F1 memories: hometown disadvantage at the Austrian Grand Prix

If there’s one thing we’ve learned this year, it’s that it’s not over until it’s over. This year’s F1 Austrian Grand Prix was anything but the Max Verstappen show it should have been, even with the sprint results. Thrills, spills and the return of that Ferrari fighting spirit we saw at the beginning of the year: all we know is that if the season goes on a roller coaster, we’re in for a pretty interesting second half of the season. . I hope you have your anxiety pills ready.

Qualifying on Friday, thanks to the format of the sprint weekend, revives the situation a little. Teams have limited time to tweak and improve performance, and if you miss a workout, even one of them, you won’t have much time to pick up speed. That’s why it’s exciting, and that’s why the sprint weekend should stay.

With another poor qualification by Daniel Ricciardo who failed to make it past the first quarter, and the news that IndyCar star Colton Herta will be testing the 2021 McLaren in Portimão this week, the pressure on Daniel Ricciardo can be expected to increase by the day. race.

But then again, diamonds are made under pressure, and Daniel knows it. Mercedes, however, were left with balls in their face after Russell and Hamilton crashed in Q3, resulting in a round of applause from the traveling Dutch fans – a bad reflection, if ever, and something no one wants to see. Pole won Verstappen, followed by Leclerc and Sainz. The Dutchman clicks at the very end, punching orange smoke bombs.

Does it smell like team spirit?

Let’s forget for a moment that Max Verstappen set the checkered flag goal from the start, despite Leclerc’s daring kick early on. Both Ferrari and Haas have similar issues with riders not working together in certain situations, but for now we’ll focus on the gallop team as it was an interesting development that was coming to an end.

Now I’m ready to fight a little, but the classic problem of the Formula 1 driver has surfaced. Win at any cost. The logical solution would be to team up and go after Max. Defense slows both of you down. Data. Why then were they fighting each other?

Let’s not discuss issuing command orders. Surely it’s in their best interest to work together, pushing each other to get to Verstappen and then battle it out, giving the team the best chance of winning?

They fought because they put their plans first. Simply put. Carlos wants to prove he’s better than Charles, and the dreamy Leclerc wants to keep proving he’s the best Ferrari driver. It’s only a matter of time before we repeat the Red Bull scenario of Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel at the 2010 Turkish Grand Prix when the two paired up against each other. Or again the incident with Hamilton and Rosberg at the 2016 Spanish Grand Prix. At the end of the sprint, Verstappen was in first place, Leclerc in second and Sainz in third.

Special Race

Sunday afternoon the birds are in the oven while we get ready to race. Compared to the massacre at Silverstone, in this start, everyone went clean into the first turn – not what we are used to. Sergio Pérez’s runaway form in the sprint race going back from 13th to 5th was wiped out after he made contact with George Russell on the first lap, pulled into the Red Bull pit lane and then decided to write off car after damage to the side nacelle.

It all looked like whitewashing Red Bull and Verstappen before the start of the Grand Prix, but Ferrari seemed to have other plans and whatever team boss Mattia Binotto told Leclerc worked and it was almost as if they scored him back. , returning to the form we saw at the start of the season. It’s brilliant to see and shows you the fickle nature of this sport at its best. You can never predict anything.

Can we all just take a moment and appreciate Leclerc’s pass to Verstappen on lap 12? A rare case of a Dutchman either slumbering or admitting defeat at the moment. Tire wear issues for Red Bull meant that Verstappen was likely to be a two-stop plan, and then Ferrari’s early move meant Red Bull needed an early stop, putting them at a disadvantage.

Tracking limits everything

As we saw throughout the weekend and across all support races, including F2 and the Porsche Super Bowl, the ease of overcoming the track’s limitations proved too much of a temptation for most drivers at the Red Bull Ring.

There are opposing views on this, but I think we should leave things as they are. This sets the bait, and those drivers who stick to the restrictions are rewarded, as opposed to the other side of the conversation that corners shouldn’t have extra asphalt on the other side of the curb. Where is the fun in this?

But back to racing. I think we can safely put an end to the conversation about whether these new cars will be able to provide close racing, which we wanted. Another example to support this argument is the five-card dice game on lap 24 between Schumacher, Zhou, Magnussen, Alonso and Norris. Further on, at the sharp end of the field, Ferrari looked to double Verstappen’s pass when Sainz’s Ferrari engine gave out on lap 57, setting off a fire and some pretty dramatic scenes. And again luck accompanies the Spaniard. Racing, huh?

The Virtual Safety Car prompted Leclerc and Verstappen to act quickly, pit and install a new set of medium-soft tires. Mick Schumacher rode the waves of inertia with his second point. What a wonderful young talent he turned out to be.

Despite Verstappen launching the attack at the last minute, with Charles Leclerc stuck on the accelerator, it wasn’t enough as Charles re-ignited (bad pun considering Sainz’s misfortune, I know) the championship battle and caused a stir with a thirsty blood fan base. Leclerc finished first, followed by Verstappen in second and the solid Hamilton in third.

We are now looking forward to the French Grand Prix at Paul Ricard on July 24th and may be the last time we see a Grand Prix there, if Kyalami has anything to do with it. Wink, wink, wink…