Red Bull masterclass moves Max Verstappen further clear at French GP

By Sports Desk June 20, 2021

Red Bull rescued a dramatic victory for Max Verstappen with a powerful undercut and a bold second stop after his first-lap error put Lewis Hamilton in the ascendancy at the French Grand Prix.

A third consecutive win for Red Bull – two for Verstappen and one for Sergio Perez – boosted their leads in both the drivers' and constructors' championships.

Verstappen looked to be in trouble when he let Hamilton through at Turn 2, but his team's strategy turned the race on its head, extending his advantage to 12 points in the standings.

The championship leader – starting from pole – kept his nose in front at Turn 1 but then ran wide, exiting the track to give up position to Hamilton, who looked at ease at the front of the race.

Pit strategy proved pivotal, though, as Mercedes called in Valtteri Bottas – running in third – before team-mate Hamilton.

Red Bull followed as Verstappen boxed, causing Mercedes to react again, calling for "Hammer time" from their lead driver before bringing him in for a 2.1-second stop, the fastest of the three.

However, a flying out lap from Verstappen meant Hamilton could not quite get out ahead of his rival, instead settling in behind the Dutchman for a lengthy battle alongside Bottas.

Verstappen worked hard to keep Hamilton out of DRS range and gradually built a gap to the fading Silver Arrows that encouraged Red Bull to gamble with another stop and a switch to medium tyres.

Perez, who pitted after the other three, let Verstappen through to quickly take chunks out of the Mercedes lead, with Hamilton warned of a "painful" finish.

Bottas failed to hold Verstappen up, opening a gap for the rapid Red Bull and fuming at his team for delaying a second stop, with Perez soon following his team-mate through.

Red Bull cut it fine, but Verstappen eased past Hamilton on the penultimate lap after only a short tussle to land a significant blow in a thrilling title race.

Related items

  • Valencia 1-2 Real Madrid: Vinicius Junior and Benzema dig Ancelotti's men out of trouble Valencia 1-2 Real Madrid: Vinicius Junior and Benzema dig Ancelotti's men out of trouble

    Vinicius Junior and Karim Benzema rescued Real Madrid from a Mestalla deep hole as they stunned Valencia 2-1 after a quick-fire late double strike. 

    Carlo Ancelotti's visitors were second best for the first 80 minutes of the game and trailed to Hugo Duro's elegant finish, as former Getafe coach Jose Bordalas looked set to take his Valencia team top of the table. 

    A long unbeaten streak in LaLiga looked sure to end, but Vinicius struck a deflected leveller in the 86th minute and Benzema grabbed the winner two minutes later, silencing the home crowd as the ball went in off his shoulder. 

    The capital giants had won just one of their previous seven league games at Mestalla (D2 L4), but a never-say-die attitude has served them well in recent times, and it paid off once again. 

  • Bills bully Dolphins again after Tua goes down early Bills bully Dolphins again after Tua goes down early

    The Buffalo Bills got their 2021 NFL season up and running with a sixth straight win over the Miami Dolphins, who lost Tua Tagovailoa to a rib injury.

    Tipped by many to make the Super Bowl this year, the Bills endured an underwhelming start in defeat to the Pittsburgh Steelers, but a 35-0 success in Miami got them back on track.

    Buffalo benefited from Tagovailoa's departure early in the game, as he had to be carted back to the locker room after a hit from A.J. Epenesa when he attempted a short-range pass on fourth down.

    By that point, the second-year Dolphins quarterback had been sacked twice on a three-and-out opening drive before seeing Devin Singletary run 46 yards for the Bills' first touchdown.

    Josh Allen threw to Stefon Diggs for a second score, but Buffalo failed to add to their advantage in the remainder of a chaotic first half, epitomised by Levi Wallace's pick from back-up Miami QB Jacoby Brissett moments after receiving a penalty for taunting.

    Allen found his range again at the start of the third quarter as Dawson Knox made a low catch in the end zone – this the QB's seventh consecutive start against the Dolphins with multiple TD passes. Only Philip Rivers (against the Houston Texans) had previously enjoyed such a run against a single team.

    Miami were never in the game thereafter and Zack Moss added a pair of rushing scores with two bruising runs, the second after Allen was called just short.

    Super Cooper rescues Rams

    NFC West rivals the Los Angeles Rams and the San Francisco 49ers survived scares against the Indianapolis Colts and the Philadelphia Eagles respectively, each coming through to move to 2-0.

    The Rams were grateful to Cooper Kupp for his nine catches for 163 yards and two TDs – following 108 yards and a score last week – after a botched snap for a punt had gifted the Colts their first lead early in the fourth quarter. Carson Wentz ended the game on the sideline.

    Wilson woeful for Jets

    Zach Wilson's home debut for the New York Jets was a miserable one as he threw four interceptions in a defeat to the New England Patriots.

    Meanwhile, the Cincinnati Bengals paid the price for Joe Burrow's three interceptions from three consecutive passes – including a pick six – against the Chicago Bears, who were not punished for a shaky Justin Fields display after Andy Dalton's injury.

    Wilson's Jets predecessor Sam Darnold threw for 305 yards, two TDs and a pick in the Carolina Panthers' win over the New Orleans Saints.

  • Paris Saint-Germain 2-1 Lyon: Neymar and Icardi secure win on Messi's home debut Paris Saint-Germain 2-1 Lyon: Neymar and Icardi secure win on Messi's home debut

    Lionel Messi's home debut for Paris Saint-Germain ended in victory, the Ligue 1 leaders rallying for a 2-1 win over Lyon thanks to Neymar's penalty and a late goal from Mauro Icardi. 

    Lyon took the lead nine minutes after the break when Karl Toko Ekambi's teasing cross was met by a first-time finish from Lucas Paqueta. 

    PSG got themselves back on level terms with a 66th-minute penalty, Neymar converting from the spot after he was deemed to have been fouled in the box by Malo Gusto. 

    Substitute Icardi then popped up in added time at Parc des Princes to secure the points for the home side with a brilliant header from Kylian Mbappe's cross. 

    In a fervent atmosphere generated by the PSG supporters – the air thick with smoke from pyrotechnics prior to kick-off – Messi's early touches were roared by the home fans. 

    His first real chance came with an angled run into the area when unchecked and he was picked out by Ander Herrera, but Jason Denayer was able to get in a vital block. 

    PSG needed a goal-line header from Herrera moments later to keep out a fierce drive from Gusto as Lyon threatened at the other end. 

    Messi had his head in his hands just after the half-hour mark when he latched on to a backheel from Neymar inside the box, only for goalkeeper Anthony Lopes to save his clipped effort with his legs. 

    The Argentina international then struck the corner of the crossbar with a curling free-kick shortly afterwards as Lopes stood on his line motionless.  

    However, it was Lyon who went ahead early in the second half when Paqueta found space between Nuno Mendes and Marquinhos to crisply strike the ball beyond Gianluigi Donnarumma. 

    Neymar went down after he tussled with Gusto inside the area and then confidently sent Lopes the wrong way from the resulting penalty kick to level the score. 

    Messi saw an angled drive whistle just past the post before being replaced by Achraf Hakimi with 14 minutes left, but it was another sub in Icardi who made the biggest impact, nodding in during the dying moments. 

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.