Grand Prix race results: Verstappen wins F1 French GP

Max Verstappen won the French Grand Prix at Paul Ricard for Red Bull Racing on Sunday, the seventh race of the 2021 Formula 1 World Championship season, after a thrilling dice with Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes.

Hamilton was initially gifted the lead at the second corner, as Verstappen overshot Turn 1 and had to cut inside the apex of Turn 2. But Verstappen regained the lead when he undercut Hamilton in the pitstop sequence.

Verstappen gave up the lead once more, when he opted for a second pitstop and Hamilton stayed out. He relentless chased down Hamilton, passing him to take the win on the penultimate lap.

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2021 F1 French Grand Prix race results

Cla Driver Chassis Laps Time Interval
1 Netherlands Max Verstappen Red Bull 53 -  
2 United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 53 2.904 2.904
3 Mexico Sergio Perez Red Bull 53 8.811 5.907
4 Finland Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 53 14.618 5.807
5 United Kingdom Lando Norris McLaren 53 1'04.032 49.414
6 Australia Daniel Ricciardo McLaren 53 1'15.857 11.825
7 France Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri 53 1'16.596 0.739
8 Spain Fernando Alonso Alpine 53 1'17.695 1.099
9 Germany Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin 53 1'19.666 1.971
10 Canada Lance Stroll Aston Martin 53 1'31.946 12.280
11 Spain Carlos Sainz Jr. Ferrari 53 1'39.337 7.391
12 United Kingdom George Russell Williams 52 1 lap  
13 Japan Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri 52 1 lap  
14 France Esteban Ocon Alpine 52 1 lap  
15 Italy Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo 52 1 lap  
16 Monaco Charles Leclerc Ferrari 52 1 lap  
17 Finland Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo 52 1 lap  
18 Canada Nicholas Latifi Williams 52 1 lap  
19 Germany Mick Schumacher Haas 52 1 lap  
20 Russian Federation Nikita Mazepin Haas 52 1 lap  

How the F1 French Grand Prix unfolded

From pole position, Verstappen led Hamilton until the first corner where Max overshot, which meant he cut the inside of Turn 2, and allowed Lewis to grab the lead. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) held third place, ahead of Sergio Perez (Red Bull), Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) and Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri).

Behind Ferrari’s seventh-placed Charles Leclerc, McLaren duo Daniel Ricciardo and Lando Norris passed Fernando Alonso’s Alpine on Lap 11 to run eighth and ninth. Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel, who passed Alonso’s teammate Esteban Ocon early on, also overtook Alonso two laps later.

Ricciardo sliced past Leclerc on Lap 14, the Ferrari then diving for the pits to switch from medium tyres to hards. This undercut put him ahead of Ricciardo, who himself proved the power of the undercut by getting ahead of both Sainz and Gasly.

At the front, Bottas pitted first on Lap 18 which triggered Verstappen (who had dropped 3s behind Hamilton) into responding on the next lap. Hamilton pitted on the following tour and seemed surprised when Verstappen was able to pass him going into Turn 1, Red Bull’s team leader taking full advantage of the undercut to retake the lead he’d lost in the opening seconds of the race.

Hamilton was in DRS range of Verstappen straight after the pitstop cycle and also had Bottas right behind as the top three ran nose to tail when the race hit half distance. Perez ran long and led for a few laps before rejoining in a distant fourth.

Verstappen pitted for a second time on Lap 32, switching back to mediums. He rejoined in fourth, Perez quickly letting him by into third, with Verstappen catching leader Hamilton by 2s per lap to begin with.

Verstappen caught Bottas with 10 laps remaining, Hamilton having extended his lead to over 4s. Verstappen passed Bottas at Signes on Lap 44, but was 5s behind Hamilton.

As Verstappen closed on Hamilton – running 3s behind with five laps remaining – Perez caught Bottas, passing him with four laps to go for the final spot on the podium.

The battle for the win was decided in the very closing stages, Verstappen passing Hamilton at the chicane with less than two laps remaining.

The McLarens won the battle for best of the rest, Norris passing Ricciardo for fifth. Gasly was seventh, ahead of Alonso and the two Aston Martins of Sebastian Vettel and Lance Stroll, who both started on hard tyres.

2021 F1 French Grand Prix fastest laps

Cla Driver Laps Time Gap Interval km/h
1 Netherlands Max Verstappen 35 1'36.404     218.156
2 Mexico Sergio Perez 53 1'36.693 0.289 0.289 217.504
3 Finland Valtteri Bottas 19 1'36.960 0.556 0.267 216.905
4 Germany Sebastian Vettel 52 1'37.138 0.734 0.178 216.508
5 United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton 44 1'37.410 1.006 0.272 215.903
6 United Kingdom Lando Norris 52 1'37.425 1.021 0.015 215.870
7 Spain Fernando Alonso 44 1'37.646 1.242 0.221 215.382
8 Monaco Charles Leclerc 43 1'37.681 1.277 0.035 215.304
9 Canada Lance Stroll 44 1'37.828 1.424 0.147 214.981
10 Finland Kimi Raikkonen 46 1'37.992 1.588 0.164 214.621
11 France Pierre Gasly 44 1'38.103 1.699 0.111 214.378
12 Canada Nicholas Latifi 50 1'38.313 1.909 0.210 213.920
13 United Kingdom George Russell 52 1'38.314 1.910 0.001 213.918
14 Australia Daniel Ricciardo 45 1'38.324 1.920 0.010 213.896
15 France Esteban Ocon 33 1'38.645 2.241 0.321 213.200
16 Italy Antonio Giovinazzi 36 1'38.702 2.298 0.057 213.077
17 Germany Mick Schumacher 51 1'38.847 2.443 0.145 212.765
18 Spain Carlos Sainz Jr. 19 1'38.931 2.527 0.084 212.584
19 Japan Yuki Tsunoda 18 1'38.980 2.576 0.049 212.479
20 Russian Federation Nikita Mazepin 34 1'39.317 2.913 0.337 211.758

2021 F1 French Grand Prix tyre history

Cla Driver Chassis 1 2 3
1 Netherlands Max Verstappen Red Bull M 21 H 14 M 24
2 United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton Mercedes M 22 H 34    
3 Mexico Sergio Perez Red Bull M 27 H 29    
4 Finland Valtteri Bottas Mercedes M 20 H 36    
5 United Kingdom Lando Norris McLaren M 29 H 29    
6 Australia Daniel Ricciardo McLaren M 21 H 37    
7 France Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri M 22 H 36    
8 Spain Fernando Alonso Alpine M 21 H 35    
9 Germany Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin H 37 M 19    
10 Canada Lance Stroll Aston Martin H 34 M 19    
11 Spain Carlos Sainz Jr. Ferrari M 20 H 36    
12 United Kingdom George Russell Williams M 17 H 35    
13 Japan Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri M 15 H 37    
14 France Esteban Ocon Alpine H 28 M 27    
15 Italy Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo H 28 M 24    
16 Monaco Charles Leclerc Ferrari M 17 H 24 M 17
17 Finland Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo H 33 M 19    
18 Canada Nicholas Latifi Williams M 18 H 34    
19 Germany Mick Schumacher Haas M 15 H 37    
20 Russian Federation Nikita Mazepin Haas H 31 M 21    
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