Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Red Bull Ring, 2021

Verstappen extends lead with Hamilton-esque win on Red Bull’s home ground

2021 Styrian Grand Prix review

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Few phenomena have intrigued sports psychologists as much as that of home field advantage.

The concept that competitors gain an inherent edge simply by participating on their own ground or in front of their local fans is one that has been observed across virtually all sporting arenas, from athletics to field sports and beyond.

Motorsport is no different. From Nigel Mansell attributing a genuine gain in lap time to the sheer energy of support from his legion of fans at Silverstone to the success Ferrari have enjoyed over the decades in front of their loyal Tifosi, it’s an advantage that can help determine race winners.

Could it also determine the destination of this year’s world championship?

Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Red Bull Ring, 2021
While Verstappen led the start, Perez tried to pass Norris
When Max Verstappen and Red Bull arrived the Austrian circuit that carries their name, they did so fresh from having well and truly beaten their Mercedes rivals at their own game in France. Using an aggressive strategy to chase down and pass Lewis Hamilton in the dying laps to increase their lead in both championships was retribution for how Mercedes had defeated them with a similar tactic just a month prior in Barcelona.

Just like on that Sunday in Spain, the two championship protagonists lined up on the front row of the grid at the Red Bull Ring alongside each other – although this time it was Verstappen in the favoured position. Hamilton had inherited his place alongside his championship rival by virtue of his team mate Valtteri Bottas relinquishing his second place after a three-place grid penalty for his contentious pit lane spin in Friday practice.

The thousands of orange-shirted supporters in the limited-capacity crowd around the circuit cheered their approval when the lights went out and Verstappen launched into the lead ahead of Hamilton. Behind, Lando Norris’ third placed McLaren came under intense pressure from Sergio Perez’s Red Bull, Norris using all of the track and even slightly more to keep himself ahead through the tight first turn.

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As the field sprinted up the hill, Pierre Gasly found his mirrors filled with Fernando Alonso’s Alpine to his right and Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari to his left. Leclerc tried to pull behind the AlphaTauri to catch a tow, but instead ended up catching his front wing on Gasly’s left-rear wheel. “Puncture. Puncture,” Gasly immediately reported.

Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri, Red Bull Ring, 2021
Contact with Leclerc ended Gasly’s race
As Gasly fought to keep control of his car, he was swallowed up by the chasing pack, where further contact was inevitable. Antonio Giovinazzi was caught out when trying to navigate the damaged AlphaTauri and was pitched into a spin as the field reached turn three. Nicholas Latifi was also clipped, giving him a punctured right-rear.

This left Leclerc, Latifi and Gasly all limping to the pits, the latter did not emerge after somehow bringing his mortally wounded car back. Ferrari were able to replace Leclerc’s wing and send him back out, and Latifi was also able to resume.

As manic as the opening lap had been, the track remained clear enough to avoid the intervention of a Safety Car. Verstappen and Hamilton hastily ran away from Norris and the rest of the field behind them, leaving Red Bull and Mercedes both eager to get their second drivers past the orange roadblock to help provide strategic support for their team mates ahead.

When Perez eventually made a half-hearted move from well back up the inside of Norris into turn three on lap 10, Norris left the door open with a level of generosity rarely offered to drivers of rival teams to allow the Red Bull comfortably through into third. One lap later and Bottas was also through with similar ease as they rounded the uphill kink of turn two.

“With how much quicker Red Bull and Mercedes were today, I had no chance,” Norris later explained. “I tried holding them off for as long as possible in the first stint but they were so much quicker I was starting to ruin my own race by harming my tyres and stuff.”

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As Norris continued to mind his own business, his former Formula 2 rival George Russell was doing much the same in eighth place in the Williams. Having enjoyed arguably his best ever performance for the Grove team the previous weekend in France, Russell was going even better in Styria.

George Russell, Williams, Red Bull Ring, 2021
Russell’s retirement was cruel after strong early pace
Sitting in eighth place on pure merit, this was already looking to be surely his best chance of taking his long overdue first points in a Williams. But like so many other opportunities before, those chances evaporated when a loss of pneumatic pressure in his power unit left him sitting in his pit box for over 20 excruciating seconds as those hopes vanished.

Russell was forced to make several more stops to address the fault had he wanted any hope of seeing the chequered flag, but by this stage, there was little point in continuing.

“Racing’s cruel sometimes,” he rued. “It’s never straightforward, it’s never easy pickings.”

Red Bull had pre-empted Mercedes to perfection with their strategy in France and looked to do the same by calling in Perez from third at the end of lap 27 to cover off the possibility Bottas would spring a tactical attack by stopping for few tyres before him. But while the call was a good one, the stop was not: a problem on the left-rear delayed his departure by a vital couple of seconds.

Mercedes pounced on the slender window of opportunity to bring Bottas in and rejoin the track ahead of Perez. By the time they had brought their man in a lap later and sent him back on his way, Bottas had captured a valuable position from the Red Bull driver.

Sergio Perez, Red Bull, Red Bull Ring, 2021
Perez’s second slow stop in three races cost him a podium finish
But while Red Bull had lost third place to Mercedes, they still held a firm grip on the most important position in the race. With an advantage of just under six seconds, there was little Mercedes could do to overcome the margin before Verstappen would simply come in for his own switch to the hard tyres and retain the lead. Hamilton rid himself of the mediums on lap 28, with Verstappen doing the same a lap later, remerging with a gap of almost five seconds and clear road ahead of him.

