French GP: Red Bull and Verstappen take resounding victory

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen has asserted his authority with a resounding victory at the French GP, second round of the calendar. The seventh round on this season’s calendar was disputed this Sunday at the Paul Ricard circuit. 

Today’s was the third consecutive win for the Milton Keynes´ team after Azerbaijan Monaco, partly thanks to a great team and pit strategy. Behind him came Lewis Hamilton, who could do nothing to stop Verstappen from passing him on the penultimate lap. 

To round off a sensational day for the Austrian team, Checo Pérez completed the podium. The Mexican driver has made it to the podium for the second Sunday in a row after winning in Azerbaijan. 

There is no doubt that if he continues performing at this level, Red Bull will be eager to renew his contract. The “secondary” drivers at both the leading teams have played an essential role in a very even and exciting race. 

Valtteri Bottas arrived in a disappointing fourth place. His inability to defend his position from Pérez prevented him from doing any better regardless of team orders which could do nothing to help him. 

Behind Bottas finished McLaren´s Lando Norris & Daniel Ricciardo with a great performance, ahead of Alpha Tauri´s Pierre Gasly and Alpine´s Fernando Alonso, eighth. And Ferrari? No points. Carlos Sainz, P11 & Charles Leclerc P16. What a disaster!

Mercedes has been unable to react to Red Bull’s moves. Red Bull’s daring 2-stop strategy for Max Verstappen as he was leading the race, on the other hand, was key to earn the Dutchman his victory. 

All in all, this result deals a significant blow to Mercedes’ morale and increases Red Bull’s lead in both the drivers and team’s standings. Max is currently twelve points ahead of Hamilton and Red Bull has 37 points more than the German team.

Verstappen loses the lead on the first corner  

Max Verstappen lost his pole at the first corner after the traffic lights went out at the French GP. The gusts of wind at the Paul Ricard drove the #33 to commit a serious mistake. 

Hamilton took advantage of Verstappen’s mishap to steal the head of the race. Behind them came, in the following order; Valtteri Bottas, Checo Pérez, Carlos Sainz, Pierre Gasly and Charles Leclerc, all of which managed to hold on to their starting positions.

On lap 18 came one of the key moments of the French GP. Bottas pitted in an attempt to undercut Verstappen. The Dutchman stayed on the track and raised his pace defending himself from the attack of the Scandinavian driver. 

That performance allowed him to make his pit stop a couple of laps later. The German team hesitated during those decisive moments and kept Hamilton on the track for one more lap but by then it was too late. The Briton returned to the track just behind the #33.

Second Red Bull pit stop to win

Thirteen laps later and the #33 performed an unexpected but decisive move for the outcome of the French GP. Max made a second pit stop to fit the yellow tires… despite being at the lead. He re-joined the track in third, 18 seconds behind Hamilton and Bottas.

Mercedes, on the other hand, decided to keep the Briton on the track as his tires seemed to be in good shape. Max then started his comeback with a very clear mission ahead, to gain a second per lap for the remaining 19 laps, and so he did. In a memorable performance, he first devoured Bottas followed by Hamilton on the penultimate lap. Pérez finished third place.

Images French GP: Red Bull Racing.

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