Mercedes driver Hamilton had controlled much of the British Grand Prix after qualifying in pole position as he claimed a sixth win at the circuit in seven years.
However, a final-lap puncture put his chances of victory under serious threat, the Brit’s front-left tyre giving out shortly after team-mate Valtteri Bottas had dropped out of the points due to the same problem.
Verstappen was suddenly presented with a chance of hauling in Hamilton but Red Bull called him in for a late tyre change to give him a shot at the fastest lap, and the Dutch driver was just unable to catch Hamilton as he limped over the line.
“It’s lucky and unlucky,” Verstappen told Sky Sports after the race.
“The tyres didn’t look great with 10 laps to go and I was already on the radio. Then Valtteri got a puncture so I came on the radio and said, ‘I’m going to back it out’. Then, of course, they boxed me to go for the fastest lap.
“Then, unfortunately, Lewis got a puncture himself. But I’m very happy with second, it’s a very good result for us.”
The tyre drama allowed Charles Leclerc to snatch third place, the Ferrari driver delighted to have capitalised on a slice of good fortune.
“It was a very, very tricky race,” he said. “As soon as I heard that Valtteri had a tyre problem, I slowed down quite a lot, but then I think Carlos [Sainz] had it a lap later and then Lewis a lap later.
“On that, we’ve been lucky, but apart from that, I think we’ve done the best we could have done today. I’m very happy with the way I managed the tyres from the beginning to the end, very happy with the balance of the car, so the potential, the performance of the car is not where we want it to be but today we took every opportunity and I’m very happy.”
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