Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Red Bull Ring, 2021

How Verstappen was left without a rival in dominant Austrian GP win

2021 Austrian Grand Prix

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Following Max Verstappen’s Austrian Grand Prix win, Lewis Hamilton is now more than a win’s worth of points away from the championship lead for the first time since 2016, and only once has he overcome a deficit this large before to win the title.

In early 2016 he fell 43 points behind Mercedes team mate Nico Rosberg but turned it around, only for Rosberg to get 33 points clear at one point later in the season. That time he had a car capable of beating his main title rival; this time he’s not so sure.

“These past races have been difficult, and he’s pretty much just cruising ahead, so there’s not really much I can do about that,” Hamilton told RaceFans after finishing fourth, 46 seconds behind Verstappen in Austria.

Mercedes lose time behind Norris

According to his team principal Toto Wolff, Hamilton had the pace in his Mercedes to race against Verstappen through the first stint of the race. If that was the case, it likely would have taken away the Red Bull driver’s strategic freedom which allowed him to make a second pit stop late in the race to ensure he claimed the extra point for fastest lap and guard against the possibility of Baku-style tyre blowout.

Start, Red Bull Ring, 2021
Norris complicated the fight between the front-runners
But as demonstrated by that stop, it was Verstappen’s race from start to finish and beyond. He set an unmatchable pace on new and old tyres. He also showed his racing savvy twice in the first four laps by escaping McLaren’s Lando Norris and the McLaren’s higher top speed. Having scampered clear on the original start, he did the same after a early Safety Car restart two laps later, timing his getaway cannily to return to racing pace as late as possible so Norris’s slipstream advantage was reduced.

“I just had to be awake in the restart,” Verstappen said. “I had a little bit of a gap and I knew that if I could go past lap one, or the restart, I could do my own race. But you always have to do that first.”

From that restart to when he pitted on lap 32, he built an advantage of 29 seconds in 29 laps. That meant he could have pit before any of his chasing rivals and ‘undercut’ them without the worry of any time loss, given his lead was enough to still emerge in front. Instead he was the last of the lead quartet to replace his starting set of medium tyres for the more durable hards.

Analysis of the second stint stands up to Wolff’s claims, so much so that it could have actually changed the direction of the race were it not for a Mercedes strategy decision. From the time Verstappen exited the pits to when Valtteri Bottas (who would go on to finish second) was told to hold station behind team mate Hamilton 12 laps later, the gap between the leader and Bottas grew by just 1.4 seconds.

A combination of running in Hamilton’s dirty air and having to temporarily hold station behind his team mate lost Bottas a further three seconds. Once Bottas was allowed past his team mate there was little between him and Verstappen on pace. However those three seconds helped give Red Bull the confidence to commit to a second stop for Verstappen.

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Verstappen came in with 11 laps to go, was turned around quickly by Red Bull and completed the next lap with seven seconds in hand over Bottas. Had Mercedes freed Bottas earlier, would that second stop have occurred? A slow stop may have put Verstappen behind in that case, but with fresher tyres it’s likely he could have got past Bottas with little bother.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Red Bull Ring, 2021
Red Bull played it safe with second stop for Verstappen
So Bottas was no real threat to taking points away from Verstappen. But Horner revealed there was still concern the lead could be lost after a win went begging in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix after one of Verstappen’s rear tyres failed while he was leading.

“One stop, after Azerbaijan, when you’ve got a 25 second lead with a free pit stop – why take the risk?” said Horner.

Minor damage was spotted on one of Verstappen’s tyres after his pit stop, which was communicated to their driver. “We could see there was a small cut,” Horner explained. “It wasn’t significant, but it was enough to catch your attention.”

Damage delays Hamilton

Why didn’t Hamilton factor in these calculations? Around halfway through the race he incurred damage to his car which Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff estimated cost him 30 points of downforce which as well as sapping rear-end grip, and therefore lap time, also meant that the tyres were graining faster and needed Hamilton to drive slower too to take them to the end of the race. The team later estimated he lost as much as seven tenths of a second per lap because of the damage at the left-rear of his car.

In the end he opted to make a second stop instead, with enough of an advantage to fifth after getting passed for fourth by Norris to do so without losing a position, and his fresher tyres masked how much the damage was limiting his car’s pace.

