Max Verstappen takes the victory in Styria where he has been leading throughout the weekend. Mercedes minimizes the damage by completing the podium and with Lewis Hamilton's fastest lap. Sergio Pérez was fourth.
Many people this week were fantasizing about the possibility of rain at the Red Bull Ring. Although the dark clouds gave hope of a downpour, and all that entails, in the end not a single drop fell. While the French Grand Prix was, against all odds, exciting, the sensations left by this Styrian Grand Prix have not been as expected. Life upside down and once again the usual tonic of this 2021 Formula 1 season where nothing is what it seems. After 71 laps, Max Verstappen saw the checkered flag, having remained first from start to finish. Without mistakes, without shaking his pulse, with consistency and achieving a victory that gives him a distance of 18 points in the drivers' world championship over his main rival, Lewis Hamilton.
The British Mercedes driver had a good race, but could not keep up with the Dutchman. The Red Bulls have shown a similar pace in corners and a superior pace in straights. Seeing that it was impossible to catch Verstappen, Hamilton took advantage of his free stop and managed to score an additional point by taking the fastest lap of the race. With the Austrians' superiority on their home circuit, Mercedes did well to save the numbers and minimize the impact of Verstappen's victory. After Hamilton, Valtteri Bottas completed the podium, who was able to overcome the three-place penalty he received in FP2. The wall of engineers led by Toto Wolff knew how to take advantage of the bad pit stop of Sergio Perez and put the Finn on the next lap to make an overcut and get ahead. From there Bottas kept the pace and managed to get back on the podium for the first time since the Spanish Grand Prix.
In the fourth position was Sergio Perez. The Mexican started well and completed a good race. He could not repair the team's mistake in his first pit stop, although he was close. As the gap to Lando Norris was enough, Checo stopped again and put on the soft tires to try the fastest lap and maybe catch Bottas with a faster pace. He was less than a second behind the Finn and who knows what would have happened with one more lap.
Verstappen keeps the lead and Perez holds on to third place in the world championship. The Dutchman achieved his second consecutive victory and Red Bull the fourth in a row. The team led by Christian Horner once again takes a blow on the table and consolidates its lead in the constructors' championship, with a 40-point advantage over Mercedes. Next week, the Austrian Grand Prix on the same track. Toto Wolff's team is trembling and the energy drinkers are excited.
Norris is once again the best of the rest and Ferrari regains good sensations
Lando Norris took a well-deserved third place in qualifying, but he knew it was not going to be easy to maintain the position. A sudden drop in power (which also affected his teammate Daniel Ricciardo) made him lose two places that were impossible to recover. He was overtaken by Bottas and Perez, who were running at a much faster pace. After the British, the two Ferraris. The SF21 is difficult to pull on the straights, but the Maranello team has pleasantly surprised with a sixth-place of Carlos Sainz and a seventh-place of Charles Leclerc.
The Spanish driver maintained a good pace throughout the race, with a good strategy and climbing up to six places from the start. Leclerc's race was even more epic. The Monegasque broke his wing at the start in a double touch with Pierre Gasly and was forced to pit on the first lap. From there he was eighth and again fell to the fourteenth position at the second stop. From that moment he would start the comeback to complete a race in which he was nominated by the fans as the driver of the day.
Overtaking and struggles in the middle zone
Shy race for the Aston Martins, with Lance Stroll improving one position with an eighth-place and Sebastian Vettel out of the points with a twelfth place. Fernando Alonso took a well-deserved ninth place. He was overtaken by Leclerc and the superior pace of the Ferrari over the Alpine, but achieved the goal of scoring. The Asturian enters the points zone for the third race in a row. Yuki Tsunoda completed the top 10. The Japanese driver started eleventh after receiving a three-place penalty in qualifying and scored a point for AlphaTauri, which is still a bit disappointing due to Gasly's retirement.
In eleventh position a surprising Kimi Räikkönen, who made up for poor performance on Saturday. The Finn started eighteenth and showed a good pace, as well as a good strategy of the Alfa Romeo team. The Iceman started on hard tires and switched to medium tires halfway through the race, which allowed him to overtake Vettel a few laps from the end. It would not be surprising if this strategy is copied next week, although the compounds that Pirelli will give will be different.
A bad day for Ricciardo, who suffered a power drop in the engine of his MCL35M and could not score. Thirteenth position for the Australian driver, far from his best performance. Esteban Ocon was also missing. The Alpine driver had a bad qualifying, and although he climbed some positions in the first laps, he was not able to go further. Antonio Giovinazzi also failed to find a pace.
Poetic injustice for Gasly and Russell
Some retirements were expected and so it was. The first victim was Pierre Gasly. Leclerc went out aggressively and in a touch with the driver of AlphaTauri, he punctured the wheel. In turn 3 the Frenchman touched with Giovinazzi and Nicholas Latifi. When he arrived in the pits, the rear structure of the tire was already too damaged to continue the race. Unfair outcome for Gasly, who arrived in Austria prepared to maintain the impressive performance he had already shown in previous races. It is fair to think that if he had continued he would not have made things easy for Ferrari.
George Russell also had an unfair ending. The Williams driver started tenth, thanks to Tsunoda's penalty, and after the first few laps, he was up to seventh. But the FW43B is not ready for this kind of races. The car is not up to the young Briton's expectations for great feats this season. Before reaching 25 laps, Russell was forced to slow down and on lap 36 he stopped again in the pits to say goodbye to the race.
Formula 1 Styrian GP race results
1.- Max Verstappen (Red Bull) - 1:22:18.925 (+25)
2.- Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) - +35.743s (+19)
3.- Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) - +46.907s (+15)
4.- Sergio Pérez (Red Bull) - +47.434s (+12)
5.- Lando Norris (McLaren) - (+1 lap) (+10)
6.- Carlos Sainz Jr. (Ferrari) - (+1 lap) (+8)
7.- Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) - (+1 lap) (+6)
8.- Lance Stroll (Aston Martin) - (+1 lap) (+4)
9.- Fernando Alonso (Alpine F1 Team) - (+1 lap) (+2)
10.- Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri) - (+1 lap) (+1)
11.- Kimi Räikkönen (Alfa Romeo) - (+1 lap)
12.- Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin) - (+1 lap)
13.- Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren) - (+1 lap)
14.- Esteban Ocon (Alpine F1 Team) - (+1 lap)
15.- Antonio Giovinazzi (Alfa Romeo) - (+1 lap)
16.- Mick Schumacher (Haas) - (+2 laps)
17.- Nicholas Latifi (Williams) - (+3 laps)
18.- Nikita Mazepin (Haas) - (+3 laps)
19.- George Russell (Williams) - DFN
20.- Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri) - DFN