For the second time is as many weeks, Red Bull’s Max Verstappen enjoyed a serene drive to victory at the Red Bull Ring, leading every lap of the Austrian Grand Prix from pole position – much to the delight of the thousands of orange clad fans who flocked to cheer him to a third victory in a row.
In contrast to the Styrian Grand Prix, Verstappen faced no real threat from behind, even having enough time to take an extra pit stop with 10 laps to go to ensure an extra point for fastest lap – and a first ever ‘grand slam weekend’, with pole, fastest lap and victory, having led every lap.
Behind him, championship rival Lewis Hamilton worked his way up to second place from P4 on the grid before aerodynamic damage, picked up by running over exit kerbs, slowed his progress, allowing both Mercedes team mate Valtteri Bottas and McLaren’s Lando Norris to get past.
Despite heavy pressure from Norris, who was awarded Driver Of The Day honours, Bottas held on for P2, with the McLaren driver taking a third podium finish of the season in P3. Hamilton held on for fourth, but slipped from 18 to 32 points behind Verstappen in the championship standings.
Red Bull might have had an even better day, had Sergio Perez not had such an eventful race from third on the grid. After an early safety car, called on Lap 1 when Esteban Ocon was forced to park his Alpine with damage sustained bumping Antonio Giovinazzi’s Alfa Romeo at Turn 3, Perez attacked Norris for P3 at Turn 3.
Going around the outside, Perez was forced off track, with Norris given a five-second penalty as a result. However, Perez would later ease Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari off the road at exactly the same place and pick up an identical penalty, before doing the same thing to Leclerc at Turn 6 and getting one further time penalty.
That meant that while Perez crossed the line in P5, he was classified in P6, with Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz – who propelled himself up the order with a brilliant late charge after running a long opening stint – taking fifth.
McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo, Leclerc, AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly and Alpine’s Fernando Alonso completed the top 10, the latter taking the final points-paying position from George Russell on the penultimate lap, denying the Briton a first point with Williams.
Further back there was drama on the last lap as Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen collided with Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel as they disputed P12. But for the majority of fans around the track, it was all about the man who finished in P1…
MAX VERSTAPPEN, Finish Position: 1st, Start Position: 1st
“To win again at home at the Red Bull Ring is just incredible. I expected it to be good, but not this good, and the car was on rails. It was really nice to drive and the pace was incredible on both tyre compounds. I could push and also look after the tyres which is exactly how you want it to be and I could extend my gap lap after lap. Just like everyone else we learnt from last weekend and we optimised the car even more by improving the set-up. It’s actually hard to put into words because it was so enjoyable to drive and the weekend was the best it could be, so let’s hope we can carry on in the same way. It’s a great reward for everyone in the Team and it was also very nice to have Honda represented on the podium by Tanabe. The fans were also incredible all weekend, so much orange in the grandstands and it’s just great to see people back and enjoying Formula One at the track. There are of course a lot of difficult races coming up and Silverstone will be interesting with the Sprint Race to mix things up. But for now, I’m really happy with the way the whole race went and you don’t often get this type of race, so we all have to enjoy it.”
SERGIO PEREZ, Finish Position: 6th, Start Position: 3rd
“I’m obviously not very happy with my race today. On the fourth lap I had the position and I out-braked Lando but he pushed me off the track which pretty much ended my race. As for the other incidents with Charles, I still have to review the situations and look at the incidents because I thought that I was ahead in both of them, especially the second one but it’s hard to say right now. I braked as late as possible, we were in dirty air and we had very old tyres so I lost the rear on the second one into Turn 6. I’m very sorry for Charles and how I affected his race because that’s not the way I like to race. I don’t feel happy with myself for compromising the race for another driver. But I am very happy for Max and the rest of the Team, it was great that we could get more points today at our home race at the Red Bull Ring. We move on and I’m looking forward to the next race at Silverstone.”
CHRISTIAN HORNER, Team Principal
“Max had another fantastic race today and a second victory at the Red Bull Ring is a great way for the Team to sign off the triple header. It was another impeccable drive from Max and he didn’t put a wheel wrong. To achieve pole position, fastest lap, lead every lap and become the first driver to win all three races in a triple-header is just phenomenal and shows the calibre of driver he is and the effort the Team are putting in every single weekend. Checo was unlucky to have a racing incident with Lando, but for me that’s hard racing, just like the similar incidents later in the race but he came back strong and we could all see how hungry he was to get a result. We’ve now won the last five races, a first for us in the hybrid era, but we cannot get complacent and need to keep that momentum going. There’s a long way to go in this championship, we don’t take anything for granted and we have to keep doing what we’re doing, session by session, race by race. Silverstone will be a big challenge and it’s been a Mercedes stronghold for the last seven years but there’s going to be a big crowd there and we have brilliant fans, so I can’t wait to put on another show for everyone who comes out to support us.”
02-04 Jul 2021, Red Bull Ring, Spielberg
|1||33||RED BULL RACING HONDA||71||1:23:54.543||26|
|6||11||RED BULL RACING HONDA||71||+57.915s||8|
|10||14||ALPINE RENAULT||70||+1 lap||1|
|11||63||WILLIAMS MERCEDES||70||+1 lap||0|
|12||22||ALPHATAURI HONDA||70||+1 lap||0|
|13||18||ASTON MARTIN MERCEDES||70||+1 lap||0|
|14||99||ALFA ROMEO RACING FERRARI||70||+1 lap||0|
|15||7||ALFA ROMEO RACING FERRARI||70||+1 lap||0|
|16||6||WILLIAMS MERCEDES||70||+1 lap||0|
|17||5||ASTON MARTIN MERCEDES||69||DNF||0|
|18||47||HAAS FERRARI||69||+2 laps||0|
|19||9||HAAS FERRARI||69||+2 laps||0|
Note – Verstappen scored an additional point for setting the fastest lap of the race. Perez received a 10-second time penalty for forcing another driver off track. Stroll received a 5-second time penalty for speeding in the pit lane. Tsunoda received a 5-second time penalty for crossing the white line at the pit entry. Raikkonen received a drive-through penalty, converted to a 20-second time penalty, for causing a collision. Mazepin and Latifi received 10-second stop-and-go penalties, converted to 30-second time penalties, for not respecting double yellow flags.
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