A lacklustre race saw Max Verstappen clench his 14th race win of the year
Summary of the race
Max Verstappen started on pole. George Russell had a bad start and fell down to 4th from 2nd. Both Ferraris passed Valterri Bottas to become 5th and 6th. Daniel Ricciardo passed Zhou on lap 9. It was also a good start for Lance Stroll who gained five positions.
Pierre Gasly passed Stroll on lap 13, but it wasn’t a clean move. Therefore, Gasly got a five second time penalty for forcing Stroll off track. Sergio Perez pitted on lap 24 and had a slow stop, unusual for the Red Bull driver.
Carlos Sainz overtook Bottas and Fernando Alonso on lap 40. On lap 51 Ricciardo overtook Yuki Tsunoda but they had a collision. Tsunoda’s rear tire touched Ricciardo’s front tire, and was lifted into the air. Tsunoda therefore pitted and was out of the race. Ricciardo got a 10 second penalty for this collision.
Ricciardo then overtook both Alpines on lap 62 and finished 7th. Alonso’s engine lost power on lap 65 so a virtual safety car was deployed. Russell pitted near the end and got the fastest lap again. Verstappen won his 14th race of the season, breaking the record for the most races won. Hamilton was 2nd and Perez was 3rd. The driver of the day was Daniel Ricciardo.
I would give this race a 3/10 because nothing exciting really happened and the podium was the same as last year. The only remarkable moment was Ricciardo’s comeback drive where he placed higher than his teammate. The high altitude didn’t seem to have too much of an effect on the cars with only Alonso not finishing.
Red Bull had another stellar performance with Verstappen finishing 15 seconds ahead of second place. Perez was also on the podium for a second time at his home race. He wasn’t hindered by his slow pit stop, but couldn’t get past Hamilton. Ferrari had an unusual race with both cars not having the pace to keep up with Red Bull and Mercedes. They were mainly just racing on their own throughout, even though they had the same tire strategy as Red Bull.
Mercedes had some bad luck with Russell losing out on positions quickly at the start and was unable to overtake anymore cars. Both drivers were unhappy with the hard tires and the strategy, where Red Bull’s soft to medium tires proved the best. Hamilton drove well to score a podium, but the gap kept building so there wasn’t much he could do.
McLaren had both cars in the points which helped them in the constructors championship. Ricciardo drove an excellent race, overtaking multiple cars and making the best of his soft tires towards the end. Alpine had a more unfortunate race with Esteban Ocon sandwiched between the McLarens. Another reliability issue for Alonso meant the team did not score as many points as they could have.
Williams didn’t have a great race weekend with neither car finishing in the points. Haas had the same outcome, showing both teams were not suited to this track. Alfa Romeo saw Bottas finish in 10th, helping them lead their advantage in the constructors. Aston Martin also saw both cars not score any points. Lastly, Alpha Tauri and Gasly’s penalty yet again are a point of concern. If he gets anymore he will have a race ban, so we will have to see if the team is strategic in dealing with it.