June 20, (THEWILL)- Applying a two-stopper race to perfection, Red Bulls’ Formula 1 racing driver, Max Verstappen, delivered a fantastic tactical drive that allowed the Dutchman overtake Lewis Hamilton on the penultimate lap and win a thrilling French Grand Prix on Sunday.
In actual fact, the race was initially designated as a one-stop policy but the race cars’ tyres degraded far quicker than expected and the team crews applied a second stop. This allowed Red Bull and McLaren to smartly undercut the others, which was particularly important for the Red Bull unit as Mercedes’ race driver Sir Lewis Hamilton had taken pole position from their lead driver Verstappen in the first lap.
That was the first strategic misstep for Mercedes. But, a second was to follow for the victory to go to Red Bull. In a bid to correct the first one, Mercedes decided to keep Hamilton out there without a stop to catch up only to realise their strategy was wrong again because they lost more ground instead with Verstappen taking an extra point for the fastest lap of the championships.
Mercedes’ other driver and Hamilton’s team-mate Valtteri Bottas, who had called it as a two-stop race earlier in proceedings, could do nothing but rant on the team radio as he was overtaken by the imperial Verstappen once the Dutchman had gone onto the mediums.
Bottas could only watch on in helplessness and more fury when Sergio Perez, the second Red Bull driver who also held out longer and only stopped once as well, overtook him in the final laps for a podium finish and deny Bottas a slot on the stands.
It was a brilliant race for the Red Bull team as a whole. Their double-finishing for podium one and three was achieved as Perez’s support provided Verstappen the pressure to keep out for longer and piled all the pressure on the Mercedes cars trailing each Red Bull driver.
The strategy also turned out to be excellent for McLaren as well. The British motor racing team brutally undercut the Ferraris and took the next two places behind the front four of Red Bull and Mercedes pairs. And, rounding off the rest of the top 10 were Pierre Gasly, Fernando Alonso, Sebastian Vettel and Carlos Sainz.
The result was not particularly favourable for Scuderia Ferrari’s Monegasque driver, Charles Leclerc, who finished the race down in 16th position. But, overall, it was an impressive race and one without any retirements for the first time since Austria 2019. It is the 10th time such has happened in Formula 1 history.