The double world champion was already leading the race with 25 laps to go when the heavens opened and forced everyone onto intermediate tyres to prevent themselves from crashing. On the slippery surface, Verstappen cruised away from Fernando Alonso to claim victory.
Wolff, the Mercedes team principal, was more in awe of Verstappen’s ability to keep going despite a couple of hairy moments in the wet while also praising Red Bull’s pace in all conditions.
“Formula 1 is a meritocracy,” Wolff told select members of the media after the race, including Total-Motorsport.com. “They have done a very good job.
“The car is fast in all conditions, the driver is at the top of his game. Even today, going off a couple of times but not DNFing is a skill.
“All credit to them and we now need to catch up, we need to do a better job and hope that our development slope is steeper than theirs so we can eventually fight them again.”
The right call
It took a few laps of rain before the first cars came in for intermediates as it only affected a couple of corners but Mercedes were among the first at the front to pull the trigger.
Lewis Hamilton and George Russell both benefitted from the decision which saw them finish fourth and fifth respectively after starting sixth and eighth.
“When you look back in retrospect it’s always what you could have done better,” Wolff added. “The strategies are always under fire.
“There was a lot of debate we had on the channels. George was adamant it was intermediates and Lewis was pretty sure about it too.
“But where we were sitting at the swimming pool it was dry but I think we made the right call eventually and obviously the Ferraris came in a lap later.”