The Formula 1 2021 Styrian Grand Prix was held at the Red Bull Ring in Austria. The circuit is located in the village of Styria, after which the Styrian Grand Prix was named to differentiate it from the Austrian Grand Prix. This was the eighth round of the 2021 Formula 1 season, and for the second time, the Red Bull Ring will host two F1 races.
The Styrian Grand Prix, also called Steiermark Grand Prix, was held for the first time in 2020, and this was the second running of the race. For this year, it took the place of the Canadian Grand Prix, which the Canadian government cancelled.
The 2021 F1 Styrian Grand Prix in a Nutshell
After winning in the French GP, Max Verstappen looked in great shape throughout the race weekend. Max claimed the pole position on Saturday with a stunning lap ahead of Lewis and Lando Norris. Bottas was handed a three-place grid drop due to a spin in the pitlane. Max was in a league of his own and won the race nearly 40 sec ahead of second-place Lewis Hamilton and Valterri Bottas in third.
Thursday Pre-Race Preparations for the 2021 Styrian GP
The weather forecast for the weekend was for rain and thunderstorm from Friday till Sunday. The teams were ready for a tough weekend due to changing weather conditions. Pirelli brought the same tyre compounds as the last year. C2 (White) was the hard tyre, C3 (Yellow) was the medium tyre and C4 (Red) was the soft tyre for the race weekend.
Friday Practice: Max Leads FP1 and FP2
Red Bull looked quick from the moment the weekend started on Friday morning. Max finished the FP1 session on top ahead of Pierre Gasly. Ricciardo replaced Pierre Gasly as the second fastest team in the afternoon session, but the driver on the P1 was unchanged.
Policing track limits at turn 9 and 10 meant many drivers lost their fast times, and many unusual suspects finished in the top 10. As expected, the Red Bull was the team to beat in the qualifying or race trim. Mercedes was second fastest but losing a chunk of time of the straights to the Red Bull. McLaren was the third quickest team behind the top two ahead of a close group of Alpha Tauri, Ferrari, and Alpine. Aston Martin was also part of the group and had a chance to fight for minor points on Sunday.
Saturday Practice: Lewis Outdoes Max in FP3
Lewis Hamilton managed to finish ahead of Max Verstappen at the end of Saturday practice before qualifying. Bottas made it two Mercedes in the top 3 ahead of Sergio Perez, while Yuki Tsunoda was the 5th quickest driver ahead of teammate Pierre Gasly. Leclerc was 7th quickest ahead of Fernando Alonso, Lance Stroll, and Sebastian Vettel.
Qualifying: Max Occupies Pole ahead of Lewis, Lando, Sergio, and Bottas
Esteban Ocon was the shock of the first qualifying session after he failed to progress in a car capable of reaching Q3. Max, Lewis and Lando eased into the next session while the rest had to do second runs to advance into Q2. Latifi, along with Raikkonen and two Haas drivers, failed to reach Q2.
Carlos Sainz and Daniel Ricciardo were the two big fishes to have missed out on a chance to fight for the top ten. Only Verstappen, Lewis and Bottas managed to qualify for Q3 on medium tyres and start the race on the more durable tyre. Sebastian Vettel, Giovinnazi, and Russell joined Sainz and Ricciardo at the end of the session.
Max Verstappen was at his absolute best and delivered a pole position time on his first run. He was the only man to dip below the 64-sec mark. Bottas had a great lap and finished P2 at the end of the final run but will drop to fifth due to a 3-place grid penalty for spinning in the pitlane during Friday practice. Lewis qualified 3rd but will start 2nd ahead of Norris, who qualified 4th but will start 3rd. Perez would start the race in P4 ahead of Bottas, Gasly, Leclerc, Tsunoda, Alonso and Stroll.
Sunday Race: 2021 Formula 1 Styrian Grand Prix
Five red lights went out, and the top three drivers made a great start from their grid slots. Perez overtook Norris, but he regained third place with a superb overtaking move into turn 4. Behind the leading cars, Leclerc made contact with Gasly’s rear tyre damaging the front wing and puncturing Gasly’s tyre. Leclerc would pit for a new front wing and tyres, while Gasly would retire from the race. Ricciardo made a great start and was P8 after starting P13 at the end of lap 1. He would be back to P13 a few laps later due to loss of power.
Max Enjoys Uninterrupted Lead in Red Bull’s Home Ring
Perez was finally able to pass Norris for P3 on lap 10, with Bottas doing the same on the next lap. Mercedes had no answer to the pace of Max Verstappen and were losing a quarter of a second on the straights alone. Perez was first to pit on lap 26 and took hard tyes, but a slow stop meant Bottas could jump him on the next lap when he pitted. Lewis pitted a lap later from Bottas, and Max did the same a lap later. Max and Lewis maintained the track positions at the front, with Bottas now in third place.
Lando Norris had the longest-running soft tyres and pitted after 31 laps on soft tyres. Sainz and Ricciardo pitted on lap 41 to change from medium to hard tyres. The Ferraris had a much better afternoon and a solid race pace amongst the midfield teams. With 20 laps to go, Lewis was nearly 20 seconds ahead of Bottas but had a lonely race with no speed to challenge the win. Perez stopped again on lap 54 to snatch the podium from Bottas but fell short of time.
Lewis Gains Extra Point for Fastest Lap in the 2021 Styrian GP
Lewis pitted a couple of laps before the end and scored an extra point for the fastest lap of the race. Max stormed into the distance and won the race nearly 40 sec ahead of Lewis. This was his third victory at the Red Bull ring. Lewis finished a distant second, and Bottas held off charging Perez, who finished in P4 only 0.5 sec behind Bottas.
Lando finished 5th ahead of the Ferraris of Sainz and Leclerc, Stroll 8th, Alonso 9th, and Tsunoda scoring the final championship point.
F1 2021 Austrian Grand Prix
Next week will be the final race of the first triple-header of the season. It can be a perfect opportunity for Mercedes to snatch the win with a vengeance, but do they have the raw pace to do that? We find out next weekend.