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SPIELBERG, AUSTRIA – JULY 04: Race winner Max Verstappen of Netherlands and Red Bull Racing celebrates on the podium during the F1 Grand Prix of Austria at Red Bull Ring on July 04, 2021 in Spielberg, Austria. (Photo : Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)
There is just no stopping Max Verstappen right now. The Dutchman cruised to his fourth win in five races with a dominant display at the Austrian Grand Prix.
Verstappen led from start to finish for the second race running at Red Bull Ring to extend his lead over Lewis Hamilton in the Formula One Driver’s Championship to 32 points.
Verstappen finished the 71-lap race with a time of 1:23:54.543 as he captured his fourth career victory at Red Bull’s home track. Coming in second was Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas, who trailed Verstappen by 17.3 seconds. McLaren’s Lando Norris, who started the race in second, finished in third place as he picked up his second podium of the 2021 season.
Rounding out the top 10 were Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton, Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz, Red Bull Racing Honda’s Sergio Perez, McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo, Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly, and Alpine Renault’s Fernando Alonso.
Verstappen completes trifecta in Austria
All eyes were on Verstappen as he looked to cement his grip in the title race in front of a pro-Red Bull crowd. He did just that, recording the first-ever “grand slam weekend” of his career, grabbing pole position, fastest lap, and the victory in the Austrian Grand Prix. Such was his dominance in the race that he was able to take an extra pit stop with ten laps remaining to grab the all-important extra point for the fastest lap.
His teammate Sergio Perez had an eventful day on the race track as he was involved in three separate penalties for overtaking. During the opening lap, Norris was given a five-second penalty for forcing Perez off-track. Perez, however, would be penalized for the same infraction twice with Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, the aggrieved party on both occasions.
As a result, Perez, who crossed the line in P5, was classified as P6 due to his two five-second penalties. That was crucial for Carlos Sainz, who leapfrogged to P5 after a late charge that saw him overtake McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo. That has major implications in the Constructor’s Championship, with Ferrari limiting the damage and trailing McLaren by just 19 points heading into the next race at Silverstone.
George Russell came so close to recording his first-ever point for Williams, but the Briton was overtaken near the end by Alonso for 10th place. There was drama further back as former champions Kimi Raikkonen (Alfa Romeo) and Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin) collided with each other on the final lap as they hunted down Russell.
Hamilton struggles once again as championship hopes fade
The Briton who was the talk of the town yesterday, though, was seven-time world champion, Lewis Hamilton. He lost further ground in the title race after finishing outside the podium in fourth. Hamilton had difficulty moving up at the start, only overtaking Norris after 20 laps.
His race disintegrated shortly after that as his car picked up aerodynamic damage by running over exit kerbs. That slowed Hamilton’s progress, allowing Mercedes teammate Bottas and Norris to get past him in the race.
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