Fifth win of the season for the Dutchman of Red Bull
FROM THE ENROLLMENT TO SPIELBERG. A walk in the Styrian hills, this is the difficulty level for Max Verstappen in the Austrian Grand Prix. Pole position, fastest lap, victory: there is no story at the RedBullRing. Dragged by a crowd in orange t-shirts (the GP was open doors), the Red Bull driver immediately creates, as he has been doing for some time now, an advantage of about ten seconds over his rivals and manages it calmly to the finish. The impression is that he runs far below his and the car’s capabilities. An impression that becomes certain when he stops ten laps from the end to change tires and also take the point of the fastest lap, and trim the best lap two seconds.
It is his third win in a row, the fifth for Red Bull, and the corresponding fifth consecutive defeat for Mercedes that sees the title go away. In the constructors ‘standings, Red Bull has a 44-point lead, while in the drivers’ standings Verstappen commands more than 32 (in 2016 Lewis slipped to minus 33 over Rosberg, who then took the title).
Behind Verstappen the race is close. Norris accompanies Perez off the track and takes a 5 ” (heavy) penalty, Perez suffers the same penalty twice for pushing Leclerc into the gravel. These are episodes that in the end do not change the story, even if they make it less fun, because the duels are punished.
Hamilton in crisis
Hamilton damages the car on a curb, loses performance and is fourth at the finish. Bottas even passes it, who finishes in second place ahead of Norris, best on the track with McLaren. After sacrificing qualifying on purpose by choosing medium tires (slower), Ferrari remedies Sainz’s fifth place (nice overtaking Ricciardo on the last lap) and Leclerc’s eighth. The race ends with a bad accident between world champions fighting for 12th place: Raikkonen does not see Vettel and spurs him on the straight. Shattered cars and drivers called up for the race.
The words of the protagonists
Verstappen: «An unreal race from how pleasant it was, I’m even surprised. Everyone thought of us as favorites, but it’s never easy to go from predictions to facts. Nice to see all that orange in the stands, it gives me great motivation ». Norris: “The commissioners were too strict. They have to understand that these are the races. Perez made a fool of himself trying to pass me outside, he went to look for space where there was none. Without the 5 ” penalty I would have been second ». Hamilton: «Rematch at Silverstone? We will probably gain some ground, but not to close the gap. Red Bull is well ahead of us and its advantage will not diminish quickly ». Sainz: «It was difficult to overtake Ricciardo, because the McLaren exiting the corners has so much power. We struggle where there are many straights. Tuesday’s match between Italy and Spain? I’ll see her in Maranello with the team, I’m afraid I’ll be the only one to cheer on Spain ».
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