Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen beat Mercedes-Benz AMG’s Lewis Hamilton by almost three seconds to claim victory on Sunday at a thrilling 2021 Formula One French Grand Prix, held at Circuit Paul Ricard.
Third place on the podium went to Red Bull’s other driver, Sergio Perez, who finished about nine seconds behind his teammate.
Verstappen started the race on pole but soon lost the lead to Hamilton on the exit of Turn 1 due to a bit of oversteer. Verstappen rejoined quickly and was eventually able to jump into the lead thanks to an undercut as both drivers stopped for fresh tires, with Verstappen going first on lap 18 and Hamilton one lap later.
2021 Formula One French Grand Prix
Then on lap 32, Red Bull took a risk and called Verstappen in again for fresh tires, in an attempt to emulate Hamilton’s successful two-stop strategy at the Spanish Grand Prix. Verstappen exited the pits at fourth, with Hamilton, fellow Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas, and Perez ahead.
Verstappen had about 20 laps left to charge to the front. His first real challenge was getting past Bottas on lap 44, which he managed at the inside through Les Signes. Then it was Hamilton’s turn to defend a pass by Verstappen. The Red Bull driver’s moment came on the penultimate lap, with a DRS-aided blast down the Mistral Straight and a quick pass on Turn 8.
Thanks to his latest win plus an extra point for setting the fastest lap, Verstappen’s lead in the 2021 Drivers’ Championship has extended to 131 points. Hamilton is second with 119 points and Perez is third with 84 points. In the Constructors’ Championship, Red Bull leads with 215 points versus the 178 of Mercedes and 110 of McLaren. The next race on the calendar is this coming weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix.
Max Verstappen at the 2021 Formula One French Grand Prix
Below are the full results from the 2021 Formula One French Grand Prix:
1) Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing
2) Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-Benz AMG +2.904 seconds
3) Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing +8.811 seconds
4) Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes-Benz AMG +14.618 seconds
5) Lando Norris, McLaren +64.032 seconds
6) Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren +75.857 seconds
7) Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri +76.596 seconds
8) Fernando Alonso, Alpine +77.695 seconds
9) Sebastian Vettel, Aston Martin +79.666 seconds
10) Lance Stroll, Aston Martin +91.946 seconds
11) Carlos Sainz, Ferrari +99.337 seconds
12) George Russell, Williams +1 lap
13) Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri +1 lap
14) Esteban Ocon, Alpine +1 lap
15) Antonio Giovinazzi, Alfa Romeo +1 lap
16) Charles Leclerc, Ferrari +1 lap
17) Kimi Raikkonen, Alfa Romeo +1 lap
18) Nicholas Latifi, Williams +1 lap
19) Mick Schumacher, Haas +1 lap
20) Nikita Mazepin, Haas +1 lap