After a couple of explosive rounds, the 2021 Formula One Styrian Grand Prix saw a calmer affair at the Red Bull Ring in Austria. Championship leader Max Verstappen took a comfortable win in his Red Bull Racing Honda, ahead of Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas. Here are the winners and losers from the eighth round of the 2021 Formula One season:
Red Bull Racing Honda
Max Verstappen’s Styrian Grand Prix weekend could not have been more perfect. Qualifying on pole position, the Dutchman was in complete control of the race to take his fourth win of the season.
His teammate, Sergio Perez, also had a strong race to fourth place, just half a second away from snatching third place from Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas. All this adds up to Verstappen extending his lead in the drivers’ standings to 18 points over Lewis Hamiton’s Mercedes. Red Bull Racing Honda has extended its lead over Mercedes in the constructors’ standings to 40 points.
McLaren’s Lando Norris was in fine form all weekend, qualifying third on the grid, and driving a strong race to finish best of the rest in fifth and completely outshine his teammate, Daniel Ricciardo. This race continues the consistent run of points-scoring results, with Norris still holding onto fourth place in the drivers’ standings.
The folks from Maranello managed a brilliant bounceback from their struggles in the previous race, with Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc finishing sixth and seventh. Leclerc’s result was more impressive as he recovered from an incident in the first lap to claw his way up from 19th place to seventh in the end. Ferrari closed the gap to third-placed McLaren in the constructors’ standings, to just 12 points, with their double points’ finish.
Mercedes tried to throw everything at Red Bull Honda’s Max Verstappen, but it was simply not enough, and seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton had to settle for second place in the end. That being said, he did manage to steal an extra point by taking the fastest lap of the race. Teammate Valtteri Bottas managed to recover from his fifth place start to finish in third, but was a long way off the leading pair of Verstappen and Hamilton to mount any kind of challenge. This race has left the reigning world champions losing further ground to Red Bull in both the drivers’ and constructors’ standings.
At the previous race, it seemed like Daniel Ricciardo was finally getting the hang of his McLaren MCL35M, but the Styrian Grand Prix saw the Australian struggle against teammate Lando Norris again. Qualifying in 13th position, Ricciardo didn’t make up ground in the race and finished where he started.
It was looking like another strong opportunity for Williams and George Russell, qualifying in 11th place that was changed to 10th on the grid due to penalties up front, and running in a relatively comfortable 8th in the early stint. But a power unit issue meant a retirement for Russell and robbed him of another potential points’ finish. Thankfully, he could have another crack at it since we’ll be racing at the same circuit next week.
Formula One will be back at the same circuit next weekend for the ninth round of the season scheduled for July 4. While on paper we could have a similar result as the Styrian Grand Prix, there is a good chance of some surprises as teams apply their learnings from the previous race at the same circuit.
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