Max Verstappen was “amazed” by the ease of his victory in Austria, saying his Red Bull was “on rails” throughout the race.
After qualifying Lewis Hamilton predicted an easy cruise to victory at the Red Bull Ring for his title rival, and as it turned out, he was completely right.
The Dutchman led from the first lap to the chequered flag, finishing just shy of 18 seconds ahead of Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas to stretch his lead over Hamilton in the Drivers’ Championship to 32 points.
And it was a drive so dominant that even Verstappen himself was surprised.
“Incredible to be honest, the car was on rails. I mean on every tyre set that we put on, it was really enjoyable to drive. Pretty insane,” he told reporters after picking up his fifth race win of the season.
“I’m a bit amazed myself how today went. I didn’t expect it to be like this. Yeah, incredible job by everyone to deliver something like this.
“Of course, when you go into the weekend everyone sees you as the favourite but it’s never easy to always deliver what we did today. So, yeah, a great effort by the whole team and also by Honda. I think the whole package, these two weeks, especially here, has been incredible.”
What an incredible win! 🔥 Simply an amazing job by @redbullracing and @HondaRacingF1 🙏🏻 Let’s keep this up! Insane to see the Orange Army out in full force, this one was for you 🧡 #AustrianGP 🇦🇹 pic.twitter.com/fYxAuNpBDp
— Max Verstappen (@Max33Verstappen) July 4, 2021
Verstappen retained P1 at the start as he withstood the interest of Lando Norris, but soon after he had another restart to manage after Esteban Ocon brought out the Safety Car with his stricken Alpine.
But even that was cool and calm from Verstappen, who set about building his lead from there as he strode away from the rest of the pack.
“I just had to be awake at the start, that I had a little bit of a gap,” he explained.
“I knew that if I could go fast on lap one or the restart, I could do my own race. You always have to do that first, but today it’s been incredible.”
Verstappen made it the perfect weekend by taking 26 points away from the Red Bull Ring after setting the fastest lap of the Austrian GP, the fourth race in succession that he has claimed that honour.