The Dutch driver started from pole position with medium tires, compared to Lewis Hamilton’s hard tires, but the latter had a better start, getting to the first turn first. The Englishman stayed in the lead for 14 laps and then pitted for a tire change, imitating the move made by Verstappen, who was looking for the undercut.
This left the lead to Sergio Perez, who had not yet pitted, to help his teammate. The Mexican stayed there fore 6 laps. In spite of strong resistance, on the 21st lap, Checo was passed by Hamilton who, from that moment, managed to hold onto the lead with a precious gap of a few seconds. However, his dream of being crowned 8-time world champion was shattered when the safety car came out. Verstappen pitted for a tire change, so when the safety car pulled off at the end of the penultimate lap, it was a walk in the park to pass his rival, penalized by tires by then worn down after 43 laps of racing.
But Max is not the first driver to win a Grand Prix race by taking the lead only on the final lap. In fact, in Formula 1 history, his is the 13th case of a driver who was never the leader throughout the race, but became so under the checkered flag.