Max Verstappen won for the fifth time in Austria
Red Bull's Dutch driver took a confident start-to-finish victory in Spielberg in a penalty-ridden race.
Thanks to the sprint formula of the weekend, the Austrian race weekend offered many interesting things even before the race, and the Sunday grand prix crowned the weekend. On Saturday, the rain provided real excitement, but today it was not possible to expect difficult conditions from the weather - although perhaps this was not necessary.
During the last year, Ferrari made strategic mistakes many times. This year, this has been less typical so far, but what was seen at the beginning of the race again raises questions. After the start, the two Ferrari drivers battled through corners. In the end, Sainz couldn't overtake Leclerc, however, he was never outside of 1 second and his pace seemed particularly good. Then Ferrari prohibited attacking. This is where the first question arises: why didn't Ferrari use the common practice of changing drivers, testing whether the one behind is faster.
The next question point is the double-stack pit stop. This is strange because the distance between the two drivers was smaller in time than an average pit stop, so the loss of time for the second rider (in this case Carlos Sainz) was certain. In addition, the two pit stops were much longer than average, so the Spanish driver could only get back behind the Norris-Hamilton duo.
Although Sainz's 6th place was ultimately due to the penalties for my continuous disregard of the track limits, Ferrari's strategy probably didn't help either.
The meeting between Sainz and Perez, who was trying to move up from 15th place, proved to be the highlight of the race. The battle between the two was eye-catching over turns. Both were sportsmanlike but aggressive. At first Perez tried to use the strength of the car, but he overtook the Spaniard too soon, who was able to overtake him. In the end, Perez overtake Sainz without giving him chance to overtake back. This battle was the real essence of Formula 1, Perez also spoke positively after the race.
Haas' weakness throughout the year is the Sunday race and the biggest loser is usually Nico Hülkenberg, who qualifies in a better place than Magnussen. It was the same this weekend, Hülkenberg took 8th position on Friday, but dropping down as regularly was not the worst thing that happened to him during the race, as he had to stop his car due to a technical fault.
MCLAREN'S STEP FORWARD
McLaren brought significant innovations to Austria, which were tested on Lando Norris' car. They brought the long-awaited step forward, perhaps even greater than expected.
In addition to Norris' brilliance this weekend, Spielberg is a very loved track for the Brit, and he always does better than average here. The performance of the car and Norris resulted in two successful qualifying sessions and a successful race on Sunday. The progress can continue at Silverstone, where Piastri will also receive the innovations, making the most interesting question of the weekend how much progress this will mean for McLaren overall.
Due to the characteristics of the track, there was an incredible amount of deleted laps and penalties that were handed out by the Stewards during the the qualifications and the Sunday race. There can be no complaints about the regularity, all penalties were handed out according to the rules, but at the same time, the amount calls into question whether the rule is good or realistic. This will certainly be considered in the future.
Although Max Verstappen's victory was not in question, there was plenty of action behind him, and the beautiful Austrian circuit provided an interesting race.