But even before the damage, Hamilton was no rival to Verstappen. It took until lap 20 for him to pass Norris for second place, and while he did rapidly pull away from the McLaren driver after that, only on two laps did he actually get any closer to Verstappen and in total that was by less than a tenth of a second.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Red Bull Ring, 2021
Mercedes diagnosed damage on Hamilton’s car after his first pit stop
Shortly after his second stop he set his personal best lap, a 1’08.126. On the same lap Verstappen, despite 22-lap old tyres, was just 0.021s slower. Verstappen was faster on the in- and out-laps for their pit stops, underlining the fact this was a race where he had no rivals.

Because of that dominance, Sergio Perez didn’t have to be used by Red Bull as a strategic pawn. He started the race in the perfect position to serve as rear-gunner, ahead of both Mercedes, but within a few laps he was out of contention.

On lap four, the Safety Car restart lap, Perez tried overtaking Norris for second place around the outside of turn four. He ended up taking a trip through the gravel and dropping to 10th.

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Although Horner said even before the race was over that he considered the matter a racing incident, it didn’t stop Red Bull enquiring with Formula 1 race director Michael Masi if any action would be taken. It was – around 20 laps later – when Norris was hit with a five-second time penalty.

In Perez’s subsequent recovery he had two similar battles with Charles Leclerc where he also left the Ferrari driver little room at the exit of turns four and six, and the SF-21 ploughed the gravel. The Red Bull driver copped himself two five-second penalties as a result. On both occasions Ferrari also got in touch with Masi; Horner surmised that a precedent had been set by the original sanction for Perez.

Having to battle his way back up the order, Perez had to push hard on his mediums and as a result could take them no further than his team mate in clean air up front. Being unable to use his tyre management skills to good effect was hugely compromising because it meant when he did stop he dropped back into traffic. He lost a few tenths of a second on the stop too, forcing him to running behind McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo for much of the race.

Ricciardo salvages points finish

Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren, Red Bull Ring, 2021
After another tough Saturday, Ricciardo gained ground in the race
Ricciardo was comfortable on the hardest tyre – only the Ferrari and McLaren drivers ran on it during practice – and his top speed advantage also made it hard for Perez to progress. They started 10 positions apart, as Ricciardo qualified 13th, but finished in sixth and seventh after Perez’s penalties cos him fifth place, dropping him behind Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz Jnr.

Cooler conditions on race day, with track temperatures at around 35C, assisted Sainz’s strategy as he also qualified down the order. That gave him a free selection of starting tyre, and he opted for the hard with the intention of taking it as far as possible.

“Lower temperatures normally exposes you more to front graining. In this case, it would be negative for us,” he said pre-race.

“But also lower temperatures obviously means more grip at the rear, which could help our car balance and go the right way if there is no front graining.”

Sainz ‘played by eye’ and got it right with his tyre choice, with a car balance that allowed him to be incredibly consistent. Through a 10-lap segment in the first half of the race his lap times had a standard deviation of 0.096 seconds, a miniscule gap given how much pace can change when fighting other cars, and he took his tyres all the way to lap 48 before making his single stop.

After that stop he became the only driver other than Verstappen to lap sub-1’08, and that pace on low fuel was crucial to him snatching fifth by 0.771s from the penalised Perez. Ricciardo was another three seconds back.

“I was always in some battles, mostly defending,” admitted Ricciardo. “But it’s because we got a good start. I think two positions on the start, and then two on the restart. So we put ourselves in a good position.”

It was some redemption after qualifying so low while his team mate earned his maiden front row start on Saturday. Like Sainz, Ricciardo benefited from free tyre choice and started on a new set of mediums – saved from when he was running on the hards in practice.

“We at least put ourselves back in the fight. And I was trying to hold on to Perez, Charles, Carlos for as long as I could, and then probably the last eight laps started to run out of rear tyres.”

Ricciardo was helped at the end by Leclerc having his mirrors full of AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly, the highest-placed of the drivers who had committed to making two pit stops from the off. The AlphaTauri was one of the fastest cars over one lap, with Gasly trading fastest lap with Verstappen at times, but starting on the softest tyre meant he could only go 13 laps before pitting and that meant he spent a lot of time in traffic. His bursts of pace were the source of strategy regret rather than encouragement.

Alonso breaks Williams hearts

Fernando Alonso rued having his qualifying compromised by drivers slowing at the penultimate corner, believing he could have been in the top six rather than qualifying 14th, but he joined Ricciardo in being able to start on fresh rubber while most began on used sets.

