Verstappen dominates in Austria: 2021 Styrian Grand Prix lap by lap recap


There was no stopping Max Verstappen around the Red Bull Ring as he took his fourth win of the 2021 F1 season

Verstappen styria

Verstappen took a crushing win in Styria

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Max Verstappen dominated on Red Bull home turf to extend his championship lead over Lewis Hamilton who couldn’t get close to the Dutchman on Sunday in Styria.

Team-mate Valtteri Bottas was under late pressure from Sergio Perez after the latter converted to a two-stop at the mid-way point but held on for third position.

Ferrari enjoyed a strong latter half of the grand prix after an eventful opening lap for Charles Leclerc while George Russell missed out on points with car trouble, having looked set to score for the first time for the team.

Verstappen covered Hamilton off to lead comfortably out of Turn One at the start, Perez passed Norris up the hill into Three but Lando Norris was able to take it back at Turn Four after the Red Bull was caught up behind Hamilton in the braking zone.

2021 Styrian Grand Prix start

Verstappen converts pole into the lead

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Charles Leclerc sustained front wing damage up the hill to Turn Three as he rejoined the track and was forced to pit at the end of the opening lap.

Nicholas Latifi got a puncture and fell down the order into last recovering to the pits while Pierre Gasly’s afternoon was over as quickly as it started. The Frenchman got a puncture in contact with the Ferrari and damaged his suspension in a tangle with Antonio Giovinazzi at Turn Three.

Lance Stroll lost out to Fernando Alonso in the opening corners but took his seventh place back at Turn Six.

After a manic first lap, the field settled in for the first stint with the top 10 order: Verstappen, Hamilton, Norris, Perez, Bottas, Stroll, Alonso, Russell, Ricciardo and Tsunoda.


Gasly suffered a puncture on lap one after a collision with Leclerc

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Perez couldn’t get close to Norris after the first few laps and complained on lap seven that he needed more power to make a pass.

Ricciardo was into the top ten but dropped down four places on the same lap to leave him where he started, 13th. The Australian reported low power but was able to continue after this issue resolved itself.

Team-mate Norris wasn’t having a better time as he lost third position to Perez on lap 10 with the Mexican using DRS into Turn Three to gain position.

Valtteri Bottas made his way by on the following lap in the same place as McLaren looked to run its own race behind the top quartet.

Leclerc took 16th place from Nikita Mazepin on lap 15 as his recovery drive continued following his stop on the first lap.

Lando Norris with Lewis Hamilton and Sergio Perez at the 2021 Styrian Grand Prix

An impressive Norris ran third early on


Seventh-placed Alonso started to head up a train down to 12th position with George Russell leading the charge on the Alpine driver.

He was informed on lap 18 that he’d be switching to “plan B”  for reliability reasons. Plenty of drivers had started looking for clean air on the straights to cool the cars despite the cloud cover moving in.

Mazepin was in on lap 23 for hard compound tyres to kick off the first round of stops.

Leclerc cleared Esteban Ocon into Turn Four with some late-braking down the outside of the Frenchman to take 14th on lap 25.

Hamilton had a heart-in-mouth moment coming out of Turn Four, getting sideways on acceleration and touching the gravel. He held on but reported vibrations on his mediums with the gap to the leader at 5sec.

Russell was in for hard tyres on lap 27 but it was a very slow stop at 18.3sec. The team had to fix a pneumatic issue on his car that kept him stationary for a long time. He was back into the pits on the following lap for another top up, undoing all his hard work.

He wasn’t the only one with pit stop trouble. Perez was in for fresh tyres but had a slow stop at 4.8sec to put him under threat from Bottas. The Finn was told “everything you’ve got” over radio and was in at the end of lap 28. He was fitted with hard tyres in 2.6sec and rejoined ahead of the Red Bull to complete the undercut.

Hamilton was in on lap 29 for hards having dropped to 5.5sec behind the race leader. Verstappen responded on the following lap and retained his lead comfortably.

Norris made his stop on lap 32 to come out just behind a yet-to-stop Kimi Räikkönen. He moved clear of the Alfa Romeo into Turn Four on his out lap and set his sights on Sainz.

