Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Red Bull Ring, 2021

Verstappen’s first grand slam drives Hamilton’s points deficit to five-year high

2021 Austrian Grand Prix stats and facts

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With his 15th career win, Max Verstappen achieved a rare feat for the first time.

The Red Bull driver completed a clean sweep of setting pole position and fastest lap, and leading throughout the race on his way to victory. This was his first ‘grand slam’.

Underlining how uncommon this achievement is, Verstappen is only the 25th driver in the history of the sport to do it. Yesterday was the 1,044th round of the world championship, but only the 63rd to produce a ‘grand slam’ – just 6% of races have been won this way.

This is only the second grand slam since the reintroduction of the bonus point for fastest lap in 2019. On balance, this rules change has probably made it less likely drivers will achieve grand slams. While it has increased the incentive for the race leader to push for fastest lap, the same goes for the drivers behind them – and there are more of those.

Jim Clark holds the record for most grand slams with eight. Lewis Hamilton, who achieved the most recent grand slam prior to yesterday in the 2019 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, is next with six. Two other current drivers appear on the list: Sebastian Vettel with four and Fernando Alonso with one.

Sergio Perez, Red Bull, Red Bull Ring, 2021
Perez dressed appropriately for his team’s home race
Verstappen’s 15th win means he has as many victories as Jenson Button, while his seventh pole position puts him level with Jacques Laffite. He also recorded his 50th podium finish in his 128th start, on the day team mate Sergio Perez became the 19th driver in the sport’s history to compete in his 200th race. Daniel Ricciardo is due to become the 20th at the Belgian Grand Prix.

With his latest win, Verstappen can claim two unique feats. He is the only driver to win three races in as many weeks, and the only one to win races at the same venue in two consecutive weeks. Opportunities to equal this may be scarce once the schedule returns to normality, though there are three more ‘triple-headers’ on the 2021 F1 calendar.

Despite a fine qualifying performance by George Russell, Williams’ wait for their first point in almost two full years continues. Having missed the cut for Q3 by eight-thousandths of a second last week, he made it in by the even narrower margin of six-thousandths of a second this time, putting the team in the final 10 for the first time since the 2018 Italian Grand Prix. Eighth on the grid was their best starting position since Felipe Massa achieved the same at Suzuka in 2017.

For all that, Russell finished out of the points again, despite having spent a total of 83 laps inside the top 10 this year.

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On the flip-side, Lando Norris extended his points-scoring run with his third podium finish of the year, and fourth of his career. Just nine races into the season, he’s already racked up 101 points, more than he managed in either of his previous two campaigns of 21 and 17 races each.

Race review: Title beckons for Rosberg after Hamilton stumbles at Suzuka
The tide may be turning between the Ferrari drivers. For the fourth time in five races Charles Leclerc did not out-score Carlos Sainz Jnr, this time having been instructed to let him past. Sainz went on to claim fifth place, and moved within two points of his team mate in the championship, having been 20 points behind five races ago.

But the biggest development in the championship is surely that Hamilton has now fallen to 32 points behind Verstappen. This is his biggest deficit to a rival in the world championship since the 2016 Japanese Grand Prix, following which he trailled Nico Rosberg by 33.

Four races later Rosberg won the world championship in the season finale at Yas Marina. This year Hamilton has 14 races to fight back and more points-scoring opportunity due to the fastest lap point and sprint races. But, of course, the same is also true for his rival.

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Review the year so far in statistics here:

Have you spotted any other interesting stats and facts from the Austrian Grand Prix? Share them in the comments.

2021 Austrian Grand Prix

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Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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55 comments on “Verstappen’s first grand slam drives Hamilton’s points deficit to five-year high”

  1. The first front-row start for Mclaren since the 2012 Brazilian GP.

    The worst dry qualifying for Mercedes since the 2017 Singapore GP and without either in the top three.

    The first time Max has won three races in a row in F1.

    Norris’ podium finishes are all still only P3, which is starting to become a slight curse.

    The first non-3rd podium appearance for Bottas this season – also finishing higher than his teammate. The 2020 season-closing Abu Dhabi GP was the most recent race in which he finished higher than Hamilton.

    5th opening-lap DNF for Ocon in F1, the previous races were 2017 Brazilian, 2018 Azerbaijan, French, and Singapore GPs.

    BTW, the other opportunities for equalling the triple-header win feat this season may well go away depending on how the race calendar changes later, considering likely cancellations.

    1. Opportunities post-Spa/Zandvoort/Monza.

    2. Wow, verstappen would’ve had 5 consecutive wins if not for the tyre that gave up with 5 laps to go in baku, that’s quite a good potential streak already, not many got more than that, thinking of schumacher, vettel, ascari.

