F1 French GP 2021: Max Verstappen pips Lewis Hamilton to win French GP, Perez finishes 3rd – With two laps to go, Max Verstappen retook the lead from Lewis Hamilton, who was on older tyres to win the French GP. Hamilton took the lead from pole-sitter Max Verstappen, who led into turn one but lost it in the second turn. Lewis Hamilton took the advantage of the mistake by Verstappen and take the race lead. Hamilton now leads by 1.5sec but Verstappen has just set the fastest lap.
Red Bull took their third consecutive win of the season at a cracking French Grand Prix courtesy of Max Verstappen, who passed Lewis Hamilton with two laps to go to claim the thirteenth victory of his career, Hamilton finishing second as the second Red Bull of Sergio Perez completed the podium.
In a mirror of the Spanish Grand Prix – when Mercedes out-strategised Red Bull to claim the victory – Verstappen stopped twice to Hamilton’s one-stop, with the Dutchman then using his fresher tyres to close up to the Mercedes, passing on Lap 52 of 53 to check out for his third win of the year.
It more than made up for Verstappen losing out to Hamilton from pole at the race start, Verstappen taking the win as well as the extra point for fastest lap – with the result also marking the first time Red Bull have won three races on the bounce in the turbo-hybrid era.
Behind, Valtteri Bottas ended up a disgruntled fourth behind Perez, having complained to Mercedes that he was ignored when he advised them to switch to a two-stop, as Red Bull did with Verstappen.
|1 Max VERSTAPPEN Red Bull Racing||1:27:25.770|
|2 Lewis HAMILTON Mercedes||+2.904s|
|3 Sergio PEREZ Red Bull Racing||+8.811s|
|4 Valtteri BOTTAS Mercedes||+14.618s|
|5 Lando NORRIS McLaren||+64.032s|
Behind the leading four, a superb day for McLaren saw Lando Norris finish a fine fifth, ahead of team mate Daniel Ricciardo, who enjoyed arguably his best race of the year to take sixth.
AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly demonstrated strong race pace to take his best ever finish in his home Grand Prix with P7, ahead of the Alpine of Fernando Alonso.
Sebastian Vettel made a long first stint work to take his third consecutive points finish with ninth, while team mate Lance Stroll completed the top 10 thanks to a late pass on the Ferrari of Carlos Sainz – capping off a bad day for the Scuderia, who lacked race pace at Paul Ricard, with Sainz ending up 11th as Leclerc could do no better than P16.
But after a thriller of a French Grand Prix, it was all about Verstappen, who took an decisive strike at the start of the first triple header of what’s turning into a phenomenal 2021 season, extending his lead over Hamilton in the drivers’ standings to 12 points.
F1 French GP 2021 Highlights:
Chequered Flag: Red Bull’s Max Verstappen wins the French GP, Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton finishes 2nd, Red Bull’s Sergio Perez finishes 3rd.
Lap 52/53: Max Verstappen snatches lead back from Lewis Hamilton with DRS.
Lap 49/53: Sergio Perez moves into 3rd place, overtakes Bottas with DRS wide open.
Lap 47/53: Sergio Perez closing in on Bottas, half a second behind.
Lap 46/53: Vettel moves into 9th place, two ahead of teammate Lance Stroll.
Lap 44/53: Max overtakes Bottas in a wheel-to-wheel battle, closing in on Hamilton
Lap 42/53: Max Verstappen 1.4 seconds behind Bottas at 2nd, 4.9 seconds behind Hamilton as he closes on.
Lap 40/53: Charles Leclerc comes for his 2nd pit stop.
Lap 39/53: Vettel finally comes for his 1st pit.
Lap 38/53: Verstappen on fresh medium tires moves to 3rd, a second faster than Hamilton currently.
Lap 35/53: Lance Stroll comes in for his first pit as Vettel stays out. Meanwhile, Lando Norris is up to 6th, 4.3 seconds behind Vettel.
Lap 34/53: Sebastian Vettel moves up to 5th but he is yet to pit. Ferrari continues to struggle. Sainz is currently 9th while Leclerc 12th.
Lap 33/53: Max Verstappen comes in for 2nd pit stop while Lewis Hamilton retakes lead.
F1 French GP 2021 Live: Preview
It will once again be Red Bull vs Mercedes as Max Verstappen takes the pole position with Lewis Hamilton at second in the French Grand Prix 2021 on Sunday. The race will fend off title rivalry between the two drivers.
Mercedes and Hamilton will start as favourites, given their track record in France. The French track, which returned to the calendar in 2018, has traditionally been a Mercedes stronghold, with Hamilton taking pole and victory in each edition.
But this time Red Bull got the better of Mercedes in the qualifiers. Verstappen set the early pace in Q3, four-tenths of a second quicker than Hamilton, but things heated up in the second runs as Hamilton went quickest in the first sector. Verstappen responded with a purple second and final sector to better his time and take his second pole of the season.
Hamilton slotted into second, alongside the Dutchman, with Valtteri Bottas taking third as Mercedes confirmed a bounce back in performance after two very difficult weekends in Monaco and Azerbaijan.
|1 Max VERSTAPPEN Red Bull Racing||1:29.990|
|2 Lewis HAMILTON Mercedes||1:30.248|
|3 Valtteri BOTTAS Mercedes||1:30.376|
|4 Sergio PEREZ Red Bull Racing||1:30.445|
|5 Carlos SAINZ Ferrari||1:30.840|