until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

Formula 1

Verstappen stretches points lead with dominant Styrian GP win

by Matt Beer
7 min read

Max Verstappen extended his Formula 1 world championship lead to 18 points with a commanding Styrian Grand Prix victory ahead of title rival Lewis Hamilton.

Verstappen’s Red Bull simply edged away from Hamilton’s Mercedes throughout, establishing an early 3s lead that became 6s heading into the first pitstops and went into double figures in the closing stages, before Hamilton made a penultimate lap stop so he could grab fastest lap.

The result is Red Bull’s fourth win in a row and Verstappen’s own fourth victory of the 2021 season.

The top two’s team-mates Sergio Perez and Valtteri Bottas were caught up behind Lando Norris’s McLaren for the first dozen laps, falling 13s off the lead in the process before they both passed Norris with uncontested moves into Turn 3.

Bottas then jumped Perez for third with a faster pitstop, but Red Bull brought Perez in for a second pitstop for fresh mediums with 16 laps left.

That allowed him to temporarily snatch the fastest lap bonus point away from Hamilton, and gave Perez a shot at catching Bottas again on fresher tyres. Though he was within half a second of the Mercedes at the flag, he had out of time to try a pass.

Norris had a lonely run to fifth once overtaken by Perez and Bottas. That was again much better than the second McLaren of Daniel Ricciardo fared. He got up from 13th to ninth on lap one, lost all those positions to a brief drop in power, then tumbled to 15th as running a very long first stint failed to pay off. Passes on Esteban Ocon and Antonio Giovinazzi salvaged 13th.

That meant McLaren was still outscored by Ferrari, its rival for third in the championship. Carlos Sainz ran the same strategy as Ricciardo to much better effect, jumping from 10th to seventh through the pitstop window before overtaking Lance Stroll’s Aston Martin for sixth and homing in towards Norris late on.

Sainz’s team-mate Charles Leclerc picked up first-corner wing damage from clipping Pierre Gasly’s AlphaTauri, before a charging drive back to seventh that included another incident with Kimi Raikkonen.

Gasly sustained a puncture in the Leclerc incident, then had further contact with both Giovinazzi (who was spun) and Nicholas Latifi (who got a puncture) at the top of the hill, leaving the AlphaTauri with terminal damage.

Stroll held sixth for much of the race before the Ferraris overtook him. He resisted Fernando Alonso and Yuki Tsunoda for eighth, while Sebastian Vettel was on course for 10th before being passed by Leclerc and later fell behind Raikkonen too.

Race Results

Pos Name Car Laps Laps Led Total Time Fastest Lap Pitstops Pts
1 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Honda 71 71 1h22m18.925s 1m08.017s 1 25
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 71 0 +35.743s 1m07.058s 2 19
3 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 71 0 +46.907s 1m08.619s 1 15
4 Sergio Pérez Red Bull-Honda 71 0 +47.434s 1m07.894s 2 12
5 Lando Norris McLaren-Mercedes 70 0 +1 lap 1m08.903s 1 10
6 Carlos Sainz Ferrari 70 0 +1 lap 1m08.609s 1 8
7 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 70 0 +1 lap 1m08.738s 2 6
8 Lance Stroll Aston Martin-Mercedes 70 0 +1 lap 1m09.787s 1 4
9 Fernando Alonso Alpine-Renault 70 0 +1 lap 1m09.749s 1 2
10 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri-Honda 70 0 +1 lap 1m09.65s 1 1
11 Kimi Räikkönen Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 70 0 +1 lap 1m09.128s 1 0
12 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin-Mercedes 70 0 +1 lap 1m09.821s 1 0
13 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren-Mercedes 70 0 +1 lap 1m09.305s 1 0
14 Esteban Ocon Alpine-Renault 70 0 +1 lap 1m09.576s 1 0
15 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 70 0 +1 lap 1m09.723s 1 0
16 Mick Schumacher Haas-Ferrari 69 0 +2 laps 1m10.005s 1 0
17 Nicholas Latifi Williams-Mercedes 68 0 +3 laps 1m10.104s 2 0
18 Nikita Mazepin Haas-Ferrari 68 0 +3 laps 1m10.951s 1 0
George Russell Williams-Mercedes 36 0 DNF 1m10.499s 3 0
Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri-Honda 1 0 DNF 0s 1 0
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