Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Red Bull Ring, 2019

2019 Austrian Grand Prix Star Performers

2019 Austrian Grand Prix

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Max Verstappen, Lando Norris and George Russell were RaceFans’ Star Performers of the 2019 Austrian Grand Prix – here’s why.


Max Verstappen

This was Max Verstappen at his best: Stunningly quick over a single lap in qualifying and formidable in his pursuit of Red Bull’s first chance for a win this year.

He would have had an easier time of it if he’d got off the line quickly – according to Red Bull it wasn’t Verstappen’s fault his anti-stall was triggered within moments of the lights going out. From then on he let rip, passing Pierre Gasly immediately, then moving smoothly past the likes of Lando Norris and Kimi Raikkonen.

While Valtteri Bottas made things easy for him, he had to work at passing the Ferrari drivers. His final move on Charles Leclerc for the win was very firm-handed just on the side of acceptable.

Lando Norris

Lando Norris, McLaren, Red Bull Ring, 2019
‘Best of the rest’: McLaren’s Lando Norris
McLaren’s young star impressed in qualifying again – he missed out on an ‘on-merit’ fifth by a few hundredths, then inherited it anyway thanks to Magnussen’s penalty. He benefitted from Verstappen’s slow getaway to temporarily claim third from Hamilton, and though he lost it and then fourth to Raikkonen, he worked his way back past the Alfa Romeo later in the race.

From there he held off Gasly’s much quicker Red Bull despite also having to work a way past Daniel Ricciardo. That done, he came away with an excellent sixth.

George Russell

Williams failed to warn Russell that Daniil Kvyat was catching him quickly at the end of Q1, which resulted in a scary near-miss between the two and a three-place grid penalty for the Williams driver. Despite starting from the pits he fought back superbly in the race, nearly got ahead of Kvyat through the pits, and did hold off Kevin Magnussen to the flag, with the other Williams so far behind it was ahead of him at the end.

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Pierre Gasly

Pierre Gasly, Red Bull, Red Bull Ring, 2019
Pierre Gasly was lapped by his team mate
The gulf in performance between triumphant race-winner Verstappen and the team mate he lapped a few laps before the end of the race could hardly be more stark. Gasly again had to use soft tyres to reach Q3 while Verstappen gained a tactical advantage by using mediums. He wasn’t able to pass midfield leader Norris which prevented him from even going after the bonus point for fastest lap. The pressure is mounting.

Robert Kubica

While no one expects miracles from the FW42, the gap between Kubica and his novice team mate is growing. He was almost lapped by Russell at the end of the race.

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And the rest

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Red Bull Ring, 2019
As in Bahrain Leclerc nearly delivered his first win
Both Ferrari drivers had decent weekends. Leclerc consistently had an edge on Vettel over a single lap, but Vettel’s race pace was slightly better. The latter’s weekend was spoiled by technical trouble in qualifying, while Leclerc no doubt regrets not making his former karting rival work a bit harder for his win.

Similarly both Mercedes drivers were shy of their best, though they had to grapple with serious cooling problems in their W10s. Bottas was confused by his radio messages in Q3 and his preparation lap was disrupted when Leclerc shot past him entering the final corner. Hamilton therefore grabbed second, but had apparently not heard a warning Raikkonen was catching him in Q1, baulked the Alfa Romeo and got a penalty. In the race he broke his front wing and could do no better than fifth.

Sainz’s weekend was inevitably compromised by a penalty for taking a new engine but he wielded it to brilliant effect as he climbed through the field. A late pit stop for fresh rubber allowed him to put on a charge, passing a series of cars to run eighth. He might have been able to take a crack at Norris and Gasly had he not also damaged his front wing.

The Alfa Romeo pair wielded the team’s upgraded car to useful effect, grabbing the last two points places. Antonio Giovinazzi accompanied Raikkonen into Q3, bagged his first career points and was potentially quicker than his world champion team mate at the end of the race.

