Lewis Hamilton won today's Styrian Grand Prix, with Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas in second and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen in third.
Ferrari fans look away now
This race had a lot to live up to following last weeks chaotic and
unpredictable race, and we certainly had an exciting opening lap as Charles
LeClerc crashed into his Ferrari teammate Sebastian Vettel on only the third
corner. It immediately ended Vettel’s race and he pulled into the pits with his rear
wing completely destroyed. LeClerc continued on for a further couple of laps, but
the damage was too severe and the second scarlet Ferrari was forced to retire
from the race. LeClerc held his hands up and took all the blame for the incident,
but it will do little to console the team, their fans, and Maranello back in Italy.
Williams highs and lows
George Russell got a good start in the Williams and they were confident
of being able to fight for points, but he tried a move around another car a couple of
laps in and lost it into the gravel, rejoining at the back of the race. He eventually
finished ahead of only his teammate Nicholas Latifi, in what was a quiet and
disappointing weekend for Williams.
“Did you like that man?
There were plenty of battles up and down the field for the remainder of
the race, with Racing Point’s Sergio Perez, involved of most of them it seemed.
The Mexican driver managed to finish in sixth place, despite damaging his front
wing with only a handful of laps left to go while fighting Red Bull’s Alex Albon for
Earlier in the race, just after his pit stop, Perez pulled off a magnificent
move around the outside of turn 6 on Carlos Sainz, which prompted a “Did you
like that man?” from Perez to his race engineer.
What happened in the midfield?
Lando Norris seized fifth place from Perez, with a fantastic move around the
outside of the final corner on the final lap, completing another good weekend for
McLaren. Lance Stroll in the second Racing Point and Daniel Ricciardo spent a lot
of the race fighting for position and it was Stroll who came out on top, finishing just
one-tenth of a second behind the Australian Renault driver. The other Renault was
forced to retire early on, with Esteban Ocon pulling into the garage with cooling
Carlos Sainz in the McLaren and Daniil Kvyat in the AlphaTauri
completed the top 10, but it was another disappointing weekend for Kimi
Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi in the two Alfa Romeos, failing to score.
Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen in the two Haas cars also had a weekend
to forget, finishing outside the top 10. Only Haas and Williams are yet to score
points this season.
What happened in the battle upfront?
Lewis Hamilton coolly controlled the race from the start and soon disappeared into the distance, with Max Verstappen unable to mount the challenge Red Bull hoped he would have been able to.
Valtteri Bottas moved into third place during the race and spent most of it hunting Verstappen down. It soon became known that the Red Bull driver was suffering from front wing damage, and although his defence of second place was a valiant one, Bottas eventually got past and Verstappen pitted for fresh tyres, in the hope of getting fastest lap, and
picking up the extra point that comes from getting the fastest lap.
With the podium finishers locked in, the attention turned to the battle for
fourth between Alex Albon and Sergio Perez. Perez stuck his Racing Point up the
inside of Albon’s Red Bull, but the pair made contact which left Perez with most of
his front wing missing. That was the error that led to Norris passing Perez on the
final lap for fifth, and the photo finish between Perez, Stroll, and Ricciardo, with the
Mexican, just hanging on to sixth.
How is the Championship looking now?
Two races in and it’s Valtteri Bottas who still leads the Driver Standings on 43 points with Lewis Hamilton up to second on 37. Lando Norris is a surprise third with LeClerc hanging on in fourth place despite the disastrous weekend for him. 4-time champion Sebastian Vettel is down in 15th with just one point to his name after a miserable start to the season.
In the Constructor Championship, Mercedes unsurprisingly lead the way,
with 80 points. McLaren are the team in second, although a long way behind
already on 39 points. Red Bull are third and Racing Point are fourth, with Ferrari
languishing down in fifth place.
Only Haas and Williams are yet to score as I said earlier.
Where is F1 heading next?
Formula One heads to Budapest in Hungary, for a race on the Hungaroring in one week’s time. It is a much different track to the circuit we have been at for the first two rounds; with the Hungaroring rewarding cars with more downforce, as opposed to power like Austria. This means we could yet see further upset up and down the grid, and I am very much looking forward to it!
Until next time, stay safe everyone!