Max Verstappen passes Lewis Hamilton to claim dramatic French Grand Prix victory

Max Verstappen won an exciting French Grand Prix to extend his world championship lead over Lewis Hamilton to 12 points.

The Dutchman overcame a mistake on the first corner, where he lost the lead to the Mercedes man, but was then helped by a strategic masterclass from his Red Bull team. Their quick-thinking combined with his then faultless driving to execute his third victory of the season.

He also had to contend with radio problems.

Max Verstappen extended his lead in the championship to 12 points with a brilliant victory

Max Verstappen extended his lead in the championship to 12 points with a brilliant victory

Max Verstappen extended his lead in the championship to 12 points with a brilliant victory

The Dutchman passed Hamilton on fresher tyres on the penultimate lap to take the victory

The Dutchman passed Hamilton on fresher tyres on the penultimate lap to take the victory

The Dutchman passed Hamilton on fresher tyres on the penultimate lap to take the victory

The podium was rounded out by Sergio Perez who also overtook Valtteri Bottas late on

The podium was rounded out by Sergio Perez who also overtook Valtteri Bottas late on

The podium was rounded out by Sergio Perez who also overtook Valtteri Bottas late on

The win was Max Verstappen's third victory of the season to match Lewis Hamilton's three

The win was Max Verstappen's third victory of the season to match Lewis Hamilton's three

The win was Max Verstappen’s third victory of the season to match Lewis Hamilton’s three

Verstappen, who started on pole, got cleanly off the line and bossed the situation into the first corner but then inexplicably carried too much speed through the bend and ran wide. This allowed Hamilton through.

The Brit opened up his advantage to three seconds until the first round of stops. He was jumped in the pits with the help of a great outlap by Verstappen.

The question was whether either team could get to the end without needing to change tyres again. Verstappen thought not and stopped once more. He now had to hunt down the Mercedes cars, which went to the end. He gave it all he had, passing Valtteri Bottas, then in second, with nine laps remaining.

Max Verstappen made a decent start but then ran wide to give Lewis Hamilton the lead

Max Verstappen made a decent start but then ran wide to give Lewis Hamilton the lead

Max Verstappen made a decent start but then ran wide to give Lewis Hamilton the lead

The Dutchman would jump the Mercedes drivers with the undercut in the first pit-stop

The Dutchman would jump the Mercedes drivers with the undercut in the first pit-stop

The Dutchman would jump the Mercedes drivers with the undercut in the first pit-stop

Verstappen decided to pit as teams struggled with the tyres during the second stint of the race

Verstappen decided to pit as teams struggled with the tyres during the second stint of the race

Verstappen decided to pit as teams struggled with the tyres during the second stint of the race

But Hamilton was five seconds up the road. He was driving brilliantly. But on the penultimate lap Verstappen passed the world champion at the chicane to take the lead – a reward for his brilliance and damning of Mercedes’ strategy.

The margin of victory over second-placed Hamilton was 2.9sec.

Perez passed Bottas to finish third and a place above the Finn.

Bottas was frustrated with his team over the radio for not pitting him twice in the race

Bottas was frustrated with his team over the radio for not pitting him twice in the race

Bottas was frustrated with his team over the radio for not pitting him twice in the race

Verstappen then had to close in and pass both Bottas and Hamilton to win the Grand Prix

Verstappen then had to close in and pass both Bottas and Hamilton to win the Grand Prix

Verstappen then had to close in and pass both Bottas and Hamilton to win the Grand Prix

Lando Norris had a stellar drive to finish in fifth ahead of teammate Daniel Ricciardo

Lando Norris had a stellar drive to finish in fifth ahead of teammate Daniel Ricciardo

Lando Norris had a stellar drive to finish in fifth ahead of teammate Daniel Ricciardo

The Ferrari drivers struggled for pace throughout and finished outside the points positions

The Ferrari drivers struggled for pace throughout and finished outside the points positions

The Ferrari drivers struggled for pace throughout and finished outside the points positions

Sportsmail’s Kieran Lynch provided live lap-by-lap coverage throughout the race. 

 

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