The Seven-time F1 Champion Lewis Hamilton eventually won comfortably ahead of Verstappen at Portimao, but that didn’t tell the story of his start to the race as he dropped to third behind the Red Bull following a Safety Car restart.
But, critically, Hamilton passed Verstappen into Turn One soon after, before a superb sweeping move around the outside of the pole-sitting Bottas gave him a race lead, as one that he never looked likely to relinquish.
“What a phenomenal race by Lewis,” said Sky F1’s Nico Rosberg. “Verstappen is starting to understand how good Hamilton is.”
However, Hamilton, with two race victories to Verstappen’s one to start the season, now holds an eight-point lead over the Dutchman in the championship.
As Mercedes, ominously, appeared to have a faster car than Red Bull on race day, but Verstappen was offered some much-needed solace by pulling off an overtake of his own on Bottas for an eventual second place as Red Bull pulled the pit-stop trigger before Mercedes.
Meanwhile, He did lose out a fastest lap bonus point after exceeding track limits on his final tour, which was instead taken by Bottas, who completed the podium but had a frustrating day on the whole.
Sergio Perez was able to secure his best race finish for Red Bull in fourth but was never a contender for the top positions, not helped by slipping behind Lando Norris after the Safety Car, caused by Kimi Raikkonen’s stricken Alfa Romeo as he shunted into team-mate Antonio Giovinazzi on the straight