily in the end it paid off,” Verstappen said after the race.
“We had to work hard for it, but very rewarding.”
Mercedes’ decision to pit their drivers only once during the race proved very costly as Hamilton and teammate Valtteri Bottas were left struggling with weaker tyres in the final laps of the race.
Bottas, in particular, voiced his frustration with the team strategy from Mercedes.
“Why does nobody listen to me when I said this was going to be a two-stopper?” he was heard complaining on team radio.
“That one is on us,” Mercedes’ James Vowles apologised to Hamilton over team radio.
Australia’s Daniel Ricciardo had his best race of the season, executing some excellent passes early on in the race and holding on to finish in sixth, one spot behind his McLaren teammate Lando Norris.
Ricciardo goes up into ninth in the drivers’ standings.
The strong result for the pair means McLaren jumps ahead of Ferrari into third place in the constructor’s championship.