Kevin Magnussen, Haas, Red Bull Ring, 2019
Magnussen qualified fifth but finished 19th
Sergio Perez did a solid job in the Racing Point to lead both Renault drivers home having, like his team mate, been unable to get out of Q1. The Renault pair were puzzled by their car’s poor grip in the low-speed corners after exploring a range of set-up approaches. Daniel Ricciardo took 12th of Nico Hulkenberg on the final lap.

Alexander Albon had to take engine change penalties but despite being unhappy with his car’s balance finished ahead of his team mate. Daniil Kvyat’s weekend was ruined by his delay behind Russell in Q1: his car’s downforce level had been trimmed out in the expectation he would qualify higher up, and he found it difficult to make progress as a result.

The pair were separated by the Haas of Romain Grosjean, whose team remain perplexed by their inability to make the current tyres work. Kevin Magnussen qualified better – much better in fact, he was fifth on the grid before his gearbox change penalty – but a drive-through penalty for triggering the jump start sensor began his descent down the field.

Over to you

Vote for the driver who impressed you most last weekend and find out whether other RaceFans share your view here:

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Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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31 comments on “2019 Austrian Grand Prix Star Performers”

  1. RocketTanksi
    3rd July 2019, 11:30

    Robert was already voted star performer by a fair and democratic process. We need to respect the will of the people! ;-)

    1. FIA corrected the votes so Max is the Star performer….

  2. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
    3rd July 2019, 11:31

    No Sainz?

    1. Sainz has a paragraph.

    2. Probably the most “under the radar” performance of the season….he should be a star performer as you say.

      1. Not For Keith he blamed Sainz of bad driving damaging his frontwing So i understand Keith he just was average.

    3. Agree that Sainz should be praised alongside Norris.

      Also one of Lando’s best starts when you think back to his launch difficulties in F3 and occasionally F2.

  3. Did anyone see Daniel overtaking Nico on the final lap ? Or was it influenced by a team order ?

    1. I just saw it now on F1 TV (replay), and it was a great overtake actually. Nico defended on the inside on turn 4 hairpin, compromising his exit. Daniel then powered alongside him through the turn 5 flat out and finished the pass in turn 6, on the outside. Great moment (by both drivers actually).

    2. Daniel overtook nico in turn 4 on the last lap in the same way Nico past him in the first lap, but Nico lost something like 4/5 second in the last lap so something happened to his car i think

    3. @webtel No, because it surprisingly wasn’t broadcasted on world feed.

      1. @Panzik @miguelbento

        Thanks a lot. Just watched it on F1’s YouTube channel (the top 10 on-boards video).

        @jerejj :
        Normally, if the overtakes are good, they would feature in one of F1’s videos on YouTube. But their videos aren’t exhaustive–the don’t show all that we want to see. Dont understand the need for them to restrict themselves to ‘top 10’. Why not show all the ones that were good !!

        1. On the flip side too, it means that for boring races they don’t have to try to find 10 vaguely interesting things.

  4. ‘Last two places on the podium’ lol Keith has been trying really hard to make Giovinazzi finish on the podium this weekend, earlier he mentioned Giovinazzi finished 2nd or 3rd or something

  5. Stars: Verstappen, Norris, Sainz, and Russell.
    Strugglers: Mercedes, Renault, Haas (yet again), and Gasly.

  6. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
    3rd July 2019, 13:33

    If Botats was a struggler in Canada, i do actually wonder why Hamilton is not here. He got himself a penalty without the full effect that only made him drop to 4th rather than 5th. Then in the race, he may have looked quicker than bottas, but not as consistent and rather messy. he constantly ran wide triggering his front wing replacement. This then resulted in him loosing a place. Even though Vettel had 2 stops, he still got by hamilton. 5th is the worst position for mercedes this year – lower than Bottas in canada and lower than where Hamilton started. Bottas was’t great either, but he managed a podium at least.