At the front both contenders reported various issues. Verstappen said he’d had a brake-by-wire warning on his dash while Hamilton felt he was experiencing de-rates around the circuit. They traded fastest laps on lap 34 with the gap down to 4sec.

Geoirge russell at the 2021 Styrian Grand Prix

Russell ran as high as eighth before having to retire

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Red Bull told Verstappen they’d had the better tyre degredation during the first stint while Hamilton was informed Mercedes was leaning towards a two-stop strategy and told their driver to bring the gap down.

Ricciardo was told to pit on lap 38 to overtake Räikkönen but Alfa Romeo brought their driver in before the Australian. It freed the Australian into clear air and seventh position. When he made his stop on lap 43, he lost position to the Finn.

Russell’s fight against his car problems came to an end on lap 39 when he was retired from the race.

While team-mate Sainz pitted for the first time, Leclerc cleared Räikkönen for 12th place but it was mightily close to another puncture for the Ferrari. He sliced a part of the Alfa front wing off into Turn Four when getting the pass done. Meanwhile Sainz’s long first stint paid off and he moved up to seventh. With fresh tyres, he made quick work of Stroll for sixth under acceleration up to Turn Four on lap 45.

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Hamilton’s progress towards the race leader was non-existent. The Mercedes driver asked where he was losing time and told Verstappen was 0.25sec quicker down the straights in clear air. On lap 48, the gap between them was up to 6.2sec.

Behind them, Bottas was struggling on the hard compound tyres and said he’d overcooked his Pirellis trying to gap Perez following his stop. 1.4sec seperated them on track.

Leclerc moved by Vettel on lap 50 into Turn Four as the Ferrari driver’s progress continued. Two lock-ups in defence from the Aston Martin dropped him out of DRS range for good measure.

Verstappen’s lead was up to over 7sec on lap 54 when he reported more brake-by-wire warnings. The team informed him his braking at Turn 10 while on the kerbs was causing the issue but Hamilton’s front right blistering was just extending the Red Bull advantage.

While Mercedes considered a two-stop, Red Bull pulled the trigger on one. Perez was in on lap 55 for mediums having pitted from 1.5sec back off of Bottas. His rapid pace on the out lap meant Bottas couldn’t respond or he’d rejoin behind the Red Bull.

Leclerc made his way clear of Tsunoda and Alonso on back-to-back laps, he moved up to eighth on lap 57 but made more contact in the process, this time tyre face to tyre face with the Alpine. Lap 60 and he was by Stroll for seventh.

Hamilton had continued to fall away from Verstappen and on fresh tyres, Sainz unlapped himself on lap 65 against the Mercedes.

Team-mate Bottas spent a long time tucked up behind Ricciardo before getting in range of the McLaren to lap it. The gap to Perez was down to 6.2sec on lap 68.

Räikkönen made a move on Vettel as the Aston Martin struggled on its tyres to take 11th with three laps to go. Meanwhile McLaren reported to Norris that there were spots of rain beginning to fall but not to worry about any arriving weather.

Hamilton pitted on lap 70 for a fastest lap attempt on scrubbed soft tyres and achieved the feat on the final tour.

Verstappen claimed his fourth win of the season by over 38sec to Hamilton while Bottas just held onto third place after Perez got within a second on the final lap.

Norris survived a Ferrari resurgence in the second half of the race to take fifth from Sainz and Leclerc with Stroll, Alonso and Tsunoda rounding out the top 10.

Perez pitstop

Slow first pitstop lost Perez podium place

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2021 Styrian Grand Prix race results

Position Driver Team Time Points
1 Max Verstappen Red Bull 71 laps 25
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes +35.743sec 19*
3 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes +46.907sec 15
4 Sergio Perez Red Bull +47.434sec 12
5 Lando Norris McLaren +1 lap 10
6 Carlos Sainz Ferrari +1 lap 8
7 Charles Leclerc Ferrari +1 lap 6
8 Lance Stroll Aston Martin +1 lap 4
9 Fernando Alonso Alpine +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 AlphaTauri + 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
George Russell Williams DNF
Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri DNF

*Includes additional point for fastest lap