F1 – Austrian GP – Race
Hallo, MiniFans! Austria woke up with rain, but it was all gone by the time Formula 1 took the stage. The track, home to some great racing in the past, was up and ready to go by the time the lights turned off.
The start itself was clean, with only a blocked tyre by a McLaren to call an incident, but halfway through the first lap the battle between Russell and Pérez turned into a small touch that pushed the Mexican driver into the gravel. He could continue but was dropped to last and headed to boxes to get hard tyres to try a different strategy to the rest of the field, as most were sporting mediums.
Verstappen started trying to open up a small gap, but Leclerc wasn’t giving up and he was soon all up Verstappen’s rear wing, not giving him an inch. The Monegasque managed a brilliant overtake on the championship leader and Verstappen’s answer was to pit for hards just a lap later.
In a repeat of Saturday, the Haas were the main characters in Hamilton’s race for the first handful of laps, until the British driver finally went past both of them. His happiness was short lived, though, as Verstappen soon overtook him in his quest to reach Leclerc, but Hamilton kept pushing, knowing the podium wasn’t that far off.
Both Ferrari eventually pitted almost halfway through the race, in an attempt to do just one stop, with Leclerc leaving the pits six seconds behind Verstappen and taking chunks away from the distance sector by sector, until he eventually overtook him easily. Red Bull decided their best course of action was to do a second stop and he dropped behind the other Ferrari as well.
The midfield battles became, once again, the most entertaining bit of the race. The track limits were being strictly enforced and white and black flags were being waved, to the distaste of the drivers. However, the fun was just about to begin, at least for some of them.
Sainz, who had arrived at the Red Bull Ring with his spirits up after winning in Silverstone, saw his car start to go up in flames after his car gave up on him. A virtual safety car was deployed, and panic settled in Ferrari, as Leclerc was soon reporting some problems as well in his Ferrari. Red Bull, always paying attention to other teams’ radio messages, was quick to inform Verstappen, who held out hope for another disaster at Ferrari.
This retirement propped Hamilton up into third place, while Leclerc was trying to nurse his car homw and not force it more than needed. However, the Monegasque managed to make it to the end, even with the small problems that were popping up.
Sports are emotional rollercoasters, and the Austrian Gran Prix is living proof of that. His up and down track was home to Carlos Sainz’s heartbreak, as his car gave up on him when he was on his way to earn another podium all dressed in red, but the orange army shone through in Red Bull’s home, and celebrated the second place of the championship leader as if it was a victory.