Max Verstappen gave Red Bull fans a fantastic show on Sunday afternoon in Austria. The Dutchman started from pole position and sprinted ahead of the pack. However, his streak of laps lead (from the Miami Grand Prix on May 7) was broken when Charles Leclerc took the lead of the race following the first round of pit stops.
Lerclerc’s lead didn't last long though as the fast charging Verstappen blasted past the Ferrari with a brilliantly executed DRS overtake. Max showed his brilliance as he held back to get the DRS advantage before overtaking Leclerc to ensure that he could hold position on the following straight — something his teammate Sergio Perez took some time to figure out later in the race.
Speaking of Checo, the Mexican was in desperate need of a good result to boost his confidence. He has failed to reach Q3 in 5 out of 9 races this season. On Sunday though, he charged his way through the pack to finish in third place after starting the race in a lowly 15th place.
Carsos Sainz finished the race in 4th place as he couldn’t hold back the mighty pace of the Red Bull. Lando Norris put in an incredible performance to bring his McLaren home in 5th place. After qualifying in 3rd, it’s a strong showing from the British driver to seal his best performance of the season so far. It’s also put the team on a positive note heading into their home race next weekend.
The entire race was plagued by penalties though. The drivers struggled to keep their wheels within the white lines which kept the stewards busy all afternoon. Lewis Hamilton was especially frustrated as his penalty came extremely early on in the race.
Saturday’s Sprint was perhaps one of the best Sprint races that we’ve had so far. The race started in damp conditions with Max Verstappen being attacked by his teammate Sergio Perez right after the first corner.
Verstapped had two wheels on the grass as Checo aimed to prove himself against the championship leader. However in turn 3 it was Max who dove down the inside of Perez to retake the lead. From there, Verstappen showed his class as he pulled out a 23 second lead over the 24 lap race.
Behind him though, chaos reigned. The changing conditions meant that cars were struggling to keep their tires in check. George Russell pitted at the perfect time to fit soft tires to his car, making him an incredible 3 seconds a lap faster than the cars in front of him — he managed to fight his way through the pack again.
However in the end, the Red Bulls were too far ahead to be challenged by any of the cars on slick tires. The Sprint as a whole was exhilarating from start to finish, and it’s starting to show a lot more promise among F1 fans.
To round off the Grand Prix, Verstappen also pitted on the second last lap for a fresh set of soft tires. He went on to set the fastest lap of the race and finish 5 seconds ahead of Leclerc — he’s simply untouchable at the moment!
Red Bull Ring Mixes the Pack
The Red Bull ring mixed up the grid entirely. Ferrari were suddenly fast again — Charles Leclerc challenged for pole position and managed to put up somewhat of a fight against Verstappen. Carlos Sainz was even faster than Leclerc this weekend, but his race was hampered by a questionable Ferrari strategy.
Aston Martin was nowhere this weekend. Fernando Alonso and Lance Stroll were always close to each other out on track, even finishing within a second of each other in the Sprint race. However, they never looked threatening for a podium position. Stroll was also compromised by strategy in the Grand Prix, which set him back against his teammate.
Mercedes were also relatively quiet for the most part Hamilton had a shocker of a Sprint Shootout, getting his Merc into 18th place for the start of the Sprint. He showed some pace during the Sprint though and he says he enjoyed the race. However, the Brit was left frustrated during the Grand Prix. He was nursing a braking issue which meant that he was not only slower than usual, but he also couldn’t keep his car within track limits — leading to his penalty. During the race he even had to be calmed down by Toto Wolff as the frustration set in.
Silverstone Shake Up
Our hearts are still pounding from all the exciting action at the Red Bull Ring, but it’s already time for one of the biggest races of the year — Silverstone. Home to many Formula 1 teams, the British Grand Prix is always the sight of massive upgrade packages.
Mercedes have already confirmed that their biggest upgrade of the season will be brought out in Silverstone, so they might close the gap to Red Bull even further. The Aston Martin factory is located at Silverstone, so there will certainly be some massive upgrades for them too.
The British Grand Prix is going to be a thrilling one, make sure you don't miss out!