Max Verstappen no longer stops him: the Dutchman is a prophet in the homeland of Dietrich Mateschitz and wins the Styrian GP which is his fourth win of the season and his third in Spielberg. Max takes his 14th career victory from pole position and brings the world championship advantage over Lewis Hmilton to 18 points, who could not do anything against the RB16B.
The Englishman’s hopes were extinguished at the start, when Verstappen got off to a perfect start and walked away. Max was perfect by imposing a frenzied pace on the race that allowed only the magnificent four of the two top teams (Red Bull and Mercedes) to avoid the shame of dubbing. All the others play a sport apart: F1 is again broken into two sections, with a gap that grows for the pursuers.
Spielberg sanctions what is now a fact: Red Bull is more competitive than Mercedes. Milton Keynes’s car signs the fourth victory in a row and the black arrow confirms that he no longer has the pace: Hamilton to look for the fastest lap that is worth an additional point had to resort to the second pit stop at the penultimate lap which earned him the time of 1’07 “058 with soft tires under the checkered flag.
A move designed not to allow Red Bull to replicate with Verstappen, but the Dutchman does not need it because he is aware that he has the winning weapon in his hands. The second race will be held in Austria next week and could be a photocopy of today’s one. It is true that Mercedes in the Constructors’ championship lost only three points, but the difference with Milton Keynes’s team has reached 40 points, but it seems that the margin is bigger than the numbers say, at least today.
Hamilton has never been in the game: the defeat materialized already in qualifying and that’s what Brackley has to work on. Lewis continues to emphasize that the RB16B is faster on the straight and does not have enough tools to counter it, because it is evident that the black arrow is not keeping up.
Mercedes limited the damage thanks to the third place of Valtteri Bottas who managed to finish ahead of Sergio Perez despite starting behind him for the penalty of three positions on the grid for the spin in the pit lane on Friday. The Finn is once again important in the Stella team and, perhaps, is the most positive aspect of a weekend to forget for Toto Wolff and his associates.
Red Bull tried to bring Sergio Perez back to the podium with a pit stop on lap 54 after losing a few seconds too many at the first pit stop: the Mexican with the average tried to catch Bottas, but despite having a pace faster than two seconds per lap he only managed to get behind the Mercedes slipstream before the checkered band.
Lando Norris “wins” the others’ race with McLaren. The Englishman is very consistent and alone keeps the Woking team in third place in the Constructors’ World Championship. It seemed that he had an easy life, but who was to complicate the race for him, namely Ferrari hurt themselves. Charles Leclerc damaged the wing by rear-ending Pierre Gasly after the first corner: the innocent Frenchman was forced to retire, while the Monegasque had to return to the garage to change his nose. Having slipped 18th, Charles began a comeback that led him to be seventh in the final standings, just behind his teammate Carlos Sainz.
In Maranello they have little to rejoice with a sixth and seventh place, but the Red has shown that it has forgotten the “Caporetto” of France because the real SF21 was seen at the Red Bull Ring: it is a car that can compete for the third place McLaren. Without Leclerc’s mistake, the Rossa could have competed for fifth position with Norris. Ferrari did well to penalize qualifying yesterday to collect important points: the Scuderia recovered four points in the Constructors on McLaren. The team’s reaction after the transalpine disappointment was positive. There will be a way to make up for it next weekend even if the important exam will be Silverstone.
Lance Stroll is eighth with Aston Martin ahead of a consistent Fernando Alonso with Alpine: the Spaniard continues his positive streak, while Yuki Tsunoda gives Alpha Tauri a punch after Pierre Gasly went off stage on the first lap.
Kimi Raikkonen remained off the points with Alfa Romeo after an uninspiring grid position: the Finndese started with the hard bikes and built a good comeback. Everything else is just a side dish …