Red Bull team boss Christian Horner has explained that learning from their mistakes at the Spanish Grand Prix resulted in the decision to go for an aggressive two stop strategy and ensure Mercedes couldn't undercut them again.
Verstappen lost the Spanish GP after Mercedes dived into the pits for a second stop and forcing the Dutch driver to stay on track. Having taken the high ground in France, Red Bull ensured it couldn't happen again by pulling Verstappen in early for a second stop and prevent Mercedes from trying the same tactic.
"Payback basically, so you know today was pay back for Barcelona," Horner told Sky Sports F1 after Verstappen took the win.
"I think it's been a great race today, you can see how close it is. It's a big win for us here today but you've only got to look how tight it is between the two teams and it's gonna be nip and tuck all the way through this championship but, you know, we'll be leaving here very very happy."
Asked whether the decision to two stop was made out of a desire to ensure the Barcelona situation didn't happen again, Horner said they wanted to cover off a possible attack from Mercedes had they settled for track position.
"We absolutely didn't, but we could see that Lewis was pretty much through to the band of the tyre so there could have been nothing, nothing left on that tyre," Horner said.
"So Max had, five, six laps, to do it after he got Valtteri so he got his head down, and in the end I have to say Lewis was very fair with the pass. He didn't defend hard or aggressively. It was a very clean move."
Having started from pole position, Red Bull had to chase the race int he first stint after an error from Verstappen at Turn 2 allowed Hamilton through into the lead, with Horner admitting it could have gone far worse.
"It was an interesting race because I think with the winds, it caught Max out at the first turn so he was lucky to survive the first turn," he said.
"Then Lewis in clean air, as you can see Sector 1, Sector 3 was very strong. We thought before the race the undercut wasn't going to be as powerful as we saw today so we went for it with Max and and the pace on his outlap was phenomenal. Then, of course, you're in a horrible position, a bit like in Barcelona, I thought 'they can't do it to us again'.
"So that's why we went for the stop and then it was down to Max having to make up the ground on track."