George Russell, Williams, Red Bull Ring, 2021
Russell lost vital ground on lap one
He earned Alpine a point by managing his tyres while behind Williams’ George Russell through the second half of the grand prix, making sure there was enough life in them late on while Russell seemed to hit the point of no return with his rubber about 15 laps from the end and fell into the clutches of Alonso late on.

It took a few attempts, and lock-ups, before Alonso successfully made the move for 10th with four laps to go. Williams’ wait for their first point since 2019 goes on.

Yuki Tsunoda picked up penalties for crossing the line at the pit entry as he mirrored AlphaTauri team mate Gasly’s two-stop strategy, and finished 12th after Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen and Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel collided at turn five on the final lap while they eyed up Russell’s 11th place.

Vettel charged from 11th to fifth on used softs in the first 14 laps, but those tyres weren’t to last and he pitted soon after. He only briefly returned to the top 10 after that, as he had a repeat of qualifying where “it felt okay” in the car but the pace wasn’t consistently there for himself or team mate Lance Stroll, who inherited 13th following the crash.

Raikkonen climbed 10 places to sixth over the race’s first half, as the only driver other than Sainz to start on the hard, but the ‘overcut’ didn’t work in gaining places. However taking those tyres as long as he did enabled him to push harder after switching to mediums, particularly in the closing laps when every other driver around him was on the slower hard tyre.

In 14th was Raikkonen’s team mate Antonio Giovinazzi, whose race began with light contact with Esteban Ocon – enough to put the Alpine out of the race – and a pit stop at the end of lap two. That freed him of the medium tyre and meant he was on hards for the rest of the race. It was a decision made after rising temperatures on the grid suggested a one-stop would not be possible on the softer and faster-wearing tyres nominated for this weekend.

Nicholas Latifi finished almost a minute behind Williams team mate George Russell, but he did finish on the same lap as the five cars ahead of him. He finished the race one lap up on Haas duo Nikita Mazepin and Mick Schumacher, who like Latifi only had to worry about blue and yellow flags rather than any battles for position of their own.

Verstappen’s points lead swells

There were only crumbs of comfort for Mercedes after Red Bull’s sixth win from nine races, and Verstappen’s fifth. The track and tyre combination may not have suited the W12s, and Hamilton’s damage cost him another six points, yet their underlying pace was not uncompetitive.

Wolff put a positive spin on their latest defeat afterwards, pointing out Verstappen was “only a DNF” ahead of Hamilton in the points standings. But the inexorable growth in Verstappen’s lead is making him look more like a champion with every passing race. Mercedes must respond at Silverstone.

2021 Austrian Grand Prix

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Author information

Ida Wood
Often found in junior single-seater paddocks around Europe doing journalism and television commentary, or dabbling in teaching photography back in the UK. Currently based...

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46 comments on “How Verstappen was left without a rival in dominant Austrian GP win”

  1. Mercedes need to stop making these tiny strategic errors. As pointed out, there wasnt much between Bottas and Max pace in the second stint. Old school thinking to keep Bottas this long behind Lewis. And Lewis should have cleared Lando sooner. I still see a combination of an ever in strength increasing RedBull and Lewis and Mercedes still insufficiently adapting to the different race strategy needed now they actually have a fight on their hand. So, instead of focussing on ‘they must have a stronger package’ they should just shape up their own game.

    1. Yeah, but was Max cruising and matching Bottas pace or not?

      1. Max was absolutely cruising. He only needed one single take to secure fastest lap, 1m06s says it all.

    2. Yes, they are clearly unaccustomed to having a fight on their hands and keep making bad decisions. They are looking at others instead of focussing on themselves.

      Hamilton looked very ordinary behind Norris’ McLaren, you would think that Mercedes would have realised that their focus on high corner speeds at the expense of straight line performance is only worthwhile when you can be confident of a front row lockout? This is three weeks in a row where a high-downforce setup has cost them during the race.

      At Baku they were hesitant to run Hamilton in dragster mode, but when they changed his rear wing his weekend came alive. Same in Spain, the low drag setting was what allowed Hamilton to get past Verstappen while Bottas struggled.

      On top of that there have been plenty of strategy blunders (including indecision about how to treat Bottas yesterday), and endless whinging/lying to the media about what they are doing to the car, or what they suspect others are doing to theirs. None of this has done them any good at all.

