F1 returned to the Circuit Paul Ricard over the weekend and while some fans were expecting a boring race, it was actually anything but.
Red Bull put their stamp on the weekend early with Max Verstappen capturing the pole position. Though it wasn’t a clean sweep for the team as Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas qualified P2 and P3 respectively, splitting Verstappen from his teammate Sergio Perez.
This was a sign of things to come on race day…
At the race start, Hamilton was able to snatch the advantage away from Verstappen’s pole position and head out to an early lead. Hamilton was able to maintain an impressive pace all day with Valtteri charging just as hard.
It seemed as if Mercedes could end up winning the day but eventually Red Bull showed their hand. Mercedes felt that they could finish the entire race on a one stop strategy as long as Lewis and Valtteri but enough of a gap on their Red Bull rivals.
The Mercedes drivers tried their hardest, but they just couldn’t build enough of a gap before having to do their one stop for fresh tires.
Meanwhile, Red Bull elected to employ a two-stop strategy. Not only did that allow Max Verstappen to complete the “undercut” on Lewis to take the lead, but it also left Lewis with nothing to fight back with other than degrading tires.
“Why the **** does no one listen to me when I say that it’s gonna be a two stopper?!” yelled a very frustrated Valtteri Bottas over the radio when he had nothing to defend himself from Sergio Perez.
Max Verstappen went on to win the race while Lewis was able to hold on to second place. Sergio Perez reached the podium for the second time in a row with his third place finish.
Mercedes was definitely knee-capped during this race and they have a lot to sort out if they want to remain contenders for the remainder of the season. For now, with three wins in a row, Red Bull is carrying a lot of momentum into the next race next week in Austria.
Do you think AMG-Mercedes can get their act together and reclaim the driver and constructor’s championship lead from Red Bull? Or is 2021 Red Bull’s season to lose?
Let us know your thoughts in the comments below or on Twitter at @MotorworldHype.