Red Bull won their third race in a row in a thrilling French Grand Prix, with Max Verstappen passing Lewis Hamilton with two laps to go to capture his fourteenth career victory. Hamilton finished second, with Sergio Perez of Red Bull completing the podium.
In a reversal of the Spanish Grand Prix, where Mercedes out-strategized Red Bull to win, Verstappen pitted twice to Hamilton’s one, with the Dutchman then utilising his fresher tyres to narrow the gap, passing on Lap 52 of 53 to capture his third win of the season.
It more than made up for Verstappen’s loss of pole position to Hamilton at the start of the race, with Verstappen earning the win and the bonus point for best lap; marking the first time Red Bull has won three races in a row in the turbo-hybrid era.
Behind Perez, Valtteri Bottas finished a frustrated fourth after complaining to Mercedes that he was disregarded when he suggested switching to a two-stop strategy, as Red Bull did with Verstappen.
Behind the top four, McLaren’s Lando Norris finished a strong fifth, ahead of teammate Daniel Ricciardo, who had perhaps his finest race of the year to finish sixth. Pierre Gasly of AlphaTauri had a great race pace to finish P7, his best ever finish in his home Grand Prix, ahead of Fernando Alonso’s Alpine.
Sebastian Vettel finished ninth after a long first stint, while teammate Lance Stroll completed the top ten due to a late overtake on Carlos Sainz’s Ferrari – closing off a dismal day for the Scuderia, who lacked race pace at Paul Ricard, with Sainz finishing 11th and Leclerc finishing 16th.
But after a thrilling French Grand Prix, it was all about Verstappen, who claimed the lead early in the first triple header of what is shaping up to be a fantastic 2021 season, extending his advantage over Hamilton to 12 points in the drivers’ standings.