Verstappen takes easy victory, unfazed by midfield battles

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While Max Verstappen took an easy back-to-back victory at the Red Bull Racing, battling behind him was quite intense. Valtteri Bottas finished second as Lando Norris completed the podium after another strong drive for McLaren.

Just like in the week before, the start and Turn 1 proved to be fairly straight forward, but it was again in Turn 3 where things were very tight. There weren't any position changes at the front with all drivers in the top 7 maintaining their positions.

Russell however badly lost out and ended up 13th with Sainz also dropping from 10th to 14th. Alonso also lost out and had a cautious start, losing two positions to the Alfa Romeo drivers.

Worse off was Esteban Ocon. The Frenchman got sandwiched and had his front steering rod broken when an Alfa clipped his front wheel. It was the immediate end to his race and the start of a 3-lap safety car period to get the car cleared. Giovinazzi made use of this moment to pit for new tyres, probably having detected a puncture from the contact with Ocon.

The restart proved more exciting than the initial start as Perez immediately challenged Norris for second but lost out on the exit of Turn 4 where he had two wheels on the gravel, making him fall in 10th place, between Ricciardo and Leclerc.

Both Mercedes battled up behind the fight for second place and also briefly exchanged positions at Turn 2, though Hamilton emerged ahead again before the entry of Turn 4.

10 laps later, Verstappen had built up a 6s lead over Norris. The McLaren driver was chased closely by Hamilton but the World Champion had trouble getting close enough to make a pass. Bottas followed up in 4th, lapping half a second slower.

At that time, Tsunoda pitted, followed by Gasly the next lap as both AlphaTauri drivers switched to hard tyres.

On lap 19, Hamilton finally made it past Norris, not by coincidence at the same time as Norris was handed a 5s penalty for pushing Perez off the track in Turn 4 on lap 4. Hamilton quickly upped his pace to equal Verstappen's, but by that time the gap had increased to more than 10 seconds.

Ricciardo pitted on lap 29, followed by Norris (serving his 5s penalty as well), along with Bottas and Russell a few moments later. This obviously saw Bottas leave the pitlane 3.3s ahead of Norris. Hamilton followed with his own stop the next lap, then followed by Verstappen who managed easily maintain his lead.

Meanwhile, a small peloton formed with Gasly, Ricciardo, Perez and Lerclerc. Funnily, it was Perez this time who forced Leclerc off the track at Turn 4, quickly receiving a 5s time penalty. Two laps later, Perez again forced Leclerc off track in Turn 9, earning him yet another 5s time penalty.

Hamilton was also in trouble after damaging his car on a sausage kerb at Turn 4. He dropped pace and saw Bottas pass on lap 51. When Norris also managed to pass him 2 laps later, Hamilton had enough and pitted for a new set of hards. He returned to the track without losing another position.

On lap 60, Verstappen made another stop, still maintaining a 7s margin over Bottas in second.

Verstappen predictably secured an easy fastest lap, adding an extra point to his tally this week.

Further down in the points scoring positions, Alonso took 10th away from Russell on lap 69 while Sainz took 6th from Ricciardo after passing Leclerc just a few laps before that.

In the final lap, Raikkonen had a battle with Vettel after failing to get past Russell. The Finn got passed by the Aston Martin driver after Turn 4, but then sort of turned into him and bumped his front right against Vettel's left rear. Both men predictably ended up in the gravel, finishing 16th and 17th, ahead only of both Haas drivers who they had lapped.


133Max VerstappenRed Bull Racing Honda711:23:54.54326
277Valtteri BottasMercedes71+17.973s18
34Lando NorrisMcLaren Mercedes71+20.019s15
444Lewis HamiltonMercedes71+46.452s12
555Carlos SainzFerrari71+57.144s10
611Sergio PerezRed Bull Racing Honda71+57.915s8
73Daniel RicciardoMcLaren Mercedes71+60.395s6
816Charles LeclercFerrari71+61.195s4
910Pierre GaslyAlphaTauri Honda71+61.844s2
1014Fernando AlonsoAlpine Renault70+1 lap1
1163George RussellWilliams Mercedes70+1 lap0
1222Yuki TsunodaAlphaTauri Honda70+1 lap0
1318Lance StrollAston Martin Mercedes70+1 lap0
1499Antonio GiovinazziAlfa Romeo Racing Ferrari70+1 lap0
157Kimi RäikkönenAlfa Romeo Racing Ferrari70+1 lap0
166Nicholas LatifiWilliams Mercedes70+1 lap0
175Sebastian VettelAston Martin Mercedes69DNF0
1847Mick SchumacherHaas Ferrari69+2 laps0
199Nikita MazepinHaas Ferrari69+2 laps0
NC31Esteban OconAlpine Renault0DNF0

Note - Verstappen scored an additional point for setting the fastest lap of the race.
Perez received a 10-second time penalty for forcing another driver off track.
Stroll received a 5-second time penalty for speeding in the pit lane.
Tsunoda received a 5-second time penalty for crossing the white line at the pit entry.
Raikkonen received a drive-through penalty, converted to a 20-second time penalty, for causing a collision.
Mazepin and Latifi received 10-second stop-and-go penalties, converted to 30-second time penalties, for not respecting double yellow flags.