Race Report: Verstappen takes Austrian GP victory for Red Bull

RED BULL RING, AUSTRIA - JULY 02: Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing, 3rd position, and Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing, 1st position, on the podium during the Austrian GP at Red Bull Ring on Sunday July 02, 2023 in Spielberg, Austria. (Photo by Steven Tee / LAT Images)

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.

Win

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.

Fail

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.

WTH

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:

POSNODRIVERCARLAPSTIME/RETIREDPTS
11Max VerstappenRED BULL RACING HONDA RBPT711:25:33.60726
216Charles LeclercFERRARI71+5.155s18
311Sergio PerezRED BULL RACING HONDA RBPT71+17.188s15
44Lando NorrisMCLAREN MERCEDES71+26.327s12
514Fernando AlonsoASTON MARTIN ARAMCO MERCEDES71+30.317s10
655Carlos SainzFERRARI71+31.377s8
763George RussellMERCEDES71+48.403s6
844Lewis HamiltonMERCEDES71+49.196s4
918Lance StrollASTON MARTIN ARAMCO MERCEDES71+59.043s2
1010Pierre GaslyALPINE RENAULT71+67.667s1
1123Alexander AlbonWILLIAMS MERCEDES71+79.767s0
1224Zhou GuanyuALFA ROMEO FERRARI70+1 lap0
132Logan SargeantWILLIAMS MERCEDES70+1 lap0
1431Esteban OconALPINE RENAULT70+1 lap0
1577Valtteri BottasALFA ROMEO FERRARI70+1 lap0
1681Oscar PiastriMCLAREN MERCEDES70+1 lap0
1721Nyck De VriesALPHATAURI HONDA RBPT70+1 lap0
1820Kevin MagnussenHAAS FERRARI70+1 lap0
1922Yuki TsunodaALPHATAURI HONDA RBPT70+1 lap0
NC27Nico HulkenbergHAAS FERRARI12DNF0
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charlie w

You need to amend the article and add the FIA stewards to the FAIL paragraph. Hours after the race, they changed the overall results by handing out many 5-second penalties to drivers for track limits. Managers from every team except RedBull should go after the FIA, Lewis Hamilton and Lando Norris. Every road course circuit remaining on the schedule should rip up every square meter of off track run-off pavement for the coming F1 race.

Last edited 10 months ago by charlie w
Paul Kiefer

I’ll call this a “fail” for the stewards and Race Control. It felt like they made it more about themselves than the race.

Fred

Obviously they are going to have to do something about these track limits. Better monitoring, changes to the track or even the rules I don’t know but this just isn’t working out as it stands.

Last edited 10 months ago by Fred
Paul Kiefer

If I had my ‘druthers, I’d rather make Turns 9 and 10 one big long sweeper instead of two sharp turns. Obviously, those cars can’t handle the speed at that spot and still keep it on the track.

Last edited 10 months ago by Paul Kiefer
Tim C.

I’ll take the opposite point of view. These are supposedly some of the best drivers in the world. They all know there are track limits and the stewards are watching. So . . . then stay within the track limits. For me, it’s just that simple. If there was a gravel trap right next to the track limit, I’m fairly confident they would find a way to stay within the track limit during the race. I do agree that changing all these positions after the race is a bit silly. But, on the other hand, there were a few drivers… Read more »

Neil Clarke

I think that the idea for bringing back gravel traps should be looked into a lot more by the FIA. Failing that, they could look at making the run off areas highly abrasive to the tyres, not to the point of bursting them, but maybe taking a lap or two out of the life of them might work. Failing that, just build a wall there and treat it like Monaco.

Fabio

I would also like to defend the idea of track limits, I would agree with the teams that it’s hard to see where the white line is from inside the car, but they do seem to be able to avoid the line when it’s raining as they know they’ll go spearing off if they go over them. Also, the argument that, well everybody else is doing so therefore there’s no advantage, doesn’t really hold water does it? Is the system perfect? No, of course not. Can it be improved? Absolutely. That doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t enforce they system we… Read more »

Matt

I don’t think there is a problem with track limits but if you are going to call them make sure you can call them.

If the system isn’t good enough to work then don’t use it.