Prior to the race the FORMULA 1 MYWORLD GROSSER PREIS VON ÖSTERREICH 2019 promised plenty of excitement and it did not disappoint. A huge crowd of tens of thousands of fans crammed into the Red Bull Ring, a total of 203,000 attending over the whole weekend, in addition to the millions watching on TV or on mobile devices.
The win went to Max Verstappen who fought his way back up the order having dropped from second on the grid to seventh by the end of the opening lap, after the Aston Martin Red Bull Racing driver struggled to get off the line. The Mercedes duo of Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton passed him, as did Lando Norris in the McLaren, Kimi Raikkonen in the Alfa Romeo and Sebastian Vettel in the Ferrari. The Dutchman set off in pursuit, getting back past Norris on lap 7, Raikkonen on lap 9, before closing on Vettel who by then was in fourth place. The Ferrari man kicked off the first run of pit stops on lap 21, going from Softs to Hards, losing around 4 seconds because of a radio problem with the Ferrari mechanics, while Bottas also came in, going from Medium to Hard.
Charles Leclerc came in from the lead next time round, also fitting Hard tyres. He had shot off the line from pole and had a good enough lead, able to put a safe distance between himself and the two Mercedes. That left Hamilton in the lead, followed by Verstappen, both men running Mediums. The Englishman then came in on lap 30, changing to Hards but also needing a new nose, having possibly damaged his going over a kerb. It cost him vital seconds, as he pushed on in fifth place now.
On lap 32, the order was Leclerc, 4 seconds ahead of Bottas, 9.4 ahead of Vettel, 12.9 in front of Verstappen and with 17.4 over Hamilton. It became clear that the Red Bull was the quickest car on track, much to the delight of the thousands of Dutch fans who had made the trip to support their hero. He closed rapidly on Vettel, passing him on lap 50. Sebastian was struggling on the Hard and so came in for a set of new Softs. Next on Verstappen’s hit list was Bottas, whom he passed easily on lap 56, which left just Leclerc out in front, only 5 seconds up the road.
The key moment in the race came on lap 69 when, having made an unsuccessful attempt at a passing move on the previous lap, Verstappen attacked Leclerc again at Turn 4 and came out on top after some hand to hand combat. He had caught the Monegasque driver who was on older tyres and in the coming together, Leclerc went off track. Verstappen thus headed for victory, his second consecutive win at his team’s home race. However, although he celebrated on the podium, the Dutchman had to wait a bit longer to be truly happy,as the incident was investigated by the Stewards. After some time, they decided it was a racing incident and that no further action was necessary.
Behind the youngest pairing to finish first and second in a Formula 1 Grand Prix, Bottas managed to hang on to a podium place for Mercedes by a whisker. He fought off a charging Vettel, who had passed Hamilton on lap 70, the Englishman struggling with his tyres and never really shining in this race.
There was plenty of excitement further down the order. Although one lap down, best of the rest was Lando Norris who came home sixth ahead of Pierre Gasly. However the strongest showing in this group could be Carlos Sainz, who fought his way up the order from way down in 19th place on the start grid to eighth at the chequered flag. Therefore it was another strong weekend for McLaren which extends its lead over Renault to 20 points – 52 to 32 in their fight for fourth in the championship with the French team failing to score today. The fifth and final team to score points today was Alfa Romeo Racing, with Kimi Raikkonen coming home ninth and Antonio Giovinazzi tenth. While the Finn is well used to being in the top ten, it was his team-mate’s first ever F1 point.
It was the first time since Antonio Liuzzi finished sixth for Force India in the 2010 Korean GP that an Italian driver has scored a championship point. This was a landmark event in the hybrid era, because Honda’s maiden win with one of these incredible and efficient power units means that every manufacture has won at least once. Mercedes has dominated since 2014, with Ferrari as its strongest rival. Renault has taken 12 wins with Red Bull and now Honda, who first supplied McLaren, then switched to Toro Rosso last year and this year also provided the power for Red Bull. The last time the Japanese marque won was in Hungary in 2006, when Jenson Button, driving for what was then the Japanese works team, stood on the top step of the podium.
