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A Very Bullish Run: Max Verstappen Wins Styrian Grand Prix

Photo Credit: Unnamed photographer/Pirelli

The 2021 Formula 1 tour arrived in Austria this past weekend for the first of two events held on the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg. A grand prix created last year as a result of the disrupted Formula 1 calender caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Styrian Grand Prix has made a return for the 2021 season after the cancellation of the Canadian Grand Prix that was to be run on June 13th due to COVID-19 related restrictions. A 71-lap event on the 10-turn, 4.318-kilometer Austrian circuit features many elevation changes and some of the shortest lap times on the grand prix schedule.

In Saturday qualifying at the Red Bull Ring Max Verstappen secured home track advantage. After registering fastest times in both Friday practice sessions, the #33 Red Bull Racing RB16B driven by the Dutch pilot took pole with a 1-minute, 3.841-second lap time in the Q3 session. Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team driver Valtteri Bottas recorded the second-fastest time in qualifying but was demoted three grid positions due to a penalty incurred on Friday when the #77 car half-spun on pit road. With Bottas starting second, the Finnish driver’s Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton was promoted to the front row for the start of the Styrian Grand Prix.

Photo Credit: Wolfgang Wilhelm for Daimler AG

Under the threat of rain showers that ultimately failed to materialize during the race’s 71 laps, Sunday’s Styrian Grand Prix started with pole sitter Max Verstappen’s Honda-powered Red Bull machine shooting out in front of Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes. Deeper in the race pack out of turn one, the 6th and 7th place starting vehicles of Pierre Gasly and Charles Leclerc made contact. The right corner of the Ferrari’s front wing cut the left rear tire of Gasly’s Scuderia AlphaTauri race car. Dropping several spots in the running order while attempting to negotiate his injured #10 vehicle approaching the second corner, Gasly made contact with the #99 Alfa Romeo Racing car driven by Antonio Giovinazzi that also sent Williams Racing’s Nicholas Latifi into an evasive manoeuvre but was unable to avoid a right rear tire puncture. Pierre Gasly was forced to retire from the race as his Honda-powered AlphaTauri race car returned to pit road with rear suspension damage. Latifi made a pit stop on the first lap but was able to continue and finish the Styrian Grand Prix as did Giovinazzi who didn’t require any immediate service for his Alfa Romeo C41 machine.

Right from the first lap, Max Verstappen and his #33 Red Bull Racing set the pace at the front for the Styrian Grand Prix. Crossing the line 35.743 seconds ahead of the second place car, Verstappen commemorated his victory with a burnout just ahead of the start/finish line drawing the ire of the Formula 1 race director earning a warning against performing the action in the future. Putting aside the Dutch driver’s celebration at the checkered flag, the winner of the 2021 Styrian Grand Prix has now claimed victory in three of the last four grand prix races. Red Bull Racing has significantly won the last four Formula 1 races greatly showing up the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team.

Photo Credit: Unnamed photographer/Pirelli

Max Verstappen but came short in collecting the fastest lap. The honour that included an extra championship point was deputed between through the race’s late stage between Mercedes AMG’s Lewis Hamilton and driver of the #11 Red Bull Racing race car Sergio Perez. Claimed by Hamilton shortly after his lap 28 pit stop, Red Bull Racing eyed the opportunity to wrestle a valuable point away from their rival. Pitting on his 54th lap, Perez received a new set of medium compound Pirelli slick tires and would record a circuit around the 4.318-kilometer Red Bull Ring at 1 minute, 7.894 seconds. However, having lost touch with the leader Max Verstappen, the #44 Mercedes arrived on pit road on lap 69 for soft compound tires and ultimately prevailed in the in-race challenge with a 1-minute, 7.058-second lap time. Lewis Hamilton finished second having secured a sizable gap over teammate Valtteri Bottas.

Bottas finished third in the first 2021 race in Austria after starting fifth due to his penalty. The #77 Mercedes was aided by consistent driving by the Finnish driver as well as a bumble by Red Bull Racing pitting the #11 car of Sergio Perez as the tire change took 4.8 seconds to complete. Adopting a two-stop strategy where the Mexican driver returned to pit road on lap 54, Perez finished in the Styrian Grand Prix in fourth place after unsuccessfully making a late charge for third place. Perez’s #11 Honda-powered Red Bull RB16B finished 0.527 seconds behind Valtteri Bottas.

