Max Verstappen and Red Bull have claimed a dominant victory at the Red Bull Ring for the 2021 Styrian GP. Lewis Hamilton settled for second best in the Mercedes as he loses valuable championship points to Verstappen. Valtteri Bottas fended off a last-lap challenge from Sergio Perez to cross the line third.
Verstappen started from pole with Hamilton alongside. As a 3-place grid penalty meant Bottas started from fifth behind Noris and Perez.
When the lights went out, Verstappen and Hamilton got good but fairly even starts. Into turn one, Verstappen was in the lead. Hamilton was second and both drivers started to pull a gap immediately to the pack behind. But it was the Dutchman who easily kept extending his lead in his Red Bull. Perez and Bottas were both able to get ahead of Lando Norris’ McLaren a few laps into the race.
With Verstappen and Hamilton quite a distance ahead, Red Bull called in Perez for his first stop on lap 27. But, the left rear wheel gun didn’t want to play along meaning the stop was compromised. When Bottas pitted the following lap, he comfortably came out ahead of Perez.
Hamilton tried the undercut to Verstappen on the subsequent lap. But when Verstappen pitted the following lap, he still maintained a healthy lead to Hamilton. Eventually, Verstappen went on to win the race having overlapped up to Norris in fifth place.
Perez pitted a second time on lap 55 to try and get on fresher tyres to attempt a late charge on Bottas and also steal the extra point for the fastest lap. The Mexican came out in fourth and also set the interim fastest lap of the race. He started to close the gap to Bottas to challenge for third place.
Hamilton with a 22 second+ gap to Bottas on the penultimate lap came into the pits for a fresher set of tyres. Hamilton set the fastest lap of the race to lay claim to the extra point on the last lap as the Brit settled for second in the race.
It was on the last lap that Perez was close enough to attempt an overtake on Bottas. But despite having DRS, Bottas kept the Mexican at bay to keep his third place as both drivers came across the line. Perez lost third place with the botched pit stop back on lap 27.
Behind them, Norris, Sainz, Leclerc, Stroll, Alonso and Tsunoda were the top 10 finishers who claimed points in that rder. Pierre Gasly and George Russel were the only two retirements from the race. The next round will be held again at the Red Bull Ring for the Austrian GP in seven days time.
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