2021 Styrian GP: Verstappen beats Hamilton to extend championship lead

2021 Styrian GP: Verstappen beats Hamilton to extend championship lead

28th Jun 2021 7:45 pm

Max Verstappen picked up his third win in four races ahead of Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas.

Max Verstappen handed Red Bull their fourth win in a row with a dominant home showing in Sunday’s Styrian Grand Prix.

  • Verstappen crosses the line 35 seconds clear of title rival Hamilton
  • Verstappen’s win leaves Mercedes facing their fifth successive defeat in a row

The Dutchman, who was unchallenged in his lights-to-flag romp to the chequered flag, crossed the line over 35 seconds clear of title rival Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes, after the Briton made a late second pit stop for fresh tyres to secure the fastest lap. His Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas, who had qualified second but started fifth due to a three-place grid penalty, fended off the other Red Bull driver, Sergio Perez, for third.

Verstappen pulls 18 points clear of Hamilton

Sunday’s win was the 14th of Verstappen’s career and third from the last four races. The 23-year-old now has four wins to Hamilton’s three putting him 18 points clear of the seven-time champion in the overall standings.

He has every chance of pulling further ahead next weekend, with the same 4.3-kilometer long, Red Bull-owned track playing host to the Austrian Grand Prix.

Red Bull are now 40 points clear of Mercedes in the constructors’ standings, with the German marque, going for a record eighth title double this year, last having faced such a long victory drought in 2013, before the turbo-hybrid era.

“The car was on fire today,” Verstappen said over the team radio on the cool down lap.

“We just kept on going, tried to hit our lap times and it worked really well today,” he added later.

Verstappen vs Hamilton

Hamilton, who started alongside Verstappen on the front row after moving up due to Bottas’ penalty, had gone into the race resigned to the fact that Red Bull were faster.

But if he hoped for an opportunity to vault Verstappen at the start, it never materialised as the Dutchman comfortably led into the first corner, with the Briton left fending off the fast-starting McLaren driven by  Lando Norris instead. From then on, Hamilton had no answer.

“It was a bit of a lonely race,” said the reigning champion, who at least limited the damage by taking the point for fastest lap on the final tour.

“I was trying to keep up with these guys but the speed they have - they’ve obviously made some improvements over the last couple of races.” “Impossible to keep up,” he added.

Bottas fends off Perez for final podium spot

Bottas was simply relieved to be back on the podium, his first since the Spanish Grand Prix in May, after crossing the line just half-a-second  ahead of  Perez who made to pit-stops.

“It’s been a while that I’ve been on the podium,” said the Finn. “It was getting pretty close at the end and there was not much margin.”

Behind the top-four, McLaren’s Norris, who had run as high as third in the early stages, took fifth.

Spaniard Carlos Sainz led a strong recovery for Ferrari in sixth ahead of teammate Charles Leclerc. The Monegasque, voted ‘Driver of the Day’ by fans, had a scrappy start and needed to pit on the opening lap for a new front wing after contact with AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly. 

Lance Stroll was eighth for Aston Martin ahead of double world champion Fernando Alonso in the Alpine. AlphaTauri rookie Yuki Tsunoda rounded out the top-10.

2021 Styrian Grand Prix results:

Pos

Driver

Team

Laps

Time

1

Max Verstappen

Red Bull Racing

71

1:22:18.925

2

Lewis Hamilton

Mercedes

71

+35.743

3

Valtteri Bottas

Mercedes

71

+46.907

4

Sergio Perez

Red Bull Racing

71

+47.434

5

Lando Norris

McLaren

70

+1 lap

6

Carlos Sainz

Ferrari

70

+1 lap

7

Charles Leclerc

Ferrari

70

+1 lap

8

Lance Stroll

Aston Martin

70

+1 lap

9

Fernando Alonso

Alpine

70

+1 lap

10

Yuki Tsunoda

AlphaTauri

70

+1 lap

11

Kimi Raikkonen

Alfa Romeo

70

+1 lap

12

Sebastian Vettel

Aston Martin

70

+1 lap

13

Daniel Ricciardo

McLaren

70

+1 lap

14

Esteban Ocon

Alpine

70

+1 lap

15

Antonio Giovinazzi

Alfa Romeo

70

+1 lap

16

Mick Schumacher

Haas

69

+2 laps

17

Nicholas Latifi

Williams

68

+3 laps

18

Nikita Mazepin

Haas

68

+3 laps

NC

George Russell

Williams

36

DNF

NC

Pierre Gasly

AlphaTauri

1

DNF

Abhishek Takle

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