Event: French F1 Grand Prix
Track: Paul Ricard Circuit
Weather: dry 24.1°C
Tarmac: dry 33.8°C
Humidity : 68.0%
Wind : 1.1 m/s SE
Pressure: 961.0 bar
All cars got away clean from the start. Max Verstappen made small error in turn one and could make the corner. The Red Bull driver lost P1 to Lewis Hamilton and was able to hang on to P2.
The pitstops started in Lap 15. Charles Leclerc was the first to do his pitstop in the Ferrari. Valtteri Bottas who drove on P3 pitted in lap 17 for hard tyres. Max Verstappen did the same one lap later. It took 2.3s for the Red Bull team, while Mercedes did it in 2.5s for Bottas.
Race leader Lewis Hamilton tipped at the end of lap 19 for fresh tyres. The Mercedes team did a very good stop of only 2.2s. When Hamilton came out the pits he was just ahead of the Red Bull of Verstappen, but the Dutchman had a great out lap and took over the lead in turn 1.
Hamilton’s engineer told him on the radio he didn’t know what happened and Verstappen wasn’t able to extend his gap towards Verstappen after a few laps. The teammate of the Dutchman Sergio Perez was leading the race now.
Verstappen and Hamilton were giving it all and both title rivals had some stressful radio conversations with their team to help them. Both Mercedes drivers pushed all they could behind Verstappen, but they were not able to overtake Verstappen. At the end of lap 33 Red Bull Racing decided to do an extra pitstop and switch from hard to medium tyres. Verstappen returned to the track on P4, while Perez still was leading the race and did his first pitstop one lap later.
10 laps before the end Verstappen had passed Bottas for P2 and was now chasing down Hamilton for the win. Bottas’ tyres were finished at lap 46 and the Finn was only 1.3s behind him trying to get onto the podium.
Wit 5 laps to go the gap between Hamilton and Verstappen was 3.5s and Verstappen seemed to have had the best of the tyres. Hamilton also was having a hard time on his warn-out set of hard tyres.
Perez passed Bottas for P3 in lap 49. Verstappen was going for it and with 3 laps to go the Red Bull driver was only 1.9s behind Hamilton’s Mercedes. On lap 52 Verstappen was behind him in the DRS-zone passed Hamilton at the Mistral chicane for the lead and drove away.
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Classification 2021 French F1 GP
Fastest lap: 1:36.404 min by Max Verstappen in the Red Bull RB16 no. 33 in lap 35
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