Jenny Alderton looks at all the exciting racing action from July’s Styrian Race for Sports Obsessive.
A textbook weekend for Verstappen shows him further stamping his winning intention on this year’s Championship.
Off the line, Verstappen got a good start and converted pole into the race lead with Hamilton slipping into second. Norris got a great start from third and battled with Perez, keeping the Mexican at bay on the opening lap. Further back Gasly and Leclerc come together, the Alpha Tauri having to retire from the race and the Ferrari dropping to the back of the pack after having to pit. Consequently, many drivers move up a spot or two. Gasly and Leclerc having started sixth and seventh respectively. Raikkonen, Stroll and Ricciardo all make up good places on this opening lap. Ricciardo was looking particularly impressive having gained several places before a loss of power undoes all his hard work, and the Mclaren driver finds himself back where he started in thirteenth place.
Verstappen gradually pulls away from Hamilton and the Mercedes driver simply had no response for the speed of the Red Bull. Norris is inevitably caught by the faster cars of Perez and Bottas behind and put up very little fight when they pass him on laps ten and eleven. Mclaren was playing a longer game here: knowing they don’t have the pace to really fight with the Mercedes and Red Bull. Any attempt at battling these faster cars will ultimately wear down Norris’ tyres and leave him more vulnerable to attacks from the cars they are on a par with, namely the Ferrari’s. This leads to a little bit of a lonely race for Norris, not able to keep up with the top four, but faster than the rest.
There is little separating the midfield today with DRS trains forming and six to fifteenth being covered by ten seconds for most of the opening section of the race. Although there are lots of close running drivers there is very little movement in positions.
It is a one-stop race this afternoon, a slow pit stop for Perez sees him lose third place to Bottas. A big winner from the pit stops is Sainz who managed to jump a few other drivers and move up into the fifth position.
The post pit stop phase again sees close running in the midfield and DRS trains, as well as Verstappen convincingly leading over Hamilton up ahead. Perez pits for a fresh set of tyres to chase down Bottas in the closing laps, the strategy would have succeeded given another lap, as Perez was right on the tail of the Finn over the line on the final lap. The stand out performance in this part of the race was Charles Leclerc. Having pitted on lap one as a result of the collision with Gasly, he pitted again on lap thirty-nine giving him fresh tyres for the remaining twenty-two laps of the race. Leclerc came out in twelfth position and proceeded to chase down and overtake five cars to finish in the seventh position.
Up in front, Verstappen took the chequered flag in a race where he dominated from start to finish. Hamilton came in second with teammate Bottas just holding off Perez for third.
Red Bull: Another knock-out performance for the Red Bull team. Faultless performance from Verstappen saw him further stretch out his lead at the top of the driver’s championship. With the Red Bull car seemingly genuinely faster than its Mercedes rival, it is becoming more and more likely that this could be Verstappen’s year. Perez was so close to the podium today, another lap and he would have overtaken Bottas, but still a fourth is a good result and great points for the team.
Mercedes: Not a bad performance today, but the team don’t seem to have any answers for the pace of the Red Bull at the moment. Hamilton and Bottas both drove well today, but ultimately Verstappen was just much faster!
Mclaren: Mixed day for Mclaren. Another great race for Norris, again delivering the maximum potential for the car to come in fifth. Ricciardo was unlucky to have a loss of power in the race: having got a great start the Australian was one place behind Sainz (who finished sixth) and on the same strategy before suffering a loss of power. It looks like a mechanical issue cost him a good result today.
Ferrari: Good race for the prancing horses. After a not so great qualifying, and chaotic opening lap for Leclerc they pulled out sixth and seventh-place finishes. Sainz made his tyres work very well in the opening stint and managed to make up places in the pit stops. Unsure of whether to overlap himself, Sainz was caught for several laps behind Hamilton, who did let him pass ultimately. This time loss cost him a potential battle for fifth with Norris. Leclerc, after a collision and extra pitstop, stormed through the pack to come in seventh, great drive and great to watch! The team were able to work with a strategy that made the best from a bad qualifying session and they showed genuine race pace, especially as the race went on. The Ferrari vs Mclaren battle continues!
Aston Martin: Stroll had a good race, starting well saw him jump ahead of the DRS train and therefore not get held up within it. The Canadian ran in sixth for the opening stint and dropped to eighth after the pitstops all played out, losing out to the Ferraris who seemed to have a faster pace than the Aston Martin as the race went on. Vettel struggled stuck in the middle of the DRS train and not being able to really move into the points, the German came in twelfth.
Alpine: Alonso had another good race and seems to really be connecting with the Alpine car, the Spaniard finished in ninth place today. Teammate Ocon never seemed to really get into the race, a poor qualifying session saw him start seventeenth and the Frenchman never found decent pace in the race finishing fourteenth.
Alpha Tauri: With Gasly out of the race Tsunoda needed to bring home a good result. The Japanese driver got stuck in that DRS train throughout the race and came in tenth with the final point.
Alpha Romeo: Although just out of the points in eleventh Raikkonen had a stonking race making up seven places from the start. Giovinazzi however had a poor performance, not showing the same pace. The Italian finished in fifteenth place, he was tangled up a little in the opening lap mayhem so I wouldn’t be surprised if there was something slightly amiss with his car.
Williams: Very unlucky for Russell, after running in eighth place, holding his own with the likes of Alonso, Tsunoda and Sainz in arguably much faster cars, the Brit suffered a technical issue and had to retire from the race. The potential points finish, the first this season for Williams unfortunately, didn’t materialise. Latifi didn’t show the same pace and came in seventeenth, though like Giovinazzi he was involved a little with some early chaos, so, again, perhaps suffered damage on the opening lap.
Haas: Sixteenth for Mick Schumacher sees him finish ahead of a Williams, a good result for Haas this year. Teammate Mazepin came in last of the runners in eighteenth.
Styrian Grand Prix Race Results 2021
- Hamilton (Fastest Lap)
Austrian Grand Prix- We’re back at the Red Bull ring in back to back races next weekend! What can the teams learn from today’s race and take into next weekend?
Where to Watch
USA: Sunday 4th July Live on ESPN race start at 9:00 am EST
UK: Sunday 4th July Live on Sky Sports F1 race start at 2:00 pm GMT
Highlights on Sky One 6:00 PM and Channel Four 6:30 PM, Sunday 4th July.
Red Bull really could win this championship! Mercedes, for the first time in over seven years, is not the fastest car and this weekend really cemented how well the Red Bull team are performing.