Formula 2 saw another new race winner enjoy a champagne shower this Sunday following the Sprint Race: Sérgio Sette Câmara claimed a first victory this season after a superb drive from fourth on the grid. The Brazilian atoned for making contact with teammate Nicholas Latifi yesterday and became the sixth race winner in 2019. Behind him, Luca Ghiotto looked strong again as he carved his way through the field from seventh to second. Finally, yesterday’s poleman Nyck de Vries made up for his Feature Race disappointment to take another third place and extend his lead in the Championship to 40 points over Latifi. Sette Câmara solidified third place in the standings ahead of Ghiotto and Jack Aitken. Rookie Mick Schumacher bears special mention in today’s F2 race where he charged from P18 to an impressive fourth at the flag, chasing De Vries in the hunt for a maiden podium finish on the final two laps.
FROM THE DRIVERS / TEAMS
Finish Position: 1st, Start Position: 2nd “It was an incredible race and I’m so happy to take the Team’s second victory at our home Grand Prix. It was a shame at the start as I triggered anti-stall and dropped back to seventh. From there onwards the pace was really good, I stayed calm and kept pushing hard. The second stint was decisive for us as the car really came alive. Once I passed Valtteri I thought I could have a go for the win as our pace was so strong but you never know. I just kept pushing, drove flat out and didn’t give up. We passed Charles with a few laps to go so I’m extremely happy. The move was close racing and if you can’t make moves like that I think it is better to stay at home. I want to say a big thank you to everyone at Aston Martin Red Bull Racing, all weekend we have been working really well and the upgrades seem to have worked. Thank you to all the crew here, everyone at the factory and of course Honda, it’s not been easy for them over the past years but to win for them today is just incredible.”
Finish Position: 7th, Start Position: 8th “It was a tough race and a difficult day. I didn’t have great pace on the soft tyre in the first stint and then I was stuck behind the cars in front. On the second stint, I pushed too hard at the beginning and destroyed the hard tyre after only a couple of laps which left me with massive blisters, so from there I was just slow and I didn’t have the pace to catch Lando. Overall, it’s nice to see the new upgrades are working with Max. He did a fantastic job so this is positive and we now look forward to Silverstone. On my side, I’m not very happy with my performance and I could have managed the race a lot better. I’m a really competitive guy and there is work to do. I haven’t found exactly what I want from the car so we will keep pushing, but it’s good to see the car is working and I think we have a good direction for the upcoming races. I have a lot to learn and take from having Max next to me. I want to deliver more and I know I can, so now we need to work.”
Christian Horner (Team Principal )
Team Principal “What an unbelievable performance by Max today. To win the race here in Austria and to give Honda its first victory with a V6 hybrid is unbelievable. Winning our home race means an enormous amount to everyone in the Red Bull family. Mr Mateschitz has put so much into the sport with both Aston Martin Red Bull Racing and Toro Rosso, so it means an incredible amount to deliver this victory for a second year running. "It was a tense wait after the race but the stewards made the right decision. What happened today between Charles and Max is hard racing and I think that’s what Formula One is all about – it’s two young guys going for it. Formula One has come under a lot of criticism recently and I think today’s race was an exciting one with overtaking, tyre degradation and drama – exactly what the doctor ordered! We came to Austria as outsiders and so to win here is a dream come true and I think that was Max’s best win. "It was a tough race for Pierre but he managed to make progress and pass Raikkonen. When your teammate is performing at this level the benchmark is extremely high, but with time and as his confidence builds, Pierre will close the gap. Our target in the constructors’ championship is Ferrari and we need both cars to score the maximum points possible.”
5th "It wasn't the easiest day, we knew already before the race started that we might be in trouble here. Overheating proved to be a fairly big issue for us today. I think we had good pace, the car felt good, but we just couldn't race due to the overheating. It seemed to be a limitation of our car this weekend and the other cars didn't seem to struggle quite as much as we did, so we'll have to look into this and try to fix it. There's going to be more hot races coming up like Budapest, so we'll need to get on top of this, otherwise it could be a difficult few races for us. I also damaged my front wing on the kerb, so we had to change it, which cost us a bit of time as well. It's just one of those bad days in the office, but at least I still got some good points with fifth place."
3rd "I think we made the most of it today. We expected this race to be tricky, but it turned out to be even more difficult than we predicted. We had to do lots of lifting and coasting and couldn't use all engines modes to keep the engine from overheating. So, we couldn't really race properly, and I had to manage temperatures for the majority of the race. It made both defending and attacking very difficult. But you have to look at the positives - I got some good points out of this weekend and I don't think there was much difference in terms of race pace. So, it isn't all bad. We'll investigate and hopefully come back stronger at Silverstone."
