Verstappen beats Hamilton after late overtake

Two-stopping Max Verstappen overtakes one-stopping Lewis Hamilton on penultimate lap to win Paul Ricard race; Verstappen had earlier made first-lap error to lose lead, but now boasts 12-point advantage in title race; Sergio Perez on podium ahead of Valtteri Bottas, Lando Norris fifth

Last Updated: 20/06/21 4:24pm

With less than two laps to go, Red Bull's Max Verstappen passed Mercedes title rival Lewis Hamilton for the race lead

Sky Sports 1:05
With less than two laps to go, Red Bull’s Max Verstappen passed Mercedes title rival Lewis Hamilton for the race lead

With less than two laps to go, Red Bull’s Max Verstappen passed Mercedes title rival Lewis Hamilton for the race lead

Max Verstappen has extended his championship lead after overcoming Lewis Hamilton in another nail-biting F1 duel at the French GP, superbly passing his title rival on the penultimate lap of the Paul Ricard race.

On an afternoon that was eventually dictated by team strategy with the Red Bull and Mercedes cars evenly matched on track, Verstappen used his fresh tyres after his second stop to charge up behind a one-stopping Hamilton in the closing stages and pounced on his prey on Lap 52 of 53.

Verstappen swept past a struggling Hamilton on the main DRS straight, as the F1 2021 season continues to serve up decisive wheel-to-wheel battles between its star drivers.

It was far from a straight-forward Sunday for either driver – with a pole-starting Verstappen having lost his lead after a mistake into the first chicane, and Hamilton after a Red Bull undercut – but the end result is that Verstappen now holds a 12-point title lead over the seven-world champion.

And Red Bull have won three races in a row for the first time since 2013.

“We had to work hard for it, but very rewarding,” said Verstappen, who also passed Valtteri Bottas on his way to catching Hamilton.

While Hamilton stressed that Red Bull had the quicker package, Mercedes told the Englishman “this one’s on us” after questionable strategy calls compared to their main rivals.

Red Bull's Sergio Perez made the move on Valtteri Bottas in the closing stages for third at Circuit Paul Ricard.

Sky Sports 1:02
Red Bull’s Sergio Perez made the move on Valtteri Bottas in the closing stages for third at Circuit Paul Ricard.

Red Bull’s Sergio Perez made the move on Valtteri Bottas in the closing stages for third at Circuit Paul Ricard.

Bottas was particularly frustrated after frequently telling his team that a one-stop strategy would not work, only to stay out on track and eventually lose positions to both the Red Bulls of Verstappen and Sergio Perez.

With both drivers on the podium, it was therefore a near-perfect day for Red Bull.

Behind the top four, McLaren had the best race pace of the midfield and Lando Norris continued his superb season in fifth, ahead of Daniel Ricciardo who enjoyed a much-improved French GP weekend.

Pierre Gasly was seventh, while multiple world champions Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel expertly managed their tyre strategies behind.

After starting 19th, Lance Stroll completed the top-10 on another strong Sunday for Aston Martin, with Ferrari surprisingly slipping out of contention completely.

Carlos Sainz, who started fifth, finished 11th and Charles Leclerc a lowly 16th after a second stop.

French GP race result

  1. Max Verstappen, Red Bull
  2. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes
  3. Sergio Perez, Red Bull
  4. Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes
  5. Lando Norris, McLaren
  6. Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren
  7. Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri
  8. Fernando Alonso, Alpine
  9. Sebastian Vettel, Aston Martin
  10. Lance Stroll, Aston Martin

The key moments that dictated the race

First lap: Verstappen makes an error into Turn Two and Hamilton takes lead

Lewis Hamilton overtook Max Verstappen for the race lead on the opening lap in France.

Sky Sports 1:55
Lewis Hamilton overtook Max Verstappen for the race lead on the opening lap in France.

Lewis Hamilton overtook Max Verstappen for the race lead on the opening lap in France.

Lap 19: Verstappen undercuts Hamilton despite trailing by 2s before stop

Lewis Hamilton came out behind title rival Max Verstappen after his pit stop as the Red Bull driver completed the undertake to move second.

Sky Sports 1:36
Lewis Hamilton came out behind title rival Max Verstappen after his pit stop as the Red Bull driver completed the undertake to move second.

Lewis Hamilton came out behind title rival Max Verstappen after his pit stop as the Red Bull driver completed the undertake to move second.

Lap 33: Verstappen pits again from the lead, both Mercedes cars stay out

Lap 44: Verstappen overtakes Bottas and begins Hamilton hunt

Max Verstappen climbed to second after overtaking Valtteri Bottas, giving him late hope of catching Lewis Hamilton for the race win in France.

Sky Sports 1:52
Max Verstappen climbed to second after overtaking Valtteri Bottas, giving him late hope of catching Lewis Hamilton for the race win in France.

Max Verstappen climbed to second after overtaking Valtteri Bottas, giving him late hope of catching Lewis Hamilton for the race win in France.

Lap 52: Verstappen overtakes Hamilton for race lead

With less than two laps to go, Red Bull's Max Verstappen passed Mercedes title rival Lewis Hamilton for the race lead

Sky Sports 1:05
With less than two laps to go, Red Bull’s Max Verstappen passed Mercedes title rival Lewis Hamilton for the race lead

With less than two laps to go, Red Bull’s Max Verstappen passed Mercedes title rival Lewis Hamilton for the race lead

More to follow…

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