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F1 2021 - Race-by-race guide to a so far sensational season

F1 2021 - Race-by-race guide to a so far sensational season

F1 News

F1 2021 - Race-by-race guide to a so far sensational season

F1 2021 - Race-by-race guide to a so far sensational season

The 2021 F1 season may only have seen 11 races but it is one that is already turning into a classic.

There has been drama on and off the track as Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes have finally been joined at the top by contenders in the form of Max Verstappen and Red Bull.

With the teams going into the traditional summer shutdown, here is the championship season so far!

Bahrain Grand Prix

Red Bull entered the opening round of the campaign as surprise favourites after a strong pre-season in which Mercedes struggled.

Verstappen led the race from pole position but surrendered his advantage when pitting onto a two-stop strategy.

Mercedes opted to keep Hamilton on a one-stop, allowing Verstappen to rapidly close in on fresher tyres.

In the dying stages, Verstappen made his move on the outside at turn four but was forced to hand the position back to his rival after completing the move off-track and was not able to create another opportunity. Valtteri Bottas finished third with the fastest lap.

Drivers' Championship standings after Round One

1. Lewis Hamilton [Mercedes] - 25 points

2. Max Verstappen [Red Bull] - 18

3. Valtteri Bottas [Mercedes] - 16

4. Lando Norris [McLaren] - 12

5. Sergio Perez [Red Bull] -10

Constructors' standings after Round One

1. Mercedes - 41 points

2. Red Bull - 28

3. McLaren - 18

4. Ferrari - 12

5. AlphaTauri - 2

Emilia Romagna Grand Prix

Verstappen lay down a marker at Imola with an aggressive move into turn one before sauntering to victory in difficult wet-dry conditions.

Hamilton made an error and slid off the road into the barriers at Tosa but was afforded a lifeline when a serious incident between Bottas and George Russell brought the red flags out at Tamburello.

The seven-time champion took his lifeline to overhaul the top 10 and snatch second from Lando Norris know the closing stages.

Drivers' championship standings after Round Two

1. Lewis Hamilton [Mercedes] - 44 points

2. Max Verstappen [Red Bull] - 43

3. Lando Norris [McLaren] - 27

4. Charles Leclerc [Ferrari] - 20

5. Valtteri Bottas [Mercedes] - 16

Constructors' standings after Round Two

1. Mercedes - 60 points

2. Red Bull - 53

3. McLaren - 41

4. Ferrari - 34

5. AlphaTauri - 8

Portuguese Grand Prix

Bottas headed a Mercedes front-row lockout in qualifying but by turn one Hamilton had lost out to Verstappen.

The championship leader was scintillating after a brief safety car period, making light work of the Dutchman - although the pair almost collided at turn three - and his team-mate to eventually canter to victory.

Bottas and Verstappen both pitted late on to steal the fastest lap but it was the Finn who bagged the bonus point.

Drivers' championship standings after Round Three

1. Lewis Hamilton [Mercedes] - 69 points

2. Max Verstappen [Red Bull] - 61

3. Lando Norris [McLaren] - 37

4. Valtteri Bottas [Mercedes] - 32

5. Charles Leclerc [Ferrari] - 28

Constructors' standings after Round Three

1. Mercedes - 101 points

2. Red Bull - 83

3. McLaren - 53

4. Ferrari - 42

5. Alpine - 13

Spanish Grand Prix

Mercedes showed it could outgun Red Bull's strategic team with Hamilton's victory in Spain.

Verstappen again got the jump on the Briton into turn one and repaid the favour for the Portuguese squeeze to assume the lead.

Having remained behind the Dutchman after the first sequence of stops, Hamilton closed in and made a switch to the two-stop strategy. Unlike Verstappen in Bahrain, the 36-year-old was able to take the lead and secure his third win of the season whilst Bottas finished third once more.