      1. And rosberg’s 7 from the end of 2015 to the start of 2016! Max might well match or beat that feat in the coming weeks!

    3. Sorry, clicked the wrong button first. Nothing to report!

      Except it is not the first but the second time this year that Bottas finished ahead of Hamilton, since Baku saw him finish 12th ahead of Lewis in 15th.
      It is the first time this year that Valtteri outscored Lewis though as no points are given for P12.

      1. @Bart My bad. I briefly forgot he finished higher in Baku, perhaps because of a meaningless position.

  2. Even if Mercedes do catch up at Silverstone next race, the most that can be expected, surely, is the same kind of to and fro of points and wins we saw in the first races of the season. There are some circuits still guaranteed for Red Bull. The rest could be under dispute, but a clear Mercedes advantage at a large number of the other circuits seems very unlikely. On that basis, even a 32 point gap would be a big ask. It’s going to take the unexpected to dislodge Max from the top.

    1. Should México and Brasil fall off the calendar the number of GP’S that are almost certainly for Max reduces quite worryingly. So it’s not over yet. I feel if Max wins Silverstone and Spa, and México and Brasil can be raced at, then Max has a clear path to the title. But I won’t bet on this yet.

      1. I just think Mercedes would have to commit a lot of resources to this year’s title challenge to make it just an even contest. And if they haven’t got a clear chance of winning – a less than 50% chance – is it really worth sacrificing those resources with 2022 looming? FIA decided to introduce changes this year that compromised Mercedes (and Aston Martin) far more. I think that’s a good motive for Mercedes to stop contesting seriously this year and let Max win the lot. It’s what FIA engineered so they should live with it.

        1. FIA decided to introduce changes this year that compromised Mercedes (and Aston Martin) far more. I think that’s a good motive for Mercedes to stop contesting seriously this year and let Max win the lot. It’s what FIA engineered so they should live with it.

          As we are still on the stats page.
          Is this the most amount of sour grapes in the comment section since the start of this site?

          I, for one, am looking forward to the rest of the season, whoever may win it in the end.

          1. Possibly :)
            But the situation is exceptional. Why should Mercedes invest precious resources tweaking a flawed design to make a show of this season when FIA changed the regulations, hitting low rake cars exceptionally, and put limits on any substantial changes, the year before even bigger (and longer lasting) changes are going to be introduced?
            I’m actually just hugely disappointed that was an even contest has become a walk in the park for Red Bull. And the self-congratulatory tone of Red Bull when their main rivals were basically knee-capped is somewhat annoying. None of that is against Max though who’s simply doing his job exceptionally well and, indeed, better than LH so far.

        2. @david-br You might be right about them committing a lot of resources just to become even with RBR, it is hard to say. I guess they’ll see what these upgrades bring for Silverstone. I’m not clear exactly how much the budgeting affects this, but I do have this feeling that both Mercedes and RBR are able to go on with their 2022 projects just fine, and neither will be sacrificing much.

          As to your assertion that FIA have engineered Mercedes demise this year, that is unfounded, and I would be shocked if after such a run Mercedes would just use that as a weak excuse to throw in the towel and concentrate on next year. That just isn’t how a dynasty thinks, or at least should think, and I would think if true LH/Mercedes fans should be disgusted. Non LH/Mercedes teams and fans have been told it is up to them to compete no matter, what for ‘the regs are the same for everyone’, so why should that now be different now that Mercedes is a bit on their hind foot? They had every opportunity to adjust to the new regs that were meant to not overburden the tires, and not meant to harm low rake cars.

          1. @robbie Adjusting the car adequately to this year’s regulations was a technical impossibility. It would demand expenditure and tokens that were simply unavailable. Whether the changes were made to hurt Mercedes and Aston Martin more deliberately, who knows? They must have had some idea of the likely effect. As for the rest, why shouldn’t Mercedes concentrate on next year instead? Plenty of teams do so. It’s a practical decision.

          2. In this case the teams are being told to step up, but just for a year. Bit like decorating your kitchen just before you have a new one fitted. Most of the backmarkers and Ferrari abandoned that idea a long while ago. And lets not kid ourselves, if RB had its usual gap to the Mercs, RB would be putting everything into next year. I expect the Merc may keep a few upgrades on the ready just in case, but if Max is .3 ahead come Silverstone then I see all resources going into 22.