Back in the pack, Leclerc was making up for lost time with his new front wing. After dropping through the field like a stone in the previous race around Paul Ricard just seven days prior, a combination of track characteristics and the idiosyncrasies of the SF21 was now producing a very different kind of performance for Ferrari.

Moving onto the hard tyres so early on allowed Leclerc to take advantage of clear air while many of the drivers ahead began to pit, moving him up into the top 10 until he was eventually brought in to try the hard rubber.

Leclerc had already passed the likes of Esteban Ocon and Giovinazzi into turn four when he began to close on Kimi Raikkonen. He made a move around the outside into turn four and clipped the Alfa Romeo’s front wing, send a small piece of it flying through the air.

“I actually didn’t feel any contact with Kimi,” Leclerc later explained. “I learned just before that we had touched with Kimi, but I didn’t feel anything in the car.” Raikkonen was unimpressed by Leclerc’s latest uncompromising move, but said the damage ultimately made no difference to his result.

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Red Bull Ring, 2021
Leclerc had his elbows out all afternoon
Leclerc emerged unscathed from his brush with a rival and later dispatched Sebastian Vettel’s Aston Martin and then Yuki Tsunoda in the sole remaining AlphaTauri. Remarkably, Leclerc had his third touch with another car when he tried to pass Alonso around the outside of turn three, but both emerged unscathed.

With Perez close enough to Bottas in third to occasionally flash in his mirrors but also have to put up with the full impact of dirty air, it was looking like a fairly difficult rest of the afternoon for the number 11 car. With nothing to lose – such was the gap now to Norris behind – Red Bull brought Perez in for a second time on lap 54 for fresh rubber. With a new set of medium tyres on his car, the question became whether Bottas would be able to hold off the second Red Bull in what looked like being a final lap rendezvous.

Out front, race leader Verstappen looked comfortable – but his team radio indicated the team weren’t without causes for concern. On two occasions he reported a problem with his brake-by-wire system which was giving him a strange sensation when he hit the left pedal. On the second time Red Bull discovered the problem could be managed by avoiding the punishing kerb approaching turn 10 while braking.

It was a distraction that the race leader could have done without, but behind him the threat from Hamilton had faded to nothing. The rear tyres of the Mercedes were visible suffering around the traction-limited Red Bull Ring.

This was a concern for Mercedes, who not only appeared to lack any real response to Verstappen’s pace but who had been working hard on their simulator in the week between rounds to try various experimental setups in search of a way for them to challenge Red Bull, as the team’s director of track engineering Andrew Shovlin explained after the race.

“We were sort of going further than we’ve ever gone and just really understanding the effects of that. Lewis, before he came here, was doing a lot of work in the driver-in-loop simulator and it looked like an interesting direction.”

But whatever set-up Hamilton was running, towards the end of his second stint he began slipping back quickly from Verstappen. His race pace was now unable to match that of the lapped Carlos Sainz Jnr, who had been hunting Lando Norris’s McLaren.

Carlos Sainz Jnr, Ferrari, Red Bull Ring, 2021
Sainz was unexpectedly “stuck behind Lewis” at one stage
“I never thought I would say this,” Sainz explained afterwards, “but unfortunately, I was stuck behind Lewis.”

Ferrari even resorted to politely asking Mercedes to allow Sainz to unlap himself to allow him to chase Norris ahead. Whether intentional or otherwise, Hamilton offered little resistance when Sainz eventually did pull alongside him.

With no chance of catching Verstappen, but a gap of half a minute to his team mate behind, Hamilton was called in on the penultimate lap to switch to soft tyres for a sprint finish to try and take the point for fastest lap – Mercedes having to limit the inevitable points loss in whatever way they could.

As Verstappen was now half a minute clear, he could afford to cruise to the line. He took the chequered flag to take his fourth win of the season and his third over the previous four races to move his championship lead to 19 points over Hamilton. It had been his most dominant victory of the season thus far – a Hamilton-esque triumph for the Red Bull driver.

Slowing down to treat his faithful fans to a celebratory burn-out – earning the disapproval of race director Michael Masi in the process – Verstappen’s joy was only enhanced by the knowledge his home advantage would be extended to the following weekend’s race.

“That’s very positive,” he said. “But of course, we have to show [the same] again next week, so we’ll definitely have a look what we can do better. I’m looking forward to it next week. We just have to keep on going, keep pushing really hard, and then I’m confident that we can do a very good job.”

Hamilton succeeded in setting the fastest lap on the final tour, reducing Verstappen’s points lead by just a single point to 18. It had been an unusual case of Hamilton and Mercedes simply having no answer to their rivals’ superior performance.

“Naturally they’re faster so there’s not a lot that I can do in that respect”, Hamilton said. “Just got to keep trying to do the best that I can each weekend.”

Bottas took the final podium position in third with Perez having been unable to close the gap down in time – instead catching the second Mercedes on the final lap of the race.

Norris finished fifth after a relatively lonely afternoon, but with team mate Daniel Ricciardo out of the points after an early power loss problem, McLaren lost ground to the Ferrari as Sainz and Leclerc occupied sixth and seventh, respectively.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Red Bull Ring, 2021
Verstappen pulled 18 points clear of Hamilton in the title fight
Lance Stroll had a quiet but impressive afternoon to secure a solid eighth place for Aston Martin, while Alonso and Tsunoda were both satisfied to be rewarded for their weekend’s work with the final points positions.

In many ways, Verstappen and Red Bull had given Mercedes a taste of their own medicine for the second consