Verstappen dominates Austrian GP

SPIELBERG, AUSTRIA – JULY 03: Pole position qualifier Max Verstappen of Netherlands and Red Bull Racing talks to the media in parc ferme during qualifying ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Austria at Red Bull Ring on July 03, 2021 in Spielberg, Austria. (Photo by Christian Bruna – Pool/Getty Images) // Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool.

Max Verstappen leads the Austrian GP from start to finish to get his third victory in a row in 2021.

Formula 1 had had the third race in three weeks as the Austrian GP race was the final race of this season’s first tripleheader. It surely had not disappointed.

The five starting lights were out and the racing action started. Max Verstappen stayed ahead of Lando Norris and Sergio Perez. Lewis Hamilton had a great start and started putting pressure on the Mexican. Safety Car was deployed at the end of lap 1 after Esteban Ocon had a contact with Antonio Giovinazzi, ending the race early for the Frenchman.

Shortly after, the race was back underway. There was a 4-way battle for the second place with Norris staying ahead. However, Perez was pushed off the track and lost a lot of positions. Verstappen built a 3-second gap from Norris, who was followed by Mercedes drivers Hamilton and Bottas. Giovinazzi was given a penalty for overtaking under Safety Car.

Yuki Tsunoda was the first driver to go to the pits to get Hard tires. Charles Leclerc made an impressive overtake on Perez after turn 4. Norris got a 5-second penalty for forcing Perez off the track at the restart. He was also passed by Hamilton at the exact same moment. Tsunoda also got a 5-second penalty for crossing the white line at the pit lane entry.

Bottas overtook Norris at the pit lane as the McLaren driver had to serve the penalty. Verstappen and Hamilton visited the pits as well – obviously, the Dutchman was still leading after the stop.

The battle between Perez and Leclerc for 8th place ended up in Monegasque going to the gravel – similar to what the Mexican had had in the opening laps of the race. Perez got the same penalty as Norris earlier in the afternoon. Leclerc got close to Perez again and was about to make the move again, but it ended the same way – the Ferrari driver got in the gravel again and the Red Bull driver got another 5-second penalty.

Hamilton struggled to have a good pace after damaging his car. Bottas and Norris were catching him lap by lap. Eventually, the Finn overtook his teammate. Norris did the same to return to the top 3. Lance Stroll got a 5-second penalty for speeding in the pit lane. So did Tsunoda for crossing the white line at the pit entry again.

Verstappen went to the pits to get new tires with 11 laps to go. George Russell did everything he could to stay in the top 10 but was passed by Fernando Alonso just laps before the checkered flag. Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen had an incident on the final lap of the race.

All in all, Verstappen comfortably cruised to the Austrian GP victory. Bottas finished second, while Norris got to the podium after his penalty.

The top 10 of the Formula 1 Austrian GP:

1Max VerstappenRed Bull Racing1:23:54.543
2Valtteri BottasMercedes+17.973
3Lando NorrisMcLaren+20.019
4Lewis HamiltonMercedes+46.452
5Carlos SainzFerrari+57.144
6Sergio PerezRed Bull Racing+57.915
7Daniel RicciardoMcLaren+1:00.395
8Charles LeclercFerrari+1:01.195
9Pierre GaslyAlphaTauri+1:01.844
10Fernando AlonsoAlpine+1 lap
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