For a competitive animal like Max Verstappen, hungry and thirsty like the most, after being locked in his private cage in recent years seeing how it was impossible to constantly sink his teeth into Mercedes, keeping the crumbs of the podium and the occasional victory, you do not plan to miss the opportunity that 2021 offers to savor more than ever the ‘champagne’ of triumph. Even less, running in the house of Red Bull, like this weekend. After destroying Hamilton and Mercedes emotionally at Paul Ricard with his final comeback, the Dutchman has before him a golden opportunity to continue hitting Lewis on the two weekends in a row that the energy drinkers run in front of their audience.
The first, this one Styrian F1 GP 2021. As if he were subjecting the reigning world champion to the Chinese gout torture, Max poured a little more water over the Brit’s head with his third pole so far this year, beating Bottas by 0 ”194 (sanctioned, he will start 5th) and by 0” 226 the current king.
This is the classification of the F1 World Cup
1. Max Verstappen (NED/Red Bull-Honda) 1’03”842
2. Lewis Hamilton (GBR/Mercedes) 1’04”067
3. Lando Norris (GBR / McLaren-Mercedes) 1’04 ”120
4. Sergio Pérez (MEX / Red Bull-Honda) 1’04 ”168
5. Valtteri Bottas (FIN / Mercedes) * 1’04 ”035 *He was penalized 3 positions for dangerous driving in the pit lane on Friday.
6. Pierre Gasly (FRA / AlphaTauri-Honda) 1’04 ”236
7. Charles Leclerc (MON / Ferrari) 1’04 ”472
8. Fernando Alonso (ESP/Alpine-Renault) 1’04”574
9. Lance Stroll (CAN/Aston Martin-Mercedes) 1’04”708
10. George Russell (GBR/Williams-Mercedes) 1’04”671
11. Yuki Tsotaka (JPN / AlphaTauri-Honda) * 1’04 ”514 *Penalized 3 positions for blocking Bottas
12. Carlos Sainz Jr (ESP/Ferrari) 1’04”800
13. Daniel Ricciardo (AUS / McLaren-Mercedes) 1’04 ”808
14. Sebastian Vettel (GER / Aston Martin-Mercedes) 1’04 ”875
15. Antonio Giovinazzi (ITA / Alfa Romeo-Ferrari) 1’04 ”913
16. Nicholas Latifi (CAN/Williams-Mercedes) 1’05”175
17. Esteban Ocon (FRA/Alpine-Renault) 1’05”217
18. Kimi Räikkönen (FIN / Alfa Romeo-Ferrari) 1’05 ”429
19. Mick Schumacher (GER / Haas-Ferrari) 1’06 ”041
20. Nikita Mazepin (RUS/Haas-Ferrari) 1’06”192
Max leads the World Cup by 12 points, and after seeing how his puncture in Baku prevented him from increasing his success, he is unstoppable. He showed it in France and wants to repeat it on this track, where he already triumphed in 2018 and 2019. All this, after not succumbing in the psychological battle he has with Hamilton, who in FP3 had been the fastest, warning of his strength. But Max goes about his business. He ignored Friday when Hamilton placed him as a big favorite and said it was very difficult to beat him. Nor was he nervous when he saw Lewis stick your head in the free. And not before the constant complaints from Mercedes that have made the SON change several of its regulations to avoid an advantage of those of Milton keynes. The last one, for the next Austrian GP to reduce the advantage that Red Bull he has gotten into the pit stops through a work of many years. Max goes for all, before thick and thin, with a car that already allows him to beat Lewis. Hamilton highlights the great blows that Max is hitting him. He says he must get up. But now, in the F1 ring, his rival raises his arms just thinking about continuing to hit him. English can do no more than protect itself against such harassment. The next right hand knows that it can arrive this Sunday. Will Lewis be able to answer?
Verstappen, author of the pole in the F1 Styrian GP 2021
Bottas, penalized, comes out 5th and Hamilton, alone in the face of danger
To answer, Hamilton He will have to be very aggressive in turns 1 and 2 in another exit that seems exciting and Mercedes will have to accompany him in the strategy without repeating the mistakes of France. It will be difficult for me to accompany you bottas, who was 2nd in this classification, but due to his very serious error in the pits on Friday, he will start 5th after being penalized. The Finn, with means like Verstappen and Hamilton, could come back for his best strategy. But as always, it is anyone’s guess.
For the moment, Lewis is alone in the face of danger, ahead of Norris (3rd), brilliant again in his McLaren while your partner Ricciardo was only 13th, and ahead of a Pérez (will start 4th) who will go out again wanting to help Verstappen again. There is a two against one with the solo champion, with everything against.
Red Bull’s long-run pace is what worried Stevenage the most Friday and Max should have better ‘gloves’ to put down his opponent. But Lewis never gives up. He always takes advantage of any minimal option to be there and this time he will try again after an intense Q3 in which Hamilton tried him with several attempts, several rounds with new soft rubber in which he could not beat the times of a Verstappen with the coldness that a champion needs, without errors in all the ‘quali’.
I couldn’t say the same Lewis, who made a mistake in his Q2 attempt, going long into turn 2. And in Q3, he looked nervous, out of control, a sign that he had everything lost. Although he came out on several occasions to go for his 101st pole, he could not get it. In 2021, his rival is the toughest he has had in recent times. Verstappen reminded him again, who goes for all the long-awaited KO to his opponent.
Alonso gets the most out of his Alpine
Fernando Alonso returned to perform at a very high level at the wheel of his Alpine. With few weapons, with which his partner Ocon could not even pass Q2 (17th), the pilot from Oviedo was able to get into Q3 and overcome the Aston Martin de Stroll, staying at 0 ”773 of the best time of Verstappen in the ninth position. However, he saw how after the ‘quali’ he was awarded one more position for a 3-position penalty to Tsunoda, which will make Fernando start from eighth place.
The pilot from Oviedo once again maximized his result in a tremendously even qualifying in the middle zone in which any mistake could make you lose many positions. So much so that in Q1, the difference between the first and the 16th was 6 tenths. An atrocity. But the Spaniard once again showed his great form, already very comfortable with his car, to make another classification without failures that will allow him to battle for points.
Despite this, the race seems complicated because it will start with the worst strategy of those who go beyond the tenth position, who will have freedom of choice of tires. In addition, Alonso stressed that the pace of his Alpine is lower than that of Paul Ricard and that the cars behind him “are faster”, so it will not be easy to score points in a race in which he could choose to do magic if he finally Rains.
In that situation will be Carlos Sainz. The Spaniard could not sign a good turn in Q2 and was left out of Q3, starting this Sunday from 12th position. The freedom of strategy may allow her to at least suffer less from the enormous tire degradation that her Ferrari has in the race, a problem that the team focused on minimizing on Friday in free practice. Adjustment changes in this regard could reduce the efficiency of the Ferrari to one lap. It took its toll on Carlos, who, losing a tenth and a half to Leclerc in Q2, saw how he was left out and his partner entered the Top-10. The Monegasque will finally start 7th in a middle zone where things will be very close in the fight for points.