Lando Norris finished in fifth place for McLaren on the Red Bull Ring while the Brit’s Australian teammate, Daniel Ricciardo, suffered a momentary loss of performance from his Mercedes-Benz power unit and finished in 13th place.

The Scuderia Ferrari squad enjoyed an eventful yet fruitful Styrian Grand Prix with both cars crossing the line in the top-10. Starting in 12th place, Spain’s Carlos Sainz Jr. spent more than 40 laps on his first set of new medium compound Pirelli tires and was able to guide his #55 car to a sixth place finish. Sainz was recorded for making eleven passing moves over the course of the 71-lap event driving the Ferrari SF21. Charles Leclerc crossed the line in seventh place recovering from the first lap incident between him and Pierre Gasly.

Photo Credit: Foto Columbo Images Scuderia Ferrari Press Office

Lance Stroll started in 10th place with Aston Martin but improved his position at the end of Styrian Grand Prix to claim eighth place fending off Alpine’s Fernando Alonso for the spot. The final points-paying position was taken by Japanese driver Yuki Tsunoda driving for AlphaTauri who recovered to the top-10 after a grid place penalty after Saturday qualifying.

During the opening stage of the Styrian Grand Prix, Williams Racing’s appeared to be on course to accomplish a feat not achieved since the 2019 German Grand Prix. Tsunoda’s before-mentioned penalty allowed George Russel to start tenth and the #63 Williams-Mercedes would actually climb to eighth place in the opening laps. Sadly, Russell’s car suffered a Mercedes-Benz power unit problem by the time of the Williams Racing team’s first Pit stop. On lap 26, the miracle run for Russell and Williams ended when the #63 machine was retired.

Formula 1 drivers and teams will remain in Austria ahead of the next race held at the Red Bull Ring. The Austrian Grand Prix will run on July 4th as another 71-lap event.

2021 Formula 1 Season
Styrian Grand Prix
Race Results
Pos # Car # Driver Team Engine
1 33 Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing Honda
2 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team Mercedes-Benz
3 77 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team Mercedes-Benz
4 11 Sergio Perez Red Bull Racing Honda
5 4 Lando Norris McLaren F1 Team Mercedes-Benz
6 55 Carlos Sainz Jr Scuderia Misson Winnow Ferrari Ferrari
7 16 Charles Leclerc Scuderia Misson Winnow Ferrari Ferrari
8 14 Fernando Alonso Alpine F1 Team Renault
8 18 Lance Stroll Aston Martin Cognizant F1 Team Mercedes-Benz
10 22 Yuki Tsunoda Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda
11 7 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari
12 5 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin Cognizant F1 Team Mercedes-Benz
13 3 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren F1 Team Mercedes-Benz
14 31 Esteban Ocon Alpine F1 Team Renault
15 99 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari
16 47 Mick Schumacher Uralkali Haas F1 Team Ferrari
17 6 Nicholas Latifi Williams Racing Mercedes-Benz
18 9 Nikita Mazepin Uralkali Haas F1 Team Ferrari
19 63 George Russell Williams Racing Mercedes-Benz
20 10 Pierre Gasly Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda
2021 Formula 1 Drivers' World Championship Points (After Styrian Grand Prix)
Driver Total Points
1 Max Verstappen 156
2 Lewis Hamilton 138
3 Sergio Perez 96
4 Lando Norris 86
5 Valtteri Bottas 74
6 Charles Leclerc 58
7 Carlos Sainz Jr 50
8 Pierre Gasly 37
9 Daniel Ricciardo 34
10 Sebastian Vettel 30
11 Fernando Alonso 19
12 Lance Stroll 14
13 Esteban Ocon 12
14 Yuki Tsunoda 9
15 Antonio Giovinazzi 1
16 Kimi Raikkonen 1
17 George Russell 0
18 Nicholas Latifi 0
19 Mick Schumacher 0
20 Nikita Mazepin 0
2021 Formula 1 Contructors' Points (After Styrian Grand Prix)
Constructor Engine Total Points
1 Red Bull Racing Honda 252
2 Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team Mercedes-Benz 212
3 McLaren F1 Team Mercedes-Benz 120
4 Scuderia Misson Winnow Ferrari Ferrari 108
5 Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda 46
6 Aston Martin Cognizant F1 Team Mercedes-Benz 44
7 Alpine F1 Team Renault 31
8 Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari 2
9 Williams Racing Mercedes-Benz 0
10 Uralkali Haas F1 Team Ferrari 0


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