Helmut Marko has hailed the "greatness" of Lewis Hamilton - but insisted Max Verstappen would have won if the British Grand Prix was two laps longer.

The Dutchman started fourth behind his three British rivals and unusually struggled for pace in the early stages of the race. But the longer the Grand Prix went on the better the Red Bull got and by the end he was making a charge for the lead on the hard tyres.

Verstappen got past Lando Norris and soon set about chasing down Hamilton. But he ran out of time and the seven-time F1 champion returned to the top step of a podium for the first time since December 2021.

"We can only congratulate him," Red Bull adviser Marko told Sky Germany. "Especially that he has held out so well during this dry spell. Here we saw his strength and greatness with his tyre management again.

"We had some slight graining and were hopeful, but he managed to get through it brilliantly. It shows what routine and speed he still has." He also said Verstappen would have caught up with the Briton with another two laps, "according to our calculations".

Marko went on to explain why Verstappen had struggle for pace so much earlier on, adding: "We lost the race in the first stint, where we had incredibly strong graining. Max lost almost the most on a wet track and that is normally his strength.

"It was simply the tires that didn't work for us. Our pit stop and strategy were great, the call came at the right time. Everything worked out, including the hard tire at the back. We ran out of laps."

Verstappen and Hamilton have not always seen eye to eye, dating back to their fierce fight for the 2021 title. Mercedes have not had a car since that is capable of competing with the Red Bulls but that looks to have changed now that the Silver Arrows have made significant performance gains.

It remains to be seen how their relationship will change if Hamilton is able to challenge regularly again. But on Sunday Verstappen was one of the first to congratulate the Briton, pulling alongside his Mercedes to give him the thumbs up from his own cockpit.

And after the race he told Dutch TV: "He of course drove a good race. Also made the right calls and they just were a bit faster than us. And for him to win in front of his home audience, it's always something special."

2024-07-10T13:41:05Z dg43tfdfdgfd