Drivers' championship standings after Round Four

1. Lewis Hamilton [Mercedes] - 94 points

2. Max Verstappen [Red Bull] - 80

3. Valtteri Bottas [Mercedes] - 47

4. Lando Norris [McLaren] - 41

5. Charles Leclerc [Ferrari] - 40

Constructors' standings after Round Four

1. Mercedes - 141 points

2. Red Bull - 112

3. McLaren - 65

4. Ferrari - 60

5. Alpine - 15

Monaco Grand Prix

The first big turning point of the championship came with a dismal weekend for Mercedes in Monaco.

Neither Hamilton nor Bottas was able to battle Red Bull whilst Ferrari was the surprise of the weekend. Charles Leclerc took pole but was unable to take part in the race due to damage sustained in a qualifying crash.

Verstappen took full advantage to win at Monaco for the first time whilst Hamilton could only muster seventh. Bottas was eliminated with a bizarre pit-stop failure as Carlos Sainz and Norris both reached the podium.

Drivers' championship standings after Round Five

1. Max Verstappen [Red Bull] - 105 points

2. Lewis Hamilton [Mercedes] - 101

3. Lando Norris [McLaren] - 56

4. Valtteri Bottas [Mercedes] - 47

5. Sergio Perez [Red Bull] - 44

Constructors' standings after Round Five

1. Red Bull - 149 points

2. Mercedes - 148

3. McLaren - 80

4. Ferrari - 78

5. Aston Martin - 19

Azerbaijan Grand Prix

The war of words between Toto Wolff and Christian Horner over flexi-wings continued off-track whilst Ferrari carried its Monaco form over to Baku with Leclerc taking another pole position.

It was Red Bull who dominated on race day with superior pace and with six laps remaining Verstappen led a one-two. Down the long start-finish straight, however, his rear-left tyre blew in a similar fashion to Lance Stroll earlier in the race.

A two-lap sprint resulted in chaos as Hamilton ran straight on at turn one, leaving Perez in the clear to take his first win as a Red Bull driver. Sebastian Vettel and Pierre Gasly joined the Mexican on the podium.

Drivers' championship standings after Round Six

1. Max Verstappen [Red Bull] - 105 points

2. Lewis Hamilton [Mercedes] - 101

3. Sergio Perez [Red Bull] - 69

4. Lando Norris [McLaren] - 66

5. Charles Leclerc [Ferrari] - 52

Constructors' standings after Round Six

1. Red Bull - 174 points

2. Mercedes - 148

3. Ferrari - 94

4. McLaren - 92

5. AlphaTauri - 39

French Grand Prix

Flexi-wings may have been put to rest at Paul Ricard but Pirelli was forced to act on the tyre failures from Baku with pressures increased on the rear of the car.

Mercedes had both drivers back at the top but had no answer for Max Verstappen who was too good all weekend.

The Dutchman and Red Bull took revenge for Spain by switching to a two-stop strategy before gliding past the two Mercedes drivers to extend his championship lead over Hamilton.

Perez took the final podium spot whilst McLaren took advantage of a dismal display by Ferrari to inch clear in the race for third.

Drivers' championship standings after Round Seven

1. Max Verstappen [Red Bull] - 131 points

2. Lewis Hamilton [Mercedes] - 119

3. Sergio Perez [Red Bull] - 84

4. Lando Norris [McLaren] - 76

5. Valtteri Bottas [Mercedes] - 59

Constructors' standings after Round Seven

1. Red Bull - 215 points

2. Mercedes - 178

3. McLaren - 110

4. Ferrari - 94

5. AlphaTauri - 45

Styrian Grand Prix

It was all smiles on home turf as Verstappen dominated to leave Mercedes scratching its head as to how Red Bull had found so much speed.

A late pit stop for Lewis Hamilton skewed the final finishing times but the gap was still nearing 15 seconds between the title rivals as Verstappen lay down a gauntlet.

Only the top four finished on the lead lap, with Mercedes this time able to edge out Perez from the podium. The Mexican had tried to attack Bottas on fresh tyres late on but came a lap shy of taking another third place.

