After an dramatic F1 race in Baku where several drivers threw the win away through misfortune or irresponsibility in Vettel’s case, everyone headed to the countryside for an eventful Austrian Grand Prix.
As everyone got back down to business with Valtteri Bottas collecting the win, five huge points came out of this weekend that could spice up the championship going forwards on and off the track.
- Sainz on charge
Carlos Sainz J.r revealed on Thursday that he doesn’t intend to be at Toro Rosso next season.
After a quiet Friday, the Spaniard showed his hand with a stronger Saturday despite having engine trouble in FP3. His reward was tenth place on the grid and ahead of teammate, Daniil Kvyat.
Sunday then saw a poor start get compounded by retirement but Sainz should be happy with his performance at a power based circuit.
2. Tricky Williams
Williams are starting to become a concern because they are not delivering much compared to recent seasons.
The team brought a new upgrade, which has clearly done more harm than good with a Q1 exit to boot and three poor practice sessions.
Race day however brought a surprisingly strong performance with both cars collecting points in the last two point scoring positions.
Personally, I would be tempted to drop the upgrade because it is damaging them in qualifying. The issue however could be track dependent if they can get higher up the grid next weekend.
3. Silence of Force India
Unlike recent races, Force India was barely been at the park here with a lack of speed and Sergio Perez playing catch up.
Its great to see teams give young drivers a run out in FP1 but here, it clearly put Perez on back foot compared to rest of field. Esteban Ocon too has been quiet given that the gap to Red Bull was much bigger than of late.
The team should perhaps wait till a track where FP1 doesn’t matter much then give their young driver an outing. This way, the driver who misses out on FP1 won’t be on the back foot as much as was obvious this weekend.
Nevertheless, both drivers brought their cars home comfortably in the points but there is a lesson to be learned here regarding track time.
Hopefully Silverstone will see the battle between Force India and Red Bull renewed, after what has been a strangely quiet weekend in Austria for the former.
4. Mixed fortune for Haas
Haas had a better weekend than expected despite their drivers suffering mixed fortune.
As shown in pre season, the speed is there but brakes often caused Haas to underperform. There were no signs of the brakes issues in Austria with the team on it all weekend.
The sessions that matter most saw Romain Grosjean drive to an excellent sixth place finish ahead of Force India.
Kevin Magnussen however saw his suspension break in qualifying to leave him 15th on the grid. His race then didn’t get much better when a hydraulic issue caused him to retire whilst on cusp of a point finish chasing Lance Stroll.
All in all, plenty of beneficial lessons for the team to take heading to Silverstone next weekend.
5. Questions for Verstappen
Max Verstappen will surely be asking plenty of questions after retiring for the fifth time in seven races. This time however, he was unfortunately caught up in a clash between Kvyat and Fernando Alonso after a clutch issue caused a slow start.
Rumours in the Spanish media suggests that Verstappen wants a move to Ferrari in 2019.
The Prancing Horse however got both Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen out of contract at end of this season. Contract talks aren’t expected till August at earliest which could unsettle both Ferrari drivers, the longer talks drag on and Ferrari might even look elsewhere.
Could the disappointment of this weekend’s retirement on top of reliability issues lead Verstappen to jumping ship sooner than expected, despite being contracted to Red Bull till end of 2018?
If missed other races and want a brief round up, click on the links below.