Max Verstappen cruised to victory claiming his second consecutive race win. His gap to second place Lewis Hamilton was +35.6 seconds after he pitted on the penultimate lap to take the fastest lap of the race and the extra championship point. Hamilton and Mercedes struggled throughout the race. A decision to have Valtteri Bottas push his driving pace near the end of the race almost cost him the podium. Sergio Perez finished 0.5 seconds behind Bottas. Red Bull was dominant all weekend, Verstappen made it 4 for 4 this weekend, finishing in P1 in all four of the weekend events. He extended his point lead on Hamilton to 18 points and the constructor’s championship race is now a 40 point gap.
Highlights and Lowlights
Russell Curse Continues?
The beginning of the race seemed very promising for George Russell. After a Turn 2 collision between Pierre Gasly and Charles Leclerc, Russell moved up to P7. He stayed in the Top 10 until he pitted on Lap 27… cue the Williams curse. Russell had a 18 second pit stop because the Williams pit crew was managing a power unit issue. After the pit stop, Russell was running in P18. He pitted again a few laps later and on Lap 39 Williams was forced to retire the car. This is another race that Russell has managed to make his way into the points during the race but end up out of them by the end. Even through the heartbreak, Russell remained positive saying on the team radio “No need to apologise, we’re in this together. We go again next week – we’ll get those points next week.”
Ferrari’s Bounce Back
After a disappointing French GP, Ferrari bounced back with a positive result in the Styrian GP. A strong second half of the race allowed Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc to finish P6 and P7, respectively. Sainz made up 6 places from his P12 starting grid position. Leclerc had to earn his P7 finish. On Lap 1, Leclerc and Gasly came together on Turn 2. Leclerc’s front wing clipped Gasly’s rear driver’s side tire. Leclerc was forced to pit on Lap 2 and came out of the pits in P18. He continued to slowly make his way up the grid and by Lap 54 he was in the top 10. From there, it took him 6 laps to get to his finishing position of P7.
Norris Continues Impressive Start
Lando Norris finished P5 for the fourth time this season and the third race in a row. He has finished in the Top 10 at each race this season, his worst place finish was P8 in Spain. Norris started in P3 but allowed both Bottas and Perez to pass him on Lap 10 and 11, respectively, to allow both Red Bull and Mercedes to duke it out amongst themselves. His P5 finish was critical for McLaren to stay in their position in the Constructor’s championship after his teammate, Daniel Ricciardo, finished outside of the points. Ferrari only managed to make up 4 points on McLaren. Only 12 points now separate McLaren and Ferrari in the Constructor’s.