Suddenly, he's only three points behind Red Bull team mate Daniel Ricciardo in the drivers' standings.
Before today, Aston Martin Red Bull Racing's Max Verstappen had not won a Formula 1 race since he won last season's Mexican Grand Prix. He backed off through those right handers and made his time in the other parts of the circuit. "A very, very mature drive for him".
Verstappen had a four-second lead to Ricciardo when he took over the lead and grew his advantage until his team-mate, with blister on his left rear tyre, fell behind Raikkonen.
"Very hard to manage the tyres, lot of blistering, but we manged to hang on", he said.
Verstappen asked "what is going on?" and when advised by the team to "just overtake him" replied: "No".
Ricciardo, already a double race victor this season, slowed in a bid to get Verstappen to go past but the youngster maintained position instead, with the team urging both men to hurry up.
"So we just discussed that this was his weekend to go in front".
"We had three runs and I was just punching a hole for everyone and I think if you get one run fair enough, each..."
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When Hamilton did pit, he came back out in fourth place. "Luckily I could manage it until the end of the race".
Ricciardo said: "It's not over yet but it will come".
That Charles Leclerc is in pole position to replace Kimi Raikkonen at Ferrari next season does not appear to be in much doubt.
It was clear running for Mr. Hamilton, as he took Top Spot from Verstappen early in the session and never gave it up.
Vasseur said: "We have a contract until the end of the season and we didn't speak so far about the future". Hopefully there'll be small incremental gains over coming races because if we can do a better job on Saturdays, we have the pace in the race on Sundays. That changed in the 2018 Austrian Grand Prix.
"But if they say "you have to drive in front for all qualifying", you have to do it".
"The longer straights and hairpins offer some opportunities for overtaking".