    I saw many having a go at Bottas for being too relaxed about Verstappen, but if you think about it, that was the right thing to do. Bottas will likely have been tld that Vettel was on new tyres and charging towards him too. If Bottas had defended Verstappen costing himself a secnd or two over some laps, Vettel would have likely got by him and Bottas would be without a podium. Hamilton had more of a reason to defend vettel as he had no other position to loose. With the trouble Mercedes had this weekend, Ferrari and Red Bull looked a huge amount quicker so I think Bottas was right in his situation not to defend Verstappen. Plus he may know Verstappen is not who you want to mess with.

    Bottas looked nothing special this weekend, but got a realistic result. Hamilton although not far behind timewise could have done a lot better without his mistakes. So it is because of these that I think he should be a struggler.

    1. +1 articulated it better than me

    2. @thegianthogweed It’s a bit of a mix though, Hamilton qualified second, but found himself demoted, then he had good pace for a while in the race, but caused damage to the front wing and that was the effective end of his race. Plus he and Mercedes clearly treated it as damage limitation, and with few points dropped to Vettel (and to Bottas for Hamilton) that’s what they got. Of course Verstappen is now the closest non-Mercedes rival so it depends how you think the rest of the season will pan out…

      1. @david-br I agree with Hamilton being a struggler. Found himself demoted because of his mistake and damaged his front wings because he ran wide on turn 1 every two laps. It’ll probably be his only “struggler” weekend of the year on the other hand.

        1. @warheart I think he technically was a struggler, I just don’t think he was that bothered. Not a favourite circuit of his and definitely not now the Mercedes struggles with higher altitude circuits. That said, I imagine Mexico will be a problem again, unless Mercedes find a solution, but by then it may not matter. (Actually I think Ferrari could make a surprise come back this season, if they don’t give up early to focus on next year already.)

        2. I was in Austria and was sitting in the stands by Turn 1. I can attest to Hamilton consistently running wide on Turn 1! he didn’t take the corner the same way Bottas did – who of course did ride on the kerb but not on the sausage kerb (only the interior one). I wondered about that too.

  7. Hamilton should be a struggler too. Mistake on qualifying that gave him a penalty, mistake during the race that gave him damage and spoiled even more his weekend.

    Apart from that, maybe Sainz as star performer wouldn’t be out of place. Specially because he even tried to help Norris in quali

  8. I would add Leclerc and Sainz too. Leclerc put in a very fine lap that beat both Mercedes. I don’t need to explain about Sainz

    For the strugglers I would add Hamilton and maybe even Bottas if I’m being strict.

    1. *very fine qualifying lap.
      He also proved the hardest challenge for verstappen

  9. Adam (@rocketpanda)
    3rd July 2019, 14:33

    Verstappen was incredible on this race. Didn’t seem to just maximise the potential of his car, he seemed to go well above it too. I don’t think they’ll grab 5 wins, but I expect Verstappen to win another one at least.

    Norris and Sainz are swiftly becoming two of my most followed drivers. I’ve never been a McLaren fan but I think with them I am! Both were brilliant.

    As for struggling I don’t think anyone can compete with Gasly watching his team-mate win the race and lap him despite starting at almost the same place.

  10. TOP:
    LEC, SAI, VER and Alfa

    GAS, MAG, HAM and Renault

  11. Panagiotis Papatheodorou (@panagiotism-papatheodorou)
    3rd July 2019, 16:56

    Stars: Max, Sainz, Russell, Norris

    Strugglers: Hamilton, Gasly

  12. When Max binned it in FP2, how many people thought he’d go on to be the star of the weekend?

    Great recovery from Friday.

  13. Another struggler would be Fernando Alonso. In whatever room he watched that Honda powered car win, I imagine there would be a lot of broken furniture and holes in the walls.

    Still scary to think that Mercedes can have a quiet weekend, drive off-throttle for nearly a tenth of a lap and still net a podium.

  14. Interesting that you suggest that Verstappen’s best includes stunning pace over a single qualifying lap. He’s undoubtedly a good qualifier, but also clearly a more effective wheel-to-wheel racer, as evidenced by his six wins without a pole.

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