In his own words, Lewis Hamilton claimed "the hardest race I think I’ve had," with a one-stop strategy from soft to medium under an early safety car on lap 11. The Mercedes driver then had to control his pace on the yellow compound, faced with close pursuers on the more durable hard compound behind him, all the way to the finish of the 78-lap grand prix.
- The safety car was triggered on lap 11 by debris left by the Ferrari of Charles Leclerc, which made contact with another competitor after trying to fight up from the back. Most of the frontrunners used this safety car to make a pit stop.
- Hamilton, from the lead, pitted for the medium tyre. Following this round of pit stops, Red Bull’s Max Verstappen – who gained second place after pitting for the hard tyre – was handed a five-second penalty, to be applied retrospectively: giving a new impetus and focus for his race.
- Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas, who finished third at the flag, was forced into a second stop under the safety car, after wheel damage following the Verstappen incident.
- Hamilton managed his pace throughout the remainder of the race to maximise the life of his medium tyres, closely followed by Verstappen on the road.
- Red Bull’s Pierre Gasly made a late stop for the soft tyres and kept fifth place: gaining the extra point for fastest lap of the race in the process.
HOW EACH TYRE PERFORMED
- HARD C3: Used by all the podium finishers with the exception of Hamilton, displaying a very good balance of performance and durability, which made it the best choice for a long second stint.
- MEDIUM C4: Hamilton completed the bulk of the race on this compound, managing some degree of graining at the front, but relying on the strong traction from the rears to keep his rival behind.
- SOFT C5: Used by most of the drivers at the start, and in particular by Haas driver Romain Grosjean, who completed 50 laps on this compound.
MARIO ISOLA - HEAD OF F1 AND CAR RACING
"We saw a thrilling grand prix in uncertain weather conditions with a great duel between Hamilton and Verstappen throughout most of it: so close that there was even some contact between them just a few laps from the finish. Hamilton very effectively managed a softer tyre compound than his rivals, completing 66 laps on the medium after making his only stop under the safety car, which proved to be a pivotal moment in the race. The decision from Ferrari to fit the hard tyre to Vettel ensured their podium, while Hamilton’s ability to look after his tyres led to a victory that Niki Lauda would have been proud of."