2021 Austrian Grand Prix what you missed


Verstappen's dominant victory, Russell's nearly moment and crashes on the final lap, Austria provided a spectacle second time round

Red Bull Ring 2021 F1

The Dutch fans were entertained in Austria as Verstappen took a dominant win

Grand Prix Photo

It was another Sunday drive for Max Verstappen around the Red Bull Ring as he notched up his fifth victory of the season but there was hardly a lack of action behind him.

Lando Norris put in another storming drive to take another third-place podium finish while George Russell came agonisingly close to his first points with Williams in a great scrap with Fernando Alonso.

Not satisfied with cruising to the line, Kimi Räikkönen and Sebastian Vettel even crashed on the final lap to keep everyone’s attention.

Throughout it all, you might not have seen that Verstappen led every lap on the way to a new F1 record or Norris almost earning himself a race ban for the British Grand Prix. Here is what you missed from the Austrian Grand Prix


A first grand chelem for Verstappen

It was perhaps Max Verstappen’s best weekend of the season so far, taking pole position, fastest lap as well as leading every single lap of the Austrian GP on the way to victory.

The Dutch driver was overwhelmingly complimentary of his car post-race, as the RB16B delivered him his 50th F1 podium to make him the youngest driver to achieve the feat in F1 history.

With a two-week break now until the British Grand Prix, Red Bull will be hoping to keep up the momentum that has earned them their fifth consecutive race victory, the longest non-Mercedes streak since the hybrid era began back in 2014.

The same sort of victory around Silverstone, historically a Mercedes favourite, could set the tone for the rest of the 2021 season.


Alonso gains at the start…then loses out

2021 Austrian GP start

Alonso shot down the inside of Leclerc but Ricciardo’s interpretation of track limits meant he didn’t gain a place

Joao Filipe / DPPI

Even two-time champions still have things to learn Fernando Alonso joked after the race.

The Alpine driver made one of his typical strong starts off the line to gain places at the start and was set to take at least one spot into Turn One, down the inside of Charles Leclerc.

On the outside line though, Daniel Ricciardo took to the runoff to keep his momentum, driving off the track and maintaining his position.

He recovered from this small setback though to set up a brilliant duel with George Russell for 10th in the final laps of the race, denying the Williams man his first F1 point with the team

Another points finish in the end for Fernando will mean his superstitious Thursday track walks will continue for another race at least.


Lando Norris is two penalty points away from suspension…

Lando Norris, 2021 Austrian GP

Norris will have eight penalty points by the British Grand Prix weekend


…but he’ll lose two of those before the next race at Silverstone. The McLaren driver was assigned two points on his license for forcing Sergio Perez off the track at Turn Four.

Despite Red Bull team boss Christian Horner saying that the sanction was harsh, the British driver was handed a five-second penalty for driving standards and the penalty points along with it.

He was able to overcome the penalty and score another podium finish and will have a little more breathing room for any further indiscretions by the time he takes to the track again for the British Grand Prix.

Norris earned two points in Styria last season for ignoring yellow flags during FP1. He’ll lose those two next week though with penalty points expiring a year after they were earned.


Margin for error

Lewis Hamilton, 2021 Austrian GP

Hamilton has a lot of ground to make up to retain his title

Joao Filipe / DPPI

Currently, the 32-point gap between championship leader Verstappen and title rival Lewis Hamilton is the largest deficit the latter has faced during the turbo-hybrid era.

Red Bull’s five wins on the bounce and Mercedes’s underperformance throughout has set the reigning world champions back in the constructors’ battle too, now 44 points off of the top spot.

Toto Wolff made it clear in Austria that the team has turned its attention to 2022 and will not be developing further upgrades for ’21’s W12. There are a few small updates yet to see the light of day but beyond those in the development pipeline, this is it for Mercedes this season.

Can they fight back at Silverstone? If they don’t then it could be a long second half of the season as Red Bull and Verstappen look set to break a seven-year run of unparalleled domination at the top.

Hamilton posted on Monday morning he would not be giving up on the title fight but another seven points lost on home soil might be more than he can overcome despite his usual upturn in performances in the second half of recent seasons.