Formula One F1 – Steiermark Grand Prix – Red Bull Ring, Spielberg, Styria, Austria – June 27, 2021. Red Bull’s Max Verstappen celebrates on the podium after winning the race alongside second place Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton, third place Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas and Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko. [REUTERS/Lisi Niesner]

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen won the Styrian Grand Prix by a massive margin on Sunday to power 18 points clear of Lewis Hamilton in the Formula One championship battle.

Verstappen led from start to finish at Austria’s Red Bull Ring, with seven-times world champion Hamilton second for Mercedes.

The Briton was 35.743 seconds behind at the chequered flag after a late stop for fresh tyres to bag a bonus point for fastest lap.

It was the first time since 2013 that mighty Mercedes had gone four races in a row without a win and the first time since then that Red Bull had celebrated four successive victories.

“Unbelievable. The car was on fire today,” said Verstappen over the team radio after the 23-year-old Dutch driver’s fourth win in eight races this season, second in a row and 14th of his career.

“You never know how it’s going to end up but straight away I felt a good balance in the car,” he added after stepping out of the car.

“It was good to manage the tyres from the start. It felt like to the end that I had tyres left. ”

Valtteri Bottas was third for Mercedes, just holding off Verstappen’s Mexican team mate Sergio Perez, who had fresher tyres, by a mere 0.527.

Everybody else was lapped by Verstappen, who started on pole and has now won more races than anyone else this year as Red Bull emerge as the biggest threat to Mercedes since the start of the V6 turbo hybrid era in 2014.

“That is the most dominant win we’ve had so far this year,” said Red Bull team boss Christian Horner.

Formula One F1 – Steiermark Grand Prix – Red Bull Ring, Spielberg, Styria, Austria – June 27, 2021. Red Bull’s Max Verstappen celebrates after winning the race. [REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger]

Red Bull are now 40 points ahead of Mercedes in the constructors’ championship.

“It was a bit of a lonely race really,” said Hamilton. “I was trying to keep up with those guys but the speed they have, they’ve obviously made some big improvements over the last couple of races and it’s impossible to keep up.

“I think their long run seems to be a bit better…it feels like we lose a lot down the straights.”

The scenic Spielberg circuit hosts another race next weekend, the Austrian Grand Prix.

McLaren’s Lando Norris finished fifth with Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc sixth and seventh respectively.

Canadian Lance Stroll was eighth for Aston Martin, ahead of Alpine’s Fernando Alonso and Japanese rookie Yuki Tsunoda taking the final point for AlphaTauri.

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