Drivers' championship standings after Round Eight

1. Max Verstappen [Red Bull] - 156 points

2. Lewis Hamilton [Mercedes] - 138

3. Sergio Perez [Red Bull] - 96

4. Lando Norris [McLaren] - 86

5. Valtteri Bottas [Mercedes] - 74

Constructors' standings after Round Eight

1. Red Bull - 252 points

2. Mercedes - 212

3. McLaren - 120

4. Ferrari - 108

5. AlphaTauri - 46

Austrian Grand Prix

The same track produced a largely similar story although Norris threatened to derail Red Bull's supreme streak of success.

The McLaren came within a whisker of taking pole in qualifying before disrupting Mercedes during the race. His third-place could have been second had it not been for a penalty for pushing Perez off-track.

Bottas came home second behind Verstappen who quietly went about his business alone at the front, whilst damage to Hamilton's rear-end aerodynamics left him floundering in fourth.

Red Bull's fifth win in a row provided a huge boost to its championship hopes.

Drivers' championship standings after Round Nine

1. Max Verstappen [Red Bull] - 182 points

2. Lewis Hamilton [Mercedes] - 150

3. Sergio Perez [Red Bull] - 104

4. Lando Norris [McLaren] - 101

5. Valtteri Bottas [Mercedes] - 92

Constructors' standings after Round Nine

1. Red Bull - 286 points

2. Mercedes - 242

3. McLaren - 141

4. Ferrari - 122

5. AlphaTauri - 48

British Grand Prix

The flashpoint in the championship arrived on a weekend all eyes were on F1's new sprint initiative.

Verstappen came from second to win the inaugural sprint qualifying and extend his championship lead by a point of Hamilton.

The pair tussled on the first lap of the grand prix proper, before contact at Copse sent the Red Bull heavily into the barriers sparking consternation from Messrs Horner and Helmet Marko.

Hamilton was able to shrug off the resultant penalty to storm back and deny Charles Leclerc a victory with three laps to go, taking his eighth home win in the process. Bottas trailed him third.

Drivers' championship standings after Round Ten

1. Max Verstappen [Red Bull] - 185 points

2. Lewis Hamilton [Mercedes] - 177

3. Lando Norris [McLaren] - 113

4. Valtteri Bottas [Mercedes] - 108

5. Sergio Perez [Red Bull] - 104

Constructors' standings after Round Ten

1. Red Bull - 289 points

2. Mercedes - 285

3. McLaren - 163

4. Ferrari - 148

5. AlphaTauri - 49

Hungarian Grand Prix

The drama of the British Grand Prix carried through to Hungary where a right to appeal protest was launched by Red Bull. That failed and so it was business as usual on track.

Mercedes proved its Silverstone upgrade package had helped by taking a one-two in qualifying but in damp conditions at the start of the race, Bottas took himself, Norris and Perez out whilst Verstappen was also caught up in the carnage.

Hamilton was given a free pass to victory, or so it seemed. A strategy error left him at the back of the field and a mountain to climb to take advantage of Red Bull's issues. A spirited drive landed him third, whilst upfront the battle for the lead was between Esteban Ocon and Vettel.

The Frenchman didn't put a foot wrong to take his first F1 win but Vettel was disqualified post-race for a fuel irregularity. This meant Sainz bagged his second podium of the season.

Williams ended its two-year points drought with seventh and eighth with Nicholas Latifi and Russell.

Drivers' championship standings after Round 11

1. Lewis Hamilton [Mercedes] - 195 points

2. Max Verstappen [Red Bull] - 187

3. Lando Norris [McLaren] - 113

4. Valtteri Bottas [Mercedes] - 108

5. Sergio Perez [Red Bull] - 104

Constructors' standings after Round 11

1. Mercedes - 303 points

2. Mercedes - 291

3. Ferrari - 163

4. McLaren - 163

5. Alpine - 77

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