      1. The thing is Hamilton is as much to blame as the team. A driver of his experience should be able to find a good setup and read the race, Hamilton has never been the sharpest pencil, Button wiped the floor with him in that department despite being slower.

        1. @Oliver21 Say what ? Button wiped the floor with Hamilton ? That’s a lie dude. Button was totally lost in 2012 and couldn’t fix it with his own set up and needed Hamilton’s set up to get back straight. Don’t spread false information here dude, just don’t, Button got totally decimated by Hamilton, was it not for all Hamilton’s point loss due the team were Lewis over 140 points in the 2012 season Button wouldn’t have never had more points than Hamilton.

          1. 2011 WDC: Button 2nd, 270 points, Hamilton 5th, 227 ponts
            Who got decimated here?

    3. Yeah. Funny how now that they have some real competition, Mercedes/HAM suddenly look like Ferrari/VET of 2017-2019, nothing being “perfect” anymore.

      1. @mg1982 This is only because of the FIA 2021 rule change that handicaps Mercedes low rake floor concept and benefits Red Bull’s high rake concept and nothing else.

    4. @Mayrton Easy talk from your chair dude. The FIA changed the 2021 rules to benefit high rake teams like Red Bull because Red Bull couldn’t close the gap to Mercedes and kept complaining and threatening to leave the sport if something would not change, so the FIA listened and gifted Red Bull this present. There is little Mercedes can do about it because of their low rake filosophy

      1. It was actually though the high rake teams would have been in trouble to seal the floor with the 2021 rules. Mercedes stopped development in 2020 early to focus on 2021. They were lulled asleep by the hampered RB-start of 2020 and the Honda that couldn’t get a vital update in 2020 that was planned for the 2nd engine.

  2. Mercedes must respond at Silverstone

    Spoken like a true fan

    1. Or spoken like someone who wants to watch good racing instead of the domination we’ve seen from Merc all these years, right?

      1. Like he called for all those years?

        The race report is basically a Hamilton story, and how the team must improve for him otherwise Verstappen will be champion. Quite blatant, even for RaceFans.

    2. Were the roles switched, I’m sure Elliot would have written the same sentence.
      The idea is to create a narrative conflict to keep the reader interested. For what we know, Elliot could be a Verstappen fan.

      You seem very critical of everything Lewis Hamilton related @balue. Is it me or are you on the edge every time his name is mentioned? And I write this in a genuine interrogative way: as myself an Hamilton supporter, I’d expect to read you cheering for Verstappen success instead.

      1. @x303 I’m sure not. It would never be, and has never been (as I’ve seen) ‘Red Bull must shape up, or (oh horror) Hamilton will be champion’.

        I’m very critical of bias, especially from an F1 site. It’s seriously unbecoming and unprofessional. RaceFans doesn’t much hide it, and has even made clear that just us commenters questioning Hamilton’s on-track moves will be met with counter-articles and how that’s motivated by ‘pathological hatred’ for example, and the articles are with a fan-based take like this one. It could – and really should – have been how Verstappen and Red Bull have done the unthinkable and switched roles to utterly dominate like historically happened at this race, but instead it’s predictably how Hamilton lost out and what he can do to get back on top.

        But it’s the same idea with you apparently. Everyone MUST be a fan of one or the other driver. This is what I don’t understand. Why not F1 fans? Why not balance and truth?

        1. Or worse. A very ugly word is promptly mentioned, with no justification whatsoever

          1. forgot to quote

            ‘pathological hatred’

  3. Keeping Bottas that long behind a slower Lewis almost resulted in Norris fighting Bottas. Embarrassing how Bottas was sacrificed twice this race. Earlier he had to give back the position he gained during the start of the race.
    Lewis again made lots of driver errors. Jumping over curbs multiple times, resulting in a damaged car.
    If they hadn’t slowed down Bottas. It would have been possible to use Lewis to put Verstappen under strategic limitations and a Bottas still in second place.
    RACE craft and strategy failed again at Mercedes.

    1. Lets address the lies you brought up one by one:

      “Earlier he had to give back the position he gained during the start”
      – Bottas overtook Hamilton at turn 3 when the latter attempted to dive inside Norris
      – Hamitlon OVERTOOK Bottas after Bottas locked up into turn 4 running bit wide & Hamilton sticking to racing line into turn 5/6 forcing Bottas on the inside to back off.

