Max won a thrilling French Grand Prix that went to the wire and Sergio made it a double podium, the first for Red Bull Racing this season. It meant that, for the first time since 1991, Honda powered cars have taken three consecutive wins.
It was a thrilling race decided by strategy and plenty of close fighting, and there were also points for Scuderia AlphaTauri in the competitive midfield.
After his crash at the start of qualifying on Saturday, we were required to change Yuki’s gearbox but also his floor for one of a different specification to the one used in qualifying. With suspension set-up changes too, that necessitated a pit lane start for him, meaning he could only join the race once the last car had cleared the pit lane exit.
Yuki started on medium tyres like the other three Honda-powered cars who all qualified on that compound yesterday, with rain on Sunday morning clearing to ensure a dry start.
Starting from pole position, Max retained his lead off the line but then a snap of oversteer at Turn 1 forced him to miss Turn 2 and yield the lead to Lewis Hamilton, with Sergio and Pierre holding station in fourth and sixth respectively.
In the opening few laps, Yuki made rapid progress to clear both Haas and Williams drivers after his pit lane start, and was first of our cars to make a pit stop as he switched to hard tyres on lap 15.
Pierre was next to stop on lap 17, responding to a threat from Daniel Ricciardo but unfortunately losing a position in the pit stop phase, while Max then came in on lap 18 in reaction to a Mercedes stop. Red Bull nailed this portion of the race as Max kept Valtteri Bottas at bay and then jumped Hamilton a lap later to regain the net lead, although Sergio went until lap 24 before pitting and rejoining in fourth.
With Max in the lead, he was under pressure from Hamilton and all drivers were worrying about tyre degradation, so Red Bull made the brave call to make another pit stop on lap 32, with Max stopping from the lead to fit medium tyres and try to chase down the top three.
Sergio allowed Max through to hunt down the Mercedes pair and after setting a number of fastest laps, Max closed in and overtook Bottas for second with nine laps remaining. There was still a big gap to Hamilton though, and he continued the chase while Sergio caught Bottas and made a brave move around the outside of the high-speed Signes corner to take third place.
Eventually Max got onto the leader’s tail with two laps to go and swept past Hamilton with a decisive move a lap and a half from the end to take his third victory of the season. With the fastest lap as well, he extends his championship lead to 12 points.
After a close fight with Lando Norris, Pierre managed to overtake the Ferrari drivers with some strong moves, taking what would prove to be seventh place from Carlos Sainz on lap 36. From there he closed in on the McLaren pair ahead and was right on Daniel Ricciardo’s gearbox on the final lap but had to settle for six points after another impressive drive.
Yuki’s progress saw him rise as high as 11th place at one stage but after being one of the first drivers to make a pit stop his tyres faded late on and he was eventually classified 13th.
With Red Bull scoring 41 out of a maximum possible 44 points, the lead in the constructors’ championship has also been extended to 37 points over Mercedes, while AlphaTauri remains fifth but gained six points compared to Ferrari ahead.