Verstappen wins great race ahead of Hamilton, Perez

LE CASTELLET, FRANCE – JUNE 20: Max Verstappen of the Netherlands driving the (33) Red Bull Racing RB16B Honda on track during the F1 Grand Prix of France at Circuit Paul Ricard on June 20, 2021 in Le Castellet, France. (Photo by Rudy Carezzevoli/Getty Images) // Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool // SI202106200382 // Usage for editorial use only //

Max Verstappen managed to re-gain the lead of the race on the penultimate lap over Lewis Hamilton. Sergio Perez drove a great race too, overtaking Valtteri Bottas in the last stages of the race.

At the start, Max Verstappen kept the lead but went wide in Turn 1, and Hamilton took the lead of the race. At the back, everything was calm, and Charles Leclerc was battling hard against Fernando Alonso.

Hamilton was trying to extend the lead, but Verstappen was holding the fastest lap. Behind them, Valtteri Bottas and Sergio Perez kept the third and fourth position.

Leclerc was trying to gain P6 over Pierre Gasly, who said he was struggling with the balance. Despite that, the French driver was close to Carlos Sainz.

The top three was separated by a little bit more than two seconds, and Bottas was close to Verstappen. The Finnish driver was the fastest on track so far.

Daniel Ricciardo was ahead of Lando Norris, and the Aussie driver was very close to Alonso. However, he could not get past him on the main straight.

Meanwhile, Hamilton was complaining a lot about the tires, saying that he did not think they would last as long as the team expected.

The two McLarens got past Alonso on lap 12, taking P8 and P9. The Spaniard seemed to struggle a bit since Sebastian Vettel as well was getting closer.

Sainz, Leclerc, and Gasly were struggling a bit with the pace since the degradation of the tires was higher than expected. Behind them, Ricciardo and Norris were getting closer. In the meantime, Vettel overtook Alonso to get up into P10.

Ricciardo easily overtook Leclerc at the chicane, gaining the seventh position. Ferrari was struggling with the pace. Norris was close to Charles, but the latter entered the pits to fit the hard tires.

The Aussie driver was enjoying the race, and he was chasing Gasly already. The latter stopped to make the undercut on Gasly, but Leclerc re-gained his position.

Bottas as well was called into the pits to fit the hard tires, leaving P3 to Perez. Sainz and Gasly pitted too, and it was the Spaniard to stay in front. However, they both lost positions to Leclerc and Ricciardo.

Verstappen dived into the pits too, trying to undercut Lewis. Bottas remained behind the Dutch driver. Alonso decided to change tires too. At the exit, they were side by side, and Max re-gained the lead of the Grand Prix.

Despite losing the position, Lewis was keeping Max under pressure. Bottas was very close too, the gap between the top three was extremely close.

On lap 24, it was time for Perez to change tires. Just after him, Norris pitted too. Of course, Perez re-joined in P4, while Norris entered in P14.

Leclerc got past Esteban Ocon on lap 27, gaining P7. Meanwhile, Hamilton was very close to Max, it seemed that the Briton had more pace.

The Monegasque was then overtaken by Ricciardo, who was in P7. Meanwhile, Norris was fighting with Gasly for the last spot in the top ten. Since Charles was struggling, Sainz got past him too. Norris tried again and gained P10, Leclerc was just ahead of him, and he was not having an easy race. Thus, Gasly overtook Charles too.

Lando was already close to Sainz, who was struggling like his teammate. On lap 31, the Briton overtook Sainz on the main straight. Leclerc was also overtaken by Alonso.

Verstappen opted to go for a two-stop strategy. The Dutch fitted medium tires. Lewis stayed out. Norris overtook his teammate too, gaining P7.

From what Hamilton said in the team radios, it seemed that Lewis wanted to go until the end. Max was 17 seconds behind him and had to overtake Perez and Bottas.

Perez let Verstappen by, the Dutch driver was on the chase to get Bottas and Lewis. The Red Bull driver was gaining two seconds per lap to Lewis, it seemed that Max could take Hamilton. However, Mercedes hoped that Bottas could keep Max behind.

On lap 42, Verstappen was two seconds behind Bottas, and Perez was arriving too. On lap 44, Bottas went wide at the chicane, Verstappen got past him after the mistake. He was now on the chase for the lead of the race.

Perez was hunting Bottas, who was struggling with the tires. Meanwhile, Verstappen was not gaining that much on Lewis. On lap 49, Perez managed to gain P3.

With four laps to go, Verstappen was very close to Lewis, less than two seconds were separating them. On lap 52, Max took the lead of the Grand Prix, but Lewis remained there to keep him under pressure.

1VerstappenRed BullLEADER
3PerezRed Bull+8.811
7Gasly AlphaTauri+76.596
9VettelAston Martin+79.666
10StrollAston Martin+91.946
12RussellWilliams1 LAP
13TsunodaAlphaTauri1 LAP
14OconAlpine1 LAP
15GiovinazziAlfa Romeo1 LAP
16LeclercFerrari1 LAP
17RaikkonenAlfa Romeo1 LAP
18LatifiWilliams1 LAP
19SchumacherHaas1 LAP
20MazepinHaas1 LAP
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