For the second time in as many weeks, Red Bull’s Max Verstappen enjoyed a serene drive to victory at the Red Bull Ring, leading every lap of the 2021 Formula 1 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 the second place from P4 on the grid before aerodynamic damage, picked up by running over exit kerbs, slowed his progress, allowing both Mercedes teammate 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 the 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…
Mario Isola – Head of F1 and car racing at Pirelli commented:
We are happy that our decision to vary the nominations for Austria resulted in two distinct races, with the second Grand Prix having a very fast pace and character compared to the first one. The track temperatures today were considerably cooler than they had been during qualifying, which obviously had an effect on tyre wear and degradation, favouring the softer compounds and prolonging the stints. As a result, we saw a good mix of one and two stop strategies; with a one-stopper still requiring some degree of tyre management to maintain performance over the length of each stint, while a two-stopper was the winning strategy.
Congratulations to Max Verstappen and Red Bull for a perfect strategic race today, where their pace allowed them to stop twice without ever losing the lead. Now we remain at the Red Bull Ring for a third week to continue the 2022 18-inch tyre testing programme for two days with AlphaTauri on Tuesday and Wednesday.”
2021 Formula 1 Austrian GP Race Results
|1.||33||Max Verstappen||Netherlands||Red Bull Racing||1:23:54.543||26||182|
|2.||77||Valtteri Bottas||Finland||Mercedes-AMG Petronas||+17.973s||18||92|
|3.||4||Lando Norris||Great Britain||Mclaren Racing||+20.019s||15||101|
|4.||44||Lewis Hamilton||Great Britain||Mercedes-AMG Petronas||+46.452s||12||150|
|5.||55||Carlos Sainz||Spain||Scuderia Ferrari||+57.144s||10||60|
|6.||11||Sergio Perez||Mexico||Red Bull Racing Honda||+57.915s||8||104|
|7.||3||Daniel Ricciardo||Australia||McLaren Racing||+60.395s||6||40|
|8.||16||Charles Leclerc||Monaco||Scuderia Ferrari||+61.195s||4||62|
|9.||10||Pierre Gasly||France||Scuderia AlphaTauri||+61.844s||2||39|
|10.||14||Fernando Alonso||Spain||Alpine F1 Team||+1 lap||1||20|
|11.||63||George Russell||Great Britain||Williams Racing||+1 lap||0||0|
|12.||22||Yuki Tsunoda||Japan||Scuderia AlphaTauri||+1 lap||0||9|
|13.||18||Lance Stroll||Canada||Aston Martin F1 Team||+1 lap||0||14|
|14.||99||Antonio Giovinazzi||Italy||Alfa Romeo F1 Team||+1 lap||0||1|
|15.||7||Kimi Räikkönen||Finland||Alfa Romeo F1 Team||+1 lap||0||1|
|16.||6||Nicholas Latifi||Canada||Williams Racing||+1 lap||0||0|
|17.||5||Sebastian Vettel||Germany||Aston Martin F1 Team||DNF||0||30|
|18.||47||Mick Schumacher||Germany||Haas F1 Team||+2 laps||0||0|
|19.||9||Nikita Mazepin||Russia||Haas F1 Team||+2 laps||0||0|
|20.||31||Esteban Ocon||France||Alpine F1 Team||DNF||0||12|