Verstappen had to overtake Hamilton at the Safety Car restart but then cruised to a comfortable 10th victory of the season to extend his championship advantage to a massive 109 points with seven races remaining.

Hamilton, meanwhile, was left furious at Mercedes for not bringing him in for soft tyres as he saw his chances of victory fade and slipped off the podium, having been passed by teammate George Russell and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, both of whom did switch tyres.

Lewis Hamilton VS Fernando Alonso - THE RIVALRY! | F1 2022

“I can’t believe you guys f****d me, man,” a livid Hamilton fumed over his team radio. 

The seven-time world champion was left to settle with fourth place, ahead of Red Bull’s Sergio Perez and Fernando Alonso, who rose from 13th on the grid to take sixth for Alpine. 

McLaren’s Lando Norris was seventh ahead of Carlos Sainz, who dropped from fifth on the road to eighth after receiving a five-second time penalty for an unsafe release during his pit stop. 

Esteban Ocon and Lance Stroll completed the rest of the points-paying positions in ninth and 10th for Alpine and Aston Martin respectively. 

Did a win slip away from angry Hamilton? 

It looked as though Hamilton had a slim chance of victory following a Virtual Safety Car that was called after Yuki Tsunoda’s AlphaTauri ground to a halt on Lap 48. 

Tsunoda had come into the pits after briefly stopping a lap before, reporting an issue with his tyres. After a bizarre lengthy pit stop, in which his team appeared to be tightening his belts, Tsunoda slowly re-emerged on the track, only to pull over again. 

The VSC enabled Verstappen to make a cheap pit stop for hards and retain his lead over the chasing Hamilton, who also came in as Mercedes double-stacked their cars to switch onto mediums.

When the race resumed, Hamilton was just 12.5s behind Verstappen and on fresher compounds. While it would have taken something remarkable for Hamilton to catch and overhaul Verstappen, he appeared destined for a minimum P2 finish. 

A full Safety Car was then required after Valtteri Bottas’ Alfa Romeo broke down on the main straight, which set up the prospect of a thrilling finale. 

Red Bull pitted Verstappen for softs while Mercedes initially kept both their cars out to favour track position, before Russell made a late call to come in for softs, with Hamilton staying out on mediums. 

That left Hamilton powerless to stop his rivals in circumstances that were similar to the manner in which he lost the 2021 world title in Abu Dhabi last year. 

Verstappen nailed the restart to immediately pass Hamilton into Turn 1, leaving the Briton apoplectic with his team’s strategy.