Verstappen started 10th after being hit by engine trouble in qualifying but worked his way through the order and found himself in the fight for the lead when Ferrari switched Charles Leclerc onto hard tyres, which proved to be a critical error. 

The Dutchman had to overtake Leclerc twice after a spin dropped him back behind the Ferrari driver, but Verstappen took full advantage of his faster medium tyres to make short work of sealing his eighth victory of the season.

With Leclerc eventually finishing sixth after making a third pit stop, it means Verstappen has extended his championship lead to a huge 80 points - the equivalent of three clear race wins. 

Verstappen’s advantage appears unassailable with just nine races remaining this season as the Red Bull driver took another step towards winning his second world title. 

Lewis Hamilton finished a strong second place after recovering from seventh on the grid, with Mercedes teammate and polesitter George Russell completing the podium in third. 

Sergio Perez was fifth inbetween the Ferrari pair, while Lando Norris took seventh for McLaren, ahead of the squabbling Alpine pair of Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon

Sebastian Vettel, who will retire from F1 at the end of the season, pipped Aston Martin teammate Lance Stroll to the final point on offer in 10th.

How did Verstappen win that? 

Key to Verstappen’s victory charge was the ease and speed at which he carved his way through the field, aided by a great strategy from his Red Bull team. 

Verstappen was up to sixth just seven laps in and undercut Hamilton in the first pit stops, before doing the same to Russell during the second round of stops. 

Ferrari attempted to cover off Verstappen’s second pit stop on Lap 38 by pitting Leclerc on the following lap, but the decision to switch Leclerc onto hard tyres proved costly.

Leclerc struggled for grip and pace in the cool conditions and with the constant threat of rain in the air, leaving him vulnerable to the charging Verstappen, who dived down the inside of his main rival at Turn 1 on Lap 41. 

“Fuck, the tyres are shit,” responded Leclerc. 

Verstappen emerged in the lead when Carlos Sainz and Hamilton made their second pit stops but almost threw away the win with a rare error as he completed a full 360 spin coming out of the penultimate corner. 

That dropped him behind Leclerc into second, but only briefly, with Verstappen breezing back past Leclerc and into the lead with a better run out of Turn 1 at the start of Lap 45. 

From there, Verstappen pulled clear out front as Hamilton ran an alternative strategy and used his soft tyres to charge past Sainz and Russell on his way to securing his fifth consecutive podium and equal his best result of the season. 

Russell had to settle with third place after missing out on his maiden victory, having taken a stunning first pole and driven flawlessly to lead the opening 30 laps of the race.

Another Ferrari shocker 

Before the second round of pit stops, Ferrari looked on course for victory with Leclerc pulling off a great overtake on Russell before opening up a comfortable buffer. 

But Ferrari remarkably managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory by snookering themselves in terms of strategy and putting Leclerc on a tyre compound no driver had successfully managed to make work. 

With Leclerc falling backwards and struggling for pace, the team called him in to make a third stop which put him sixth, but the Monegasque was unable to recover any ground as he haemorrhaged yet more vital points to Verstappen, having crashed out of the lead in France last weekend. 

Ferrari’s misery was compounded when Hamilton demoted Sainz from the podium positions in the closing stages.

The Italian outfit go into the three-week summer break facing further scrutiny over their decision-making in the heat of a world championship battle which already looks to have fizzled out.