“It was a positive weekend overall. Unfortunately, it did not end as we would have liked it to. My first stint was good and our pace was there. We pitted early to prevent losing our track position to Bottas. This made the second stint longer and more challenging than expected, as the rear tyres degraded quite a bit towards the end of the race. Second place is not what we wanted, but we gave it our all and made good a step forward this weekend. I am conviced that this will bring further progress for the next few races and allow us to achieve the success that we want.”
“I’m always positive and today the team gave me a great car to drive and I think this was a better weekend for us, maybe like in Canada a few weeks back. I’m disappointed about how things went for me yesterday but today’s race was fun for me from the cockpit and I enjoyed some good wheel to wheel battles, pushing throughout. I’m also disappointed for Charles as he did an excellent job and was very strong all weekend. All in all, I’m happy in one sense but unhappy in another, because we could have had both cars on the podium this weekend, one of them on the top step. As for the car, we know what’s needed: we need more downforce. We are strong at tracks like this and the one in Canada and we know what we have to do to improve the car, but it’s not easy and it can’t be done in just one day. I’d like to thank all the team in Maranello because all of them are very passionate about this and are working like mad to improve the car. This year’s Ferrari is definitely good enough to win races".
Mattia Binotto (Team Principal )
“Every race has a tale to tell and today’s was a great one, featuring some exciting battles. For our part, we have shown that we are continuing to improve. Charles drove a really strong race from start to finish and indeed he was fantastic all weekend. Seb also had an excellent race: on the hard tyres he attacked and pushed to the maximum even if in doing so, they wore quickly. From that, it’s clear his two stop strategy was not planned in advance, but adopted as his race evolved. There’s obviously disappointment for the radio problem we had at Seb’s pit stop. Not all the mechanics heard the call and that cost him precious time. With regards to the decision of the stewards, we fully accept it, even though we don’t believe it is the right decision. They are the judges and we have to respect that. However, even though I am first and foremost a Ferrari fan, I think it’s time for F1 to turn the page and to look ahead. As we often say, we should leave the drivers free to fight, as overall this will be good for the sport and good for F1. So ‘bravo’ to Verstappen, he drove a fantastic race today as did Charles. There will be new opportunities for us in the future.”
Austrian Grand Prix Final Classification
1st Max Verstappen Aston Martin Red Bull Racing 71 1:22.01.822
2nd Charles Leclerc Scuderia Ferrari 71 +2.724
3rd Valtteri Bottas Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport 71 +18.960
4th Sebastian Vettel Scuderia Ferrari 71 +19.610
5th Lewis Hamilton Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport 71 +22.805
6th Lando Norris McLaren F1 Team 70 +1 lap
7th Pierre Gasly Aston Martin Red Bull Racing 70 +1 lap
8th Carlos Sainz McLaren F1 Team 70 +1 lap
9th Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo Racing 70 +1 lap
10th Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo Racing 70 +1 lap
11th Sergio Perez SportPesa Racing Point F1 Team 70 +1 lap
12th Daniel Ricciardo Renault F1 Team 70 +1 lap
13th Nico Hulkenberg Renault F1 Team 70 +1 lap
14th Lance Stroll SportPesa Racing Point F1 Team 70 +1 lap
15th Alexander Albon Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda 70 +1 lap
16th Romain Grosjean Rich Energy Haas F1 Team 70 +1 lap
17th Daniil Kvyat Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda 70 +1 lap
18th George Russell ROKiT Williams Racing 69 +2 laps
19th Kevin Magnussen Rich Energy Haas F1 Team 69 +2 laps
20th Robert Kubica ROKiT Williams Racing 68 +3 laps
Fastest lap: Max Verstappen (1.07.475 on lap 60)
1.L. Hamilton 197
2. V. Bottas 166
3. M. Verstappen 126
4. S. Vettel 123
5. C. Leclerc 105
6.P. Gasly 43
7. C. Sainz 30
8. L. Norris 22
9. K. Raikkonen 21
10. D. Ricciardo 16
1.Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport Pts 197
2.Scuderia Ferrari 228
3.Aston Martin Red Bull Racing 169
4.McLaren F1 Team 52
5.Renault F1 Team 32
6.Alpha Romeo Racing 22
7.SportPesa Racing Point F1 Team 19
8.Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda 17
9.Rich Energy Haas F1 Team 16
10.ROKiT Williams Racing 0