      “Lewis again made lots of driver errors”
      – Really? Do you have any footage as proof? I am pretty sure since he was top runner any mistake would be broadcasted by FOM. He run wide at turn 1, but at that point he already had the damage. Mercedes also proclaimed they arent aware of mistake that could have caused the damage (if it means anything for you).

      “If they hadnt slowed down Bottas…”
      – Bottas was in reality slowed down for possibly two laps. Only when he started to get close to DRS range (meaning until that he was racing Hamilton) he was told to hold position as Mercedes evaluated the situation & lap or two later Bottas was let through. Given that Hamilton is their sole chance of a shot for WDC this year the decision was rather quick & decisive if anything.
      – Moreover Norris never fell further than 4 sec behind Bottas showing his pace compared to Bottas was genuine & not a result of “being held by Hamilton”.
      – Furthermore, when Bottas took second place he was still within Verstappen pit window, the fact that Verstappen could afford a safe second pit stop tells you all you need to know about the “threat” Bottas posed to Verstappen.

      1. @Kotrba Well said. But Erikje is a Verstappen fan so of course he want to create fantasies about Lewis like all Max fans who are right now the most toxic fans

        1. Spoken like a true Lewis fan.

        2. He thinks he’s a tough guy when he’s not.

      2. Lots of lies indeed. Bottas locked up as a result of letting Lewis pass.
        Bottas was not allowed to race Lewis. When McLaren aired this Mercedes panicked and allowed Bottas to pass the way slower Lewis.
        The damage on Lewis car was because of the constant curb jumping I. E turn 10.( even acknowledged from the puts to warn Bottas for the same curb)
        Shown on world feed. So open your eyes and stop spreading lies.

        1. Bottas locked up as a result of letting Lewis pass. Bottas was not allowed to race Lewis. When McLaren aired this

          Where do you have this from? There’s nothing on the Bottas cam radio.

  4. Is anyone else concerned with the way Dutch fans behaved this weekend & the general trend that seems to occur with them?

    Is it still alright to produce such amounts of (orange) smoke? At points the track (at least the view of it from by-track cameras) was quite engulfed in it. I imagine the view from some stands must have been limited. Especially the fans at the stand in the twisty middle sector were the main producers of it.

    I certainly do not want this to turn into a anti-Verstappen thing, we have always had this with Ferrari at Monza – but that was once a year so it was kind of excusable/tolerable. It is that in general, I would not like to see F1 become a sort of football match with the negative atmosphere that tends to surround these. And that is the way I see it develops at the moment.

    1. Lewis that you?

    2. You think football matches have negative atmospheres? You’re welcome to your opinion of course but I think quite the opposite. I thought the atmosphere at the weekend was more carnival like and friendly. I just hope the British fans this weekend give the British drivers some decent support. Some red, white & blue smoke maybe ;) I’ve heard its pretty much a sell-out with around 140,000 on raceday?!

      1. “YOu thInk FOoTbAll MAtCHeS HaVe NegaTiVE ATMOSPHEres? YOU’re wElcOme to YOuR OPiNiON Of CourSe BUt I thINk quiTe ThE oppOsITe. I thOuGHt THe atMOsPHEre aT THE WEEkeND WAs moRe CaRNiVAL LIke anD FRiENDLy. i jUst hOPe tHe BriTish fans thIS WeekEnd GIVe THe brItIsh driVeRs SomE dECenT supPOrT. sOMe rEd, WhiTe & BLuE smoKe MAYBe ;) i’Ve HeaRD ITs PReTty MucH A SElL-Out wIth aROUND 140,000 on RaCedAY?!”

        Can’t hide from George, Nicholas, Lewis and Lando, huh? The latter three are looking for you…

    3. Promoting lies that some orange smoke (mostly after the race) were limiting people’s view of the race, and that there was ‘negative atmosphere’ created by the Verstappen fans that you have no basis of saying, and not comparing Ferrari at their home track with Red Bull at their home track, is clearly an anti-Verstappen thing.

      1. I am sorry if it sounded like that but was not really meant in that way.

        From TV coverage it really seemed to me they did it throughout the race. And to be honest it did not spring to my mind that there was an association between Red Bull home race & many fans wearing orange clothes & creating orange smoke (Dutch national color). Did the organizer hand the orange outfits to all the fans, or were it just Dutch fans wearing it?

