The Dutchman initially got ahead of Hamilton as he muscled his way past into Turn 1 after making a great start, but Hamilton capitalised on a bold strategy gamble from Mercedes to hunt down and pass Verstappen for the win with six laps to go.

Verstappen admitted after the race that he always felt he was going to lose the lead because Hamilton was clearly faster.

“In a way I could see it coming,” Verstappen said. “Already at the end with the Softs he was faster, then we put on the Mediums, he clearly had a lot more pace, he could stay within one second. There was not much we could have done.

“They went for another stop and then I knew it was over as I was already struggling with the tyres and every lap he was getting closer and closer. [I was] a bit of a sitting duck.”

And Verstappen felt that Hamilton’s pace advantage was so strong that he wouldn’t have been able to catch the Briton even if Red Bull had copied Mercedes’ strategy and stopped for a second time.

"When you’re in the lead, with the cars behind with traffic and stuff, you don’t want to pit in traffic but of course it makes it a lot easier when you just have a clear advantage, more pace in the car,” he explained.

“So for us, even if we would have jumped for another stop, I’m not sure we would have caught up again. We were clearly lacking pace but nevertheless, I tried everything I could.

“It shows we are not there where we want to be,” he added. “You still have to push hard and catch up because at the moment we are a little bit slower.

“But still, nevertheless, compared to last year it’s been a big jump forwards.”