Max Verstappen landed a remarkable performance today at the French Grand Prix, from losing his P1 lead to crossing the finish line first during in the seventh race of the 2021 Formula One season at the Circuit Paul Ricard.
Max Verstappen amends early blunder to last-lap conquest of Lewis Hamilton
Despite starting on P1, Max Verstappen had a horrible start to the race, as the Red Bull Racing ace went off the track at turn two, blowing his lead to Lewis Hamilton. Although, the Belgian-Dutch driver got back to second place by the 6th lap, 1.3 seconds behind Hamilton along with a fastest lap.
In the next ten laps, the defending world champion nearly doubled his lead to almost three seconds ahead of Verstappen. But after a much needed pit stop, the Briton lost his lead while Verstappen went ahead of the pack at lap 20.
However, after 12 more laps the Dutchman was in need for a fresh set of tyres, which caused him to drop to 4th place, but paced to the top of the race standings with faster laps than Hamilton.
After blazing past Sergio Perez into the third place, Verstappen still had Hamilton up front as well as his Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas with ten more laps of the race remaining. In the 44th lap, the Red Bull stalwart skillfully paced ahead of Bottas, with five seconds behind Hamilton.
By the 49th lap, Verstappen closed in on Hamilton, with less than three seconds behind the British driver and slowing eating into the leader and with a nail-biting last lap, the Dutchman moved past Hamilton to cross the finish line first, as well as clocking the fastest lap.
With the French GP victory, Verstappen is now tied with Hamilton with three wins this season so far, and with 131 points to his name is currently leading the drivers standings, while Hamilton is trailing in second with 119 points.
“I enjoyed it at the end, yes. At the beginning, it was super difficult out there with the wind … it was difficult to keep the car stable,” the winner said after the race, “when we made the call to do a two-stop, luckily in the end that paid off. But we had to work hard for it, but yes, of course, very rewarding. “It was difficult, there were quite a lot of back markers to go through, but luckily they all did well so we could have a good fight to the end.”
“I just lost the rear… I just tried to correct it, correct it, correct it, but it just kept going. As you can see the whole race we were fighting each other, so … it will be like this for the rest of the season,” added Verstappen.