        I did not claim there was negative atmosphere (for starters they had nothing to be negative about), just that the culture that resembled a football (national) match was seen during the weekend. You mention the visibility issue, were you at the race?? Can you say with certainty that fans which booked tickets to grandstands over Turn 1 had not limited view to Turns 4-5-6-7??

    4. ..and if ever I’ve seen hooligan behaviour at the track, it was the booing of Rosberg. Guess who stood for that..

      1. But the football-like culture is exactly that what leads to this kind of behaviour. I am not British but Hamilton fan & what I always praised on British crowds in Silverstone was how many actually were not Hamilton fans & their overall sportsmanship. I do not know who booed Rosberg, but I disrespect such people & would like to not see such actions on race weekends. So we are in agreement over that.

        1. We could argue that Hamilton is much more dividing person than Verstappen & thus unable to form such uniform support as does Verstappen now. But to me, it more seems to be the case of fans there being more open-minded about the whole sport with a healthy attitude to the sport & respect to drivers.

          And this is not some kind of British-fetishism from my side. I consider British football fans to be among the worst in the world & it has nothing to do with nationality but with the culture that has developed around the sport in that country.

          1. When you looked at the spectators you could see a very sporty behavior. They cheered for other drivers as enthousiast as for Verstappen. Especially Norris received a lot of positive reactions, as did Bottas.
            I am glad I did not join those cloud infested places though. Not my piece of cake.
            And as stated earlier, you never seem to have looked at Ferrari fans. Or the blinded Lewis fans, some even on this forum pollute the discussion.
            But they seem to feel some shame and lose their names :)

          2. You say yourself hooliganism is quite rooted in British sports culture, so there’s no real need to have at the Dutch for this. As erikje well said and we all heard, the orange crowd was gracious and cheering other competitors at the Red Bull Ring now.

            If anything, I have it out for fan hooliganism or unsportsmanlike fans, and by and large it’s quite one-sided as every forum, comment section and the Rosberg booing have showed, so I have the complete opposite view Hamilton fans than you. I have no worries with the orange crowd so far. I would have been much more concerned had it been closer in the championship now when we go to Silverstone.

    5. @Kotrba Couldn’t have said it better mate. These Max supporters are very toxic

    6. Hopefully you aren’t hinting that drivers should get a penalty for the behaviour of their fans, seeing how many penalties were dished out this weekend you never know!

  5. Promoting lies that some orange smoke (mostly after the race) were limiting people’s view of the race, and that there was ‘negative atmosphere’ created by the Verstappen fans that you have no basis of saying, and not comparing Ferrari at their home track with Red Bull at their home track, is clearly an anti-Verstappen thing.

  6. Let’s not ignore the fact that the FIA changed the 2021 rules to handicap Mercedes low rake floor concept and to benefit the outdated the high rake concept Red Bull’s uses to give them a chance to fight Mercedes, this championship is nothing engineered IMO.

    1. Dream on. If this is your spammed narrative to keep some hope. Be my guest. But do not confuse fiction with facts.

      1. Also he mentions nothing about the current engine regulations being engineered in favour of Mercedes in 2011 when they were drawn up, as they already had a 3 year head start developing such technology. And threatening to leave the sport in 2014 if the regs werent changed in their favour. Why on earth does anybody think Lewis made the decision to go to Merc in 2013 when he was already in a race winning car. Did he go visit a fortune teller in 2012……..

        So to call this years championship as being rigged is the biggest case of pot-kettle I have ever heard.

  7. F1oSaurus (@)
    5th July 2021, 14:41

    Indeed Hamilton put in a Verstappen like performance last weekend. Probably could have done better in quali and instead of cruising to bring the P2 home, randomly damaging the car and then dropping back places.

  8. A bit of cherrypicking going on. Yes, between lap 29 (1 lap before Bottas stop) and lap 46, the gap only grew 2 seconds. Like we’ve seen last week, RB seems to have turned around on tire wear, running similar pace to Merc, but can sustain it longer. From 46-59, the grap grew to 27 seconds and Verstappend could make a stop.

    Is Wolff instilling hope? I have no doubt Verstappen could have gone faster, but managed the pace a lot to match those behind, like he did in Baku. Even the C3 was trying to disassemble itself again.

  9. F1 IS BASICALLY down to this:

    One. Car/team always 10s os seconds ahead
    . Rest behind. It was merc for 7 yrs, this year its redbull.. simple as that.

    Some racing In the midfield, a consolation prize for those still mad enough about F1..

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