F1 – Austrian GP – Sprint race
Hallo, MiniFans! After a couple of seasons visiting the Red Bull Ring twice, this year we arrive in Spielberg with another twist. The Austrian track welcomes the second sprint race of the season inn a moment when the tension in Ferrari is at an all time high and Red Bull wants to get back to the front after a less than ideal British GP for Verstappen.
Just as the race was about to celebrate the formation lap, a yellow flag was waved in the straight, signalling Alonso’s position, whose car still had the tyre blankets on and was propped up. He was pushed into the pitlane and the cars completed their lap only to be witnesses to an aborted start, as Zhou’s car had problems. A lap was taken from the total of 24, another formation lap was done and the race finally went underway.
The first corners were a fight between the Ferrari drivers, as Sainz managed to get past Leclerc, but his happiness would be short lived and the drivers went back to their original places, with Leclerc being the one starting to try and not let Verstappen get away. Further back, Gasly had jumped after he touched Hamilton’s front tyre with his rear, but he could continue without problems. Meanwhile, Pérez had managed to get up to ninth in his quest to climb up as far as possible to earn a good place for tomorrow’s race.
A time penalty for Albon was announced, due to pushing Norris out of the track, but the battle was at the front, between the Ferrari drivers. Neither of them was giving up until Sainz backed down, as the real difference was of one point and one grid position for Sunday and the fight wasn being quite fierce. While this was going on, Pérez was slowly but surely overtaking cars, but Hamilton was having problems even to overtake both Haas, whom Pérez had passed almost instantly.
The first (and only) yellow flag of the session was prompted by Vettel almost getting stuck in the gravel after an incident with Albon, but his ability at the wheel of an F1 car helped him to engage reverse to get out and prevent a red flag from making an appearance. He could rejoin the race
Haas was pulling a great team effort, as Magnussen was staying close enough to Schumacher so that the young German could use the DRS to keep Hamilton behind him, but, eventually, Magnussen pulled away just enough for Schumacher to lose the small advantage of the DRS and Hamilton could finally, after many laps, get past one of the Haas and make himself comfortable in the last point-scoring position.
At the front, things had settled just a couple laps in, and the predicted winner, Verstappen, was the first to cross the finish line before an orange fog invaded the track at certain corners. Ferrari kept their second and third places after the initial fight, all of them knowing that one more or less point wouldn’t change as much as a possible crash would.
MiniDrivers – F1 –
2022 Austrian GP
Sprint races are here to, apparently, stay, and the change in the number of points awarded doesn’t seem as if it has modified the hunger of the drivers heading into it, as it still determines grid position for Sunday’s race and that is still regarded as more important than a single extra point.