Verstappen wins Styrian GP

Max Verstappen (Red Bull Racing) at the Styrian GP 2021. Credit: Red Bull Content Pool

Max Verstappen took an outstanding victory at the Styrian GP, further extending his lead in the world championship.

At the start, Verstappen and Hamilton both got away well, Verstappen covered and stayed in front. Perez attacked Norris, but McLaren stayed in front for the time being. On the outside he tried again in turn 3, again nothing, Norris stayed on the outside in turn 4 and came back to P3.

On lap 2 Gasly got away badly, and on the straight Leclerc tried to pull out behind him and pass. In the process, he misjudged, slashed Gasly’s left rear tire with the right part of his front wing. The latter then arrived in turn 3 with a punctured tire, spun, and touched Giovinazzi’s Alfa, which spun. Latifi was dragged into trouble with him. Gasly was out of the race.

On lap 11, Perez went extra late on the brakes in turn 3. Norris again didn’t want to give up, tried to counter on the outside in turn 4, but brought nothing. Shortly afterward Bottas also went past, but this time Norris didn’t fight back.

The first problems for the leading duo came on lap 22, with the leading duo complaining on the radio that it wasn’t quite as easy to drive anymore. Verstappen, however, had opened the gap to over 4 seconds. Perez 13 seconds behind, he was clearly ahead of Bottas there.

The first moment of shock for Hamilton came on lap 26. Hamilton had a monster lateral spin on acceleration and was almost gone. Just barely he caught the car. He also already reported small “vibrations”.

On laps 27 and 28, the first drivers came in and the Red Bull pit crew made Perez lose quite a bit of time as he was down almost 5 seconds. Bottas was immediately brought in and overtook the Mexican afterwards.

There was no good news for Russell on lap 36. Williams confirmed that Russell was struggling with an unspecified power unit problem. He was virtually out of the fight for the points, one lap down in penultimate place. On lap 39, it was the end of the line for him. He had to retire.

On lap 51, it came down to a duel between Leclerc and Vettel. Vettel, meanwhile, was struggling on his hard tires, and Leclerc on the much fresher mediums laid into the Aston Martin in turn 3, accelerated it out down to turn 4, and passed for P10. Leclerc was really strong on the newer mediums.

Perez stopped again on lap 55 to force Bottas into an undercut. The Mexican changed to mediums. The Red Bull’s plan didn’t work out. Bottas was in lapped traffic, with Raikkonen and Vettel fighting for P11 ahead of him, but Perez was still 5.2 seconds behind on lap 69.

Nothing more changed in that respect. Up front, a sure win for Max Verstappen at the Styria GP! Perfect performance. Hamilton crossed the line with 1:07.058, took the extra point for the fastest lap. Bottas had survived the DRS zones against Perez, just bringing P3 across the line. Norris took P5.

The times from the top-10:

1Max VerstappenRed Bull RacingLEADER
2Lewis HamiltonMercedes+35.743
3Valtteri BottasMercedes+46.907
4Sergio PerezRed Bull Racing+47.343
5Lando NorrisMcLaren+ 1 LAP
6Carlos SainzFerrari+ 1 LAP
7Charles LeclercFerrari+ 1 LAP
8Lance StrollAston Martin+ 1 LAP
9Fernando AlonsoAlpine+ 1 LAP
10Yuki TsunodaAlphaTauri+ 1 LAP
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