Formula 1 Austrian Grand Prix 2019

Austrian Grand Prix 2019

I very nearly didn’t bother watching the Austrian Grand Prix after the previous two Grand Prix, in which the biggest story had been the stewards, not the race. But I’m glad that I did, a race broke out and the stewards didn’t ruin it, and best of all a Mercedes was not on the top step, Austria was a win for F1 fans.

Both of F1’s young guns, Charles Leclerc, on pole, and Max Verstappen were on the front row, ahead of Bottas and Hamilton on row two. But, the race of the twenty-one-year-olds appeared to be called off when Verstappen’s Red Bull went into anti-stall, causing him to drop back to eighth place off the line.

Rather than losing his head, Verstappen used his frustration to make pass after pass, first, Lando Norris, on lap 7 for 6th place, then Kimi Raikkonen, on lap 9 for 5th place. Then, into 4th place on lap 31 thanks to Hamilton having to stop longer than usual in his pit box for a new front wing after cracking it on a curb.

After his pitstop, Verstappen chased down the Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel and made the pass for the final podium spot on lap 50. And after the minor drama of a temporary power loss, caused by a bad exhaust sensor, the Dutchman quickly closed the gap to Valtteri Bottas, passing the Finn for 2nd place on lap 56.

Just one car and driver stood between Verstappen and victory, that was the driver who started alongside him on the grid, Leclerc. Verstappen caught the Frenchman on lap 68, but Leclerc fought off the Dutchman, getting better drive out of turn 3 in the run down to turn 4 to maintain his position.

One lap later, at the same turn 3, Verstappen lunged down the inside of the Ferrari, running deep into the corner, pushing Leclerc wide, and the two rivals banged wheels as Leclerc attempted to rejoin the track. Mad Max Verstappen had taken the lead against massive odds, especially after his disastrous start.

Although, when I saw that the incident between Verstappen and Leclerc was under investigation, my heart sank, I was expecting the Dutchman to be stripped of his win, but after three hours of deliberations, the stewards came back with a racing incident verdict, which was clearly the correct decision.

Finally, there was a little bit of retribution for Sebastian Vettel, overtaking Hamilton’s Mercedes on track for 4th place on the penultimate lap. I have to admit I would have been happy to see Leclerc win his first F1 race, but Verstappen was sublime in the way he responded to dropping so far back off the line.

Let’s hope for more races like this during the rest of the season, without interference from the stewards. The Austrian Grand Prix is what F1 should be, racing should not be decided in the stewards room.

Austrian Grand Prix 2019 Results

1. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) 1:22:01.822
2. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) +2.724s
3. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) +18.960s
4. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) +19.610s
5. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) +22.805s
6. Lando Norris (McLaren) +1 LAP
7. Pierre Gasly (Red Bull) +1 LAP
8. Carlos Sainz (McLaren) +1 LAP
9.  Kimi Raikkonen (Alfa Romeo) +1 LAP
10. Antonio Giovinazzi (Alfa Romeo) +1 LAP

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