          3. @david-br I just think it would be premature for Mercedes to throw in the towel now when there are so many points yet to be had, and I would be shocked if they did so soon. Surely they’ll need to wait and see the math disfavour them more than it does now. One dnf for Max and resultant win for LH and he’s right back in it. Will they not want to hang on to their run if at all possible? LH only has so many chances for a record 8th title.

            And regarding the new cars and putting ‘all their resources’ (be that whatever team) into those, I do wonder with how restrictive the regs are on them, and how evenly matched the pus will be, if there won’t be a stand out dominant car, and they’ll all be closer to each other. Of course I’m speculating because it is hard to get a feel for how much variance there might be in ideas for wings and diffusers all the while I believe the tunnels will all be quite similar as far as I understand. Certainly the underlying hope for Brawn is that the teams are closer to each other and the cars racing close together. Hey for all I know perhaps that is even more reason to put as much effort into the new cars as possible, if it will take a ton of work to make a slight differentiation from one’s competitors. Of course that’s always the case anyway.

          4. @david-br Mercedes ‘knee-capped’ is using the beauty of hindsight to suit your claim that this was by design. They had every chance to compete and adapt to the new floor regs as everyone, just as then we could also claim RBR were ‘knee-capped’ in 2014 but in a huge way, and they were expected to just put their noses to the grindstone compete, and they didn’t just throw in the towel and shrivel from competing. I’d like to think and as well I expect Mercedes has it in them to never give up, but of course I would understand if it becomes prudent at some point to focus on next year. That’s just not yet. And as soon as they do that RBR can too. If not sooner.

          5. @robbie I fail to see why Mercedes would put a lot of resources on this year’s car. With the budget cap, they can’t fight both 2021 and 2022 front. Mind you, Ferrari – the team that earns the most money from the FOM – has switched completely its focus on next year’s car.
            For those reasons, and their record of in season development, I think RB advantage is enough to secure both championships this year. You can enjoy the rest of the season, seeing Verstappen winning most of the remaining races and lifting the trophie at the end of the year. ;)

          6. @robbie The evidence is clear in lap times that Mercedes lost most heavily this year. For a combination of technical reasons – Mercedes’ rear suspension design, the restrictions on car modifications, aero restrictions, etc. – they just couldn’t regain the same rear downforce. So it definitely was not a level playing field. You keep suggesting I’m saying it was on purpose. I’ve said, who knows? From what I read, it was more a case of the changes being made to impact as many teams as equally as possible (only two out of ten with the low rake design). The point is that this effect was generated. I don’t get the issue in admitting that. Nor why you think Mercedes fans would be outraged if they refocus on next year. It makes a lot more sense if they have little or no chance of beating Red Bull. The only advantage is maybe suggesting they could still be a threat in order to get Red Bull to focus their attention on this year still.

          7. @x303 I’m certainly not convinced Mercedes thinks the same thing as you, and will certainly be surprised if that is already their attitude.

            @david-br Yes you have insinuated it was intentional. And why I think fans should be outraged if they throw in the towel now is because there are so many points yet to fight for with so much at stake and anything can happen. I really don’t get the defeatist attitude coming off a 7 year dynasty run, and it’s quite sad coming from posters such as yourself and I am not convinced whatsoever Mercedes would back you on yours and others attitude. Maybe with 5 races to go depending on the lay of the land then, but now? No way. That would be a slap in the face to their fans, to all fans, and to Liberty and FIA. But like I say, if they want to turn tail and run and hide, that just means embarrassment to them and opens the door for RBR to switch focus to the new car too.

          8. @robbie I think you’re seriously confusing the situation. In any normal year, yes, Mercedes should still compete hard for this year’s WCC and WDC titles. But at the cost of starting badly under the new regulations in 2022? That doesn’t seem a good idea. It depends on how the Silverstone upgrade works. If that puts them back in serious contention, then sure, they should stick in the title race. They may have enough resources to do both. We’ll see.

          9. @david-br I don’t think I’m confusing the situation at all. It’s like you’re convinced Mercedes fighting hard this year equals starting badly next year. Like that’s a guarantee. Like they can’t do both. Since when can’t they do both? I assume you also think RBR fighting for the Championships this year guarantees they’ll be on their hind foot next year? I think it is more likely they were both prepared to have to fight this year while considering next year at the same time. Would you say both Merc and RBR have already risked Ferrari having the upper edge since they’ve already said they’re on to next year’s car? It gets to where it’s splitting hairs, no?

