The Austrian Grand Prix is only 2.6 miles long and it only has 10 turns but what might look easy on a track map is actually a very challenging race. With only ten turns, it means that each one has to be perfect and with all the white line penalties putting a serious tarnish on the proceedings, it was still happy hunting grounds for Red Bull’s Max Verstappen who took his 42nd win of his career.
Max gave Red Bull a home win as he crossed the line followed by a resurgent Ferrari of Charles Leclerc and fellow Red Bull teammate, Sergio Perez. It’s Max’s 5th win in Austria and his 7th win of the season.
A win for Red Bull and Max Verstappen who maximized their point haul, no pun intended, with the win and fastest lap. Sergio PERez also had a very good recovery drive to the podium which is good for the team but unlike Max, Sergio made life hard for himself by trying to pass Carlos Sainz just before the DRS detection line and this took several laps to remedy which may have hobbled his shot at P2.
A win for Ferrari and Charles Leclerc for a return to the podium but there are still too many moments with Leclerc’s unforced error on Saturday’s Sprint race and Carlos Sainz getting a track limit penalty during the race. Still, it was a well-managed race for Leclerc and he says the car feels better but they are still lacking pure pace and that was the issue for Sunday more than the traditional issue they face which is tire wear.
A win for McLaren’s Lando Norris who finished P5 by putting in a terrific drive all weekend long. Whether is was the recent upgrades or the track or both that flattered the car, the point is Lando did a terrific job while his teammate languished near last place. A much needed result for the team and for Lando.
A bit of a fail for Mercedes who just didn’t have the car in Austria. George Russell has been struggling of late while Lewis Hamilton spent most of the race on his radio complaining about his track limits penalty and asking why no one else in front of him was getting a penalty. At one point it sounded like he wanted to park his car and become a guest steward so he could start calling penalties. So much so, Toto Wolff had to radio Lewis and tell him to shut up and drive the car…I’m paraphrasing but that’s basically what it meant.
A fail for Aston Martin who also didn’t have the pace in Austria and their strategy didn’t help thing much with Lance Stroll on a. 3-stopper. Makes you wonder why, with Fernando Alonso leading in the driver’s championship, the team didn’t move Lance on Saturday to maximize his points. Odd call.
A fail for Haas F1 who had terrific result during qualifying and even decent result on Saturday but were last on Sunday.
A fail for Ferrari who kept Carlos on the same strategy as Leclerc even though he had more pace than Charles for most of the weekend with the exception of Friday’s qualifying. This frustrated Carlos and makes you wonder what the team needs to do to get their race strategy and race engineering improved.
Not quite sure all the track limit penalties is really needed as it added a gritty film on an otherwise very good race with terrific battles such as Perez and Sainz. While the rest of the F1 fan world is screaming for track limit consistency, I’m not one of them. Sure, you can gain time in turn 9 and 10 by running wide but if everyone is doing it then it’s not really a big time gain. Penalties are a dingy veneer on a race that I’d rather not see.
The 1,200 track limit infractions meant the stewards spent all their time reviewing track limits which is just silly. I agree with Christian Horner and Lewis Hamilton:
“I think it made us as a sport look a little bit… when you’ve got so many infringements, it’s a bit amateurish,” said Red Bull team boss Christian Horner.
“The problem is, it’s very difficult for the drivers because they can’t see the white line from the car, so you’re just purely doing it on feel and the circuit invites you to go there.”
“It’s strange to be driving and have to almost comment on the car ahead [and point out potential track limits breaches] because that’s what the team ask you to do,” said Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton, who was among those penalised.
“I think they did it in Austin a few years ago. It’s not racing, right?
“That’s not motorsport. That’s not racing.”
Pirelli Tire Story:
Max Verstappen topped every single results sheet from the Austrian Grand Prix weekend, picking up the maximum 34 points in this ninth round of the World Championship. The Dutchman permitted himself the luxury of an unplanned pit stop with just two laps remaining to secure the extra point for the race fastest lap. Today, Sergio Perez made his second appearance of the weekend on the podium, with a fine charge through the field to finish third, after his second place finish yesterday. Scuderia Ferrari drivers also visited the podium twice with Carlos Sainz third in yesterday’s short race and Charles Leclerc taking the runner-up spot this afternoon, to secure his second podium finish of the season. It was also the 800th time that a Ferrari driver has stood on an F1 podium.
The race was run on a dry track and the temperatures were slightly lower than on Friday afternoon with the air at 24 °C and the track at 32 °C. The strategies adopted matched the previous day’s predictions. The Soft (C5) was hardly used at all, with the exception of Verstappen’s final assault on the fastest race lap. The kilometres completed were thus fairly equally divided between the Hard (C3,) 54.55% of the total laps completed and the Medium (C4), 45.3%.
Predictions relating to the number of stops and their windows of operation were also confirmed, with a two-stop proving to the be the quickest strategy, especially for those running two sets of Medium and one of Hard.
The longest stint was 36 laps from Kevin Magnussen on the Hard, while Nyck De Vries did the most (33) on the Medium.
Austrian GP Results:
|1||1||RED BULL RACING HONDA RBPT||71||1:25:33.607||26|
|3||11||RED BULL RACING HONDA RBPT||71||+17.188s||15|
|5||14||ASTON MARTIN ARAMCO MERCEDES||71||+30.317s||10|
|9||18||ASTON MARTIN ARAMCO MERCEDES||71||+59.043s||2|
|12||24||ALFA ROMEO FERRARI||70||+1 lap||0|
|13||2||WILLIAMS MERCEDES||70||+1 lap||0|
|14||31||ALPINE RENAULT||70||+1 lap||0|
|15||77||ALFA ROMEO FERRARI||70||+1 lap||0|
|16||81||MCLAREN MERCEDES||70||+1 lap||0|
|17||21||ALPHATAURI HONDA RBPT||70||+1 lap||0|
|18||20||HAAS FERRARI||70||+1 lap||0|
|19||22||ALPHATAURI HONDA RBPT||70||+1 lap||0|