We are halfway through the first triple header of the season and Red Bull seem to be entirely unbeatable. The Austrian team had another impressive weekend to sandwich the Mercedes drivers in the final standings. We will have to wait another week to see whether Hamilton and Bottas can return to the top step during the second race in Austria.
Unlike last week, neither Lewis or Max had a poor start. Verstappen started well and ran away to have the net lead throughout the race, with Lewis following behind. Lando Norris also got away well but had to battle Perez for P3, which he initially kept, but was hunted down by both Perez and Bottas by Lap 11. Further down the grid, George Russell was able to make up places within the first few laps, before his bad luck ultimately continued in Austria.
Bad luck was also the story for Charles Leclerc or Pierre Gasly. Contact between the two drivers brought an end to Gasly’s race and demoted Leclerc to the back of the grid, giving him a lot of work to do.
The pit stops:
Here is where it went wrong for George Russell. When pitting, his engineers had to refill his pneumatic pressure, leading to a long stop. Everyone hoped that this would be the end of this problem, with the young Brit at the back of the grid, losing all of the work he’d put in over the weekend. But this was not the case. He returned to the pits again almost immediately and his race ended. Absolute heartbreak for him once again.
Perez pitted on Lap 27 and it took the team 4.8 seconds to change his tyres, a slow pit from the record breaking team. Bottas then pitted one lap later in 2.8 seconds, allowing him to overtake the Mexican.
Apart from this, the pits were very average. Nobody gained or lost a lot during these stops and the lead stayed the same, with Lewis still behind.
Hunting down P3:
Towards the end of the race, Perez had a massive gap to Norris, allowing him to pit for fresh tyres to overtake Bottas. But he wasn’t successful. The Mercedes driver was able to keep P3 and return to the podium once again, with Perez in P4.
Max kept the lead and took his third win in a row but Lewis took the fastest lap. Mercedes pitted the 7-time champion on Lap 70 of 71, as the gap to Bottas was large. This indicates how close the fight between the teams is, with one point being dramatically important in the title fight.
Norris also had a good race to finish in 5th with Sainz and Leclerc doing well to take P6 and P7. Stroll and Tsunoda then completed the top 10. Ricciardo had another tough race, having made up places at the start. After some brief engine issues he was back where he started and he was then unable to make up the places.