Verstappen on top for the second time at Grosser Preis Von Österreich 2021
Having led the race from the start, it seemed as if Max Verstappen faced no real threat from behind. He cruised to the finish line with seemingly enough time for an added pit stop before going on to grab the points for the fastest lap. Verstappen was even able to peel away from the rest of the pack after the safety car was deployed after Alpine’s Esteban Ocon retired because of contact with the Alfa Romeo of Antonio Giovinazzi.
The strong pace was indeed an added advantage over the rest of the field as Honda saw this fifth consecutive win become their longest winning streak in the turbo-hybrid era. While Verstappen had a rather easy day at the Red Bull Ring, the orange army had to witness Sergio Perez struggle to make his way up the podium after losing positions during the restart.
In an attempt to get past the McLaren of Lando Norris, Perez was allegedly pushed off the track which resulted in a 5-second penalty for Norris. This however wasn’t the end of the Red Bull driver’s problems as he too incurred penalties for contact with Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari. As he crossed the chequered flag on his 200th Grand Prix race, Perez managed to finish P6.
This latest win makes it back-to-back victories for Red Bull at their home track in Spielberg and keeps Max Verstappen up on top of the driver’s championship and Red Bull on top of the constructor’s championship.
Yet another podium finish for Valtteri Bottas
With his position at Mercedes for the 2022 season facing the threat of replacement by in-form George Russell, Valtteri Bottas must prove his worth on the track, and he’s showing everyone that he still has what it takes to help Mercedes get back on top again.
He made an improvement from his last race result and managed to finish P2 after taking advantage of the time penalty given to Lando Norris and the problems faced by teammate Lewis Hamilton and Red Bull’s Sergio Perez.
With his fourth podium of the season, Bottas currently sits in 6th place in the driver’s championship, behind Sergio Perez and Lando Norris. Having scored his last win at the 2020 Russian Grand Prix, the Finn is making great strides to keep his seat with the team. However, will that be enough to ensure he retains his seat in the Silver Arrows?
Sheer Masterclass from Lando Norris
It was all smiles for Lando Norris, as on Saturday, he put on his best qualifying performance to date to start on the front row in P2. Getting away with a good start, Norris soon found the Red Bull of Sergio Perez on his heels after the safety car restart.
As their battle for P2 ensued, Perez tried getting ahead on the outside of turn 4 but was run off the track and found himself in the gravel as Norris didn’t budge. This resulted in him dropping down in positions. In the eyes of the stewards, the mistake was Norris’ and he was given a time penalty. While he was serving that penalty during his pit stop, Valtteri Bottas managed to get ahead and went on to hold P2.
Norris went on to pass Lewis Hamilton who was facing aerodynamic damage, to seal a podium finish at P3. His efforts did not go in vain as he now sits 4th in the driver’s championship and helped keep some distance between McLaren and Ferrari in the constructor’s championship. Norris’ drive even earned him “Driver of the day” as he indeed impressed fans all over and is still the only driver to score points in every race this season.
Will the heartbreak ever end for George Russell?
Having put himself into Q3 for the first time as a Williams driver, George Russell looked on point to score the first-ever points for Williams since Robert Kubica did in 2019. At the Styrian Grand Prix last week, he was forced to retire having faced a mechanical issue. This time, he was back and looked ever more determined to put himself on the points table.
Even though he started P8, he began losing positions in Lap 1. Despite this, he made a good recovery and was in 10th place towards the end of the race. His first points for the team were within reach before a late overtake by Fernando Alonso in the Alpine put Russell in P11.
After the race, the Spaniard said that he was hoping that it would have been a different driver that he had snatched the final points away from. Russell was applauded by the two-time world champion, who in the post-race interview even said,’…he will have the opportunity to step on podiums and fight for race wins in the future if he goes to Mercedes, so it’s going to be different times for him.’
Will George Russell make it to Mercedes is the big question. If not ‘will’ it’s ‘when’ as Mercedes boss Toto Wolff says a decision will be made over the summer to decide who will partner 7-time world champion, Lewis Hamilton. With this much potential in a Williams, little can be left to imagine what the Mercedes junior driver may do behind the wheel of a Silver Arrow.
The championship race
Despite the troubles of Red Bull’s Sergio Perez and the damage to Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes, positive results from the respective team’s other drivers saw both teams retain their positions in the constructors with the former staying on top of the list with 286 points. With his latest win, Max Verstappen yet again manages to stay ahead in the driver’s championship standings with 182 points. Lewis Hamilton trails not far behind with 150 points. McLaren manages to stay ahead of Ferrari with the results of this race, but the Scuderia look strong on the track and are likely to not give up the fight for third place easily.
With F1 moving on from the Grosser Preis Von Österreich 2021, what can be expected of the teams? Will Lewis Hamilton get the better of Max Verstappen or will George Russell end the dry run without points for Williams? With both drivers no doubt wanting to get better results at their home race, it’s onwards to Silverstone for the British Grand Prix.