By Robert Haile
The Mercedes domination of the last seven years has been tested as Max Verstappen and Red Bull took victory at their home track today, June 27, in the Styrian Grand Prix.
Starting from pole position the Dutchman led from the green light with Lewis Hamilton in second as Verstappen extended his lead at the top of the drivers championship with Hamilton taking the fastest lap bonus point.
Red Bull Ring conqueror Verstappen said: “I am super happy to win here and doing it at home at the Red Bull Ring is always so special. I had a really enjoyable race, the car was working well and I always enjoy driving on this track. I just focused on my own race, concentrating on hitting the apexes in the places I wanted to, looking after the tyres and it worked out well.
“You never know how competitive or how close it’s going to be on a Sunday and to be honest I really wasn’t expecting it to be like it was today as the long run pace between the two teams was very closely matched all weekend. Overall, we’ve had a really positive weekend and of course it’s not going to be completely the same next week.
“Everyone else will also learn from this race so we will of course try and do even better and keep improving ourselves so we can stay ahead. It’s a whole Team effort so thank you very much to everyone here and back at the factory for another great win today.”
In a surprisingly predictable race the drama came at the start with Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc going off at turn one after being bumped by Pierre Gasly and then catching the AlphaTauri drivers rear left tyre puncturing it and with this damage Gasly nudged Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi into a spin and pushed Williams Nicholas Latifi wide in turn three.
In the pits it was all action with Sergio Perez suffering a slow change of his rear left tyre that let Valtteri Bottas up into third while George Russell’s Williams was running in eighth had power unit issues and then his pneumatic system which forced the team to retire the car.
With Verstappen and Hamilton clear out front Bottas and Perez battled it out for third with the Finn reaching the line first.
Third place Mercedes driver Bottas said: “From where I started, I think we maximised the race – starting from fifth and finishing third was a decent result. There was not much left in my tyres at the end, today was more like rallying in Finnish Lapland than F1 in Austria.
“The Red Bulls seems two-tenths quicker than us each lap at the moment, which is quite a lot. Today we managed to beat one of them which was good but we need to improve the car moving forward to compete for the win.
“We need to accept that they are ahead at the moment and use it as motivation. It was a pretty clean weekend for me – other than the penalty – and P2 (position 2) in qualifying and a podium finish is positive and I’m looking forward to next week.”
Mclaren’s Lando Norris finished fifth with Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc sixth and seventh for Ferrari, Aston Martin claimed eighth with Lance Stroll as Fernando Alonso for Alpine and Yuki Tsunoda for AlphaTauri completed the point scoring positions.
Former champions Kimi Räikkönen at Alfa Romeo and Sebastian Vettel for Aston Martin were eleventh and twelfth with Mclaren’s Daniel Ricciardo, Alpine’s Esteban Ocon, Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi finishing ahead of Mick Schumacher for Haas, Nicholas Latifi’s Williams and Haas driver Nikita Mazepin.
Next weekend, 2-4 July, is a rerun of this Grand Prix with the Austrian Grand Prix taking place at the Red Bull Ring.
- Max Verstappen (Red Bull) – 156
- Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) – 138
- Sergio Perez (Red Bull) – 96
- Lando Norris (McLaren) – 86
- Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) – 74
- Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) – 58
- Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) – 50
- Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri) – 37
- Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren) – 34
- Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin) – 30
- Fernando Alonso (Alpine) – 19
- Lance Stroll (Aston Martin) – 14
- Esteban Ocon (Alpine) – 12
- Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri) – 9
- Kimi Räikkönen (Alfa Romeo) – 1
- Antonio Giovinazzi (Alfa Romeo) – 1
- Mick Schumacher (Haas) – 0
- George Russel (Williams) – 0
- Nikita Mazepin (Haas) – 0
- Nicholas Latifi (Williams) – 0
- Red Bull – 252
- Mercedes – 212
- McLaren – 120
- Ferrari – 108
- AlphaTauri – 46
- Aston Martin – 44
- Alpine – 31
- Alfa Romeo – 2
- Haas – 0
- Williams – 0