Yesterday Max Verstappen was the fastest driver during qualifying. He starts today from pole position. Lewis Hamilton joins him on the front row. Behind it, Bottas and Pérez start from P3 and P4.
Max messes up the start
When the five red lights go out, Verstappen and Hamilton are both well off. Verstappen manages to keep the lead for a while, but then goes off the track at turn two. As a result, he has to let Hamilton in front and ensure that Bottas does not pass him. After that, Verstappen has to hunt for the lead again.
In the first phase of the race, the top three ride one behind the other in a train. Hamilton complains that his tires are dying. We’ve heard that from Lewis before, of course, but this time it’s true. He’s not the only one struggling to keep the rubber alive. It rained just before the race and it is now warmer than expected. As a result, the rubber wears out a lot faster than planned.
Tension around the pit stops
On lap 18, Bottas comes in for a pit stop to the hard tires. Verstappen does the same a lap later and can just keep the Mercedes behind. Hamilton comes in again one lap later. Verstappen is then just fast enough. As Hamilton exits the pit lane, Verstappen comes alongside to take the lead in the race.
Then Verstappen has to defend with all his might against the two Mercedes. For laps Hamilton sits right behind Verstappen’s diffuser. When Hamilton’s tires get a bit worse, Verstappen goes in for a second pit stop on lap 33. He picks up the medium tires and has to make up for a gap of more than 18 seconds.
Verstappen’s catch-up race
Verstappen then comes closer with two seconds per lap. Hamilton and Verstappen are on their own, because both radios are broken. On lap 44, Verstappen arrived at Bottas. He needs a little more than a lap to take over second. After that, Hamilton is the next target.
However, Hamilton appears to be on a different level. Hamilton manages to squeeze some pace out of his tires on his old tires. It seems to be too big a task for Verstappen. However, he is suddenly a lot faster. In the second-to-last lap, he passes the world champion. He takes the win in the heart-stopping French GP. Hamilton has to settle for second place. Pérez manages to pass Bottas for the last podium spot.
Result of the GP of France 2021
|11||Carlos Sainz Jr.|