Red Bull once again showed their prowess on their home track in Austria while Mercedes struggled a little less than they did at the Styrian Grand Prix.
It was another easy victory for Max Verstappen as the Dutchman thoroughly outpaced the Mercedes’ and the McLaren of Lando Norris. Verstappen was so far ahead that it was easy to forget that he was even in the race. At no point after the first lap was his lead challenged in the slightest. A fantastic result for the team at Red Bull.
Mercedes can take consolation in the fact that Valtteri Bottas managed to outpace Lewis Hamilton for what feels like the first time this season. Bottas probably jumped for joy when the team command came through telling him that he was allowed to race Lewis. He managed a solid P2 while Hamilton was losing pace due to some damage on the car and finished P4. Team Principal, Toto Wolff, stated that the race was more damage control than anything else and that in the next race at Silverstone, they are confident that they will be able to close the gap and come out ahead once again. Just another thing to look forward to.
But if the race belonged to anybody, it was McLaren. While the McLaren doesn’t have the race pace of Red Bull and Mercedes, with Lando Norris behind the wheel it makes little difference. He might have earned a penalty for pushing Sergio Perez off of the track but that didn’t stop him from earning P3. An astounding qualifying and an amazing race earned him Driver of the Day.
Daniel Ricciardo also managed to perform this weekend like I said he might. He seemed more comfortable on the track with the car and that’s likely due to him simply using the experience from the Styrian Grand Prix to better his performance. He didn’t have a great qualifying, but he made up for it on race day by finishing P7. A great race for Daniel Ricciardo. Hopefully he can keep this up, but I do believe that he will underperform at Silverstone.
Ferrari’s strategy was to go long and go long they did. Carlos Sainz performed phenomenally, taking P5 and ensuring Ferrari were still in the race after an underwhelming qualifying performance for both cars. Charles Leclerc suffered from multiple scuffles with Sergio Perez that saw him in the gravel twice, much to Leclerc’s chagrin. On the radio he sounded more than a little angry. These scuffles caused him to miss out on positions that otherwise would have been his had he not been stuck behind Perez. Overall, a decent performance from Ferrari.
George Russell had a simply brilliant qualifying. I had doubt about the hype surrounding Russell but now that doubt has been thoroughly wiped away. He took an uncompetitive Williams car and managed to get it into Q3. It looked like he would finally earn his first points but it seems that fate had different plans. Fernando Alonso in the Alpine, was a constant shadow to Russell and did eventually overtake the Brit, leaving Williams once again without any points.
Alpine did not have a great weekend. Esteban Ocon suffered during qualifying and once the race started, the lightest of touches with Antonio Giovinazzi destroyed his front tyre, forcing him to retire from the race again. It seems Alonso took Ocon’s constant outperformance of him personally and has since made great strides to outperform the Frenchman once again. I don’t understand Alipne’s confidence in Ocon, why they feel he had earned a four-year contract with the team is beyond me, but they probably know something I don’t.
AlphaTauri will be disappointed after such a strong qualifying and a strong early race. Yuki Tsunoda was right up there with Pierre Gasly in P7 and P6 respectively, but they lost out on due to their two-stop strategy and finished down in P9 for Gasly and P12 for Tsunoda. Absolutely devastating considering the impressive pace that they showed early on. Tsunoda’s rookie errors really cost him the race, especially considering that he received two penalties for exceeding the lines when entering the pit lane. If Tsunoda wants to improve, these are the kinds of mistakes he has to avoid.
The next Grand Prix will be in the United Kingdom on July 16-18 which I’m sure will continue to provide us with great racing.