            Like I say it’s neither here nor there. If Mercedes cedes to RBR very early, with tons of points to go, shame on them, but all they’ll do is allow RBR to focus on next year’s car too. I advise the more honourable thing for them to do is keep fighting for now, and only switch focus when it is mathematically prudent. That’s not yet. As well, they are all already working on next years cars in the background anyway. It’s not like they flip a switch and turn off this year’s car work and turn towards next year’s like it’s been sitting collecting dust waiting back at the factory. I doubt there will be much difference at all when it comes down to it as to the amount of attention Merc and RBR will give next year’s car.

          10. @robbie – I hope you’re aware there is actually a budget cap this year as well as other restrictions (tokens, homologated PUs, wind tunnel and CFD limits etc)? And these/similar restrictions will also apply next year. If anything, the budget cap will reduce if I recall correctly. How do you expect Mercedes to fight back without running afoul of these? I must hasten to say that I am fully aware that there have been restrictions and changes in the past including major ones during this era which benefited Mercedes and kneecapped its rivals. All I’m saying is these are facts just as those were.

          11. Emma I expect Mercedes to keep fighting within the factual parameters of F1 just as all teams have to. I don’t expect them to sulk and fold with tons of points to be had. If that’s what they choose to do, which I’ll be surprised at, shame on them and it won’t automatically put them at an advantage for next year anyway.

          12. @robbie Mercedes are hardly likely to ‘sulk’! They’ll take a pragmatic decision on what resources to invest for this year or next, entirely professional as you’re suggesting. Given that other teams have already switched to 2022, it’s a serious decision to take on how much should be spent in time and resources playing catch up to Red Bull this year. My feeling is that for every investment Mercedes make, RBR can make a smaller fraction of investment and still keep ahead. If that’s the case, then it does make little sense for MB to commit valuable resources to 2021. But we’ll only know after the next few races. I’m sure if they feel they can make a real fight of the title still, they will do.

          13. @david-br Fair comment. A lot better than your above ‘let Max win the lot.’ Personally I’m still waiting for the potential ‘other shoe to drop’ and am not assuming anything yet about Max continuing to dominate and Mercedes continuing to lag. For me the Mercedes dynasty has earned them that kind of respect that they could find some things yet to counter RBR. Of course I want Max to win, and if he ends up dominating so be it for obviously that can happen as we well know, but I am nowhere near assuming Max will dominate akin to how LH has dominated some seasons including last year.

            One race at a time.

          14. Dave (@davewillisporter)
            6th July 2021, 17:11

            @david-br @robbie couple of things that may help. Somebody with an inside track at Redbull states that RB have 20% of their factory working on this year’s car and currently intend to continue until the end of season. (Missed Apex podcast) and it was either Shov or James Allison who stated that the returns for developing the Mercedes this year are very small as it has almost reached the limit of development without a major change, which they will not be wasting resources on at the expense of 2022.
            It’s not really a choice for Mercedes as the low rake can’t be improved much without major changes. It’s a no brainer for Redbull as they can make small tweaks that continually improve the car without a major change.
            That said, I wouldn’t judge this small upgrade Mercedes will bring to Silverstone too quickly. They will only have an hour to check it out and tweak it before qualifying. That’s nowhere near enough time to maximise its potential. If they aren’t back to matching Redbull by Hungary I’d say its Redbull dominance this year.

          15. @davewillisporter Good stuff. Thanks for chiming in.

          16. @davewillisporter Thanks Dave, confirms what I imagined the situation to be (and had heard described elsewhere), including the question of the different return of development on this year’s car for the respective teams. Good point about Mercedes probably needing time to maximize their Silverstone upgrade.

        3. I just think Mercedes would have to commit a lot of resources to this year’s title challenge

          They already did that. It was the first team to stop developing the 2020 car and put all their efforts in the 2021 car. So they had the longest development path of all teams available.
          When Red Bull/Max won the last race in 2020 it became clear the current RBR car was almost on par with the merc.
          It looks they are making the same mistake again. But now RBR is on par from the start (as they should have been for years)

    2. Ha, do not think so. HAM is a 7-time WDC, miles better than VET, the GOAT, this Mercedes is at least as good as the Ferraris VET raced between 2017-2019… so the big wonder would be if he doesn’t win the champ or at least push it to the last race.

      1. @mg1982 I see it more as a reversal of recent years with Hamilton in Verstappen’s position of chasing second place most of the time. However, that may indeed be unduly pessimistic.

        1. @x303 Regarding Ferrari, not anymore AFAIA. The money distribution became fairer, so Ferrari lost their special bonus in the process.

  3. Jonathan Parkin
    5th July 2021, 16:35

    Max is also currently on 144 consecutive laps in the lead. He needs 13 more to beat Alain Prosts 156 and move into the top ten

    1. A very interesting stat, schumacher is only 26th with I think 2 full races led early 1994, which is considered one of his best seasons, interesting is also verstappen has the same amount as hamilton in this stat!

      17 HAMILTON Lewis Spain 2019 – Monaco 2019 144
      18 VERSTAPPEN Max France 2021 – Austria 2021 144

      Ascari 305 laps in a row, really impressive, but then again, I’m not the one who leaves him out of top 10 rankings regularly, best italian driver ever!

      1. @esploratore1 Remember that Schumacher mostly competed during the refuelling era, when it was much harder to lead from lights to flag due to the need for more and longer pit stops.

    2. Oh, noticed now that it counts multiple streaks from people, so schumacher’s best is 22th, also senna unsurprisingly given his qualifying form and race speed is very much ahead with 264 and 237 laps in a row, in 2nd and 3rd place.

  4. Two other current drivers appear on the list: Sebastian Vettel with four and Fernando Alonso with one

    There’s a good quiz question. When was Fernando Alonso’s only grand slam victory? My best guess would be Singapore 2010, although I’m not sure if he got the fastest lap that day.

    1. Jonathan Parkin
      5th July 2021, 18:14

      You are correct it is Singapore 2010

    2. Yes that was it. In fact he snatched pole after everyone failed at the second attempt of Q3 and then he had Vettel glued to his diffuser which also made it difficult for him to claim f.lap. The irony being that a grand slam virtually means a commanding victory but Alonso’s win was anything but.

      1. Yes, actually this isn’t the only case in which it happened, example schumacher got some of his grand slams with benetton, you’d expect more in the ferrari dominant years, and hamilton got grand slams during competitive seasons with ferrari, not so much in the merc dominant years.

  5. “Verstappen is the only driver to win three races in as many weeks.”: Wow
    “15th win, 7th pole, 50th podium”: World champion stats, by the way

    1. Yes, not sure if you noticed but there was a big verstappen detractor saying he’s like coulthard cause of having similar wins etc., like I said verstappen is anything but coulthard!

  6. Apparently the Orange crowds worth the risk, they might be spending a lot of money with F1. Jokes apart even Todt wasn’t embarrassed to speak out loud the Mercedes supremacy wouldn’t be good for the sport, so I don’t think even a boycott would bother them.

  7. Sean Carlson
    5th July 2021, 18:42

    Random comment- Top 5 drivers of the year thus far.

    1. Norris
    2. Russell
    3. Verstappen
    4. Gasly
    5. Sainz

    Reply moderated
    1. Disagree with Russell, still a Saturday driver. Would put Leclerc there

      1. And if we discount the first few races, I would put Alonso instead of Gasly

    2. Yeah, VER on 3 seems right. Leading the championship from 100 times winner Lewis. Winning 3 in a row. Cant see what he could have done better but ofcourse the UK guys are slightly better

      1. Don’t forget if it wasn’t for Baku he would have been on the podium 9 times out of 9 races with none in 3rd place.

  8. It’s beginning to get a bit marginal, but mathematically Nikita Mazepin can still be World Drivers Champion this year :-)

  9. Verstappen’s 15th win and 50th podium – both equal to Jenson Button’s career totals.

    2nd consecutive year in which Norris has finished 3rd in the Austrian GP and 5th in the Styrian GP.

    1. @paulgilb Wow, that’s very telling.

  10. Wim Geeraets
    6th July 2021, 0:12

    Verstappen the youngest by more than two years to get to 50 podiums in F1 ….

    Max Verstappen: 23 years, 277 days
    Sebastian Vettel: 25 years, 327 days
    Fernando Alonso: 27 years, 61 days
    Lewis Hamilton: 28 years, 76 days
    Michael Schumacher: 28 years, 163 days
    Kimi Raikkonen: 28 years, 172 days

    Reply moderated
    1. Very interesting and amazing stat certainly if you consider in the Hybrid era more often than not there basically was only 1 podium place available for the remainder 18 competitors.
      Than a few more podiums likely got stolen by the cheating Ferrari engine.

      Also bit crazy that a 23 year old is already in his 7th F1 season.
      Verstappen won 15 times, 2nd 20 times, 3rd 15 times and just off the podium in 4th 14 times.

      In the category “Youngest” he is also the youngest F1 driver to achieve a grand slam.

      1. Verstappen started at 16 right? So he has had 6 years top flight experience? Considering his rate of development will be a long time till we see another talent like him and I fully expect him to destroy the field this year.

        Just a pity on the nature of how it’s unfolded, with FIA changes etc. Taking nothing from Max, made very few mistakes and has had bad luck but when he’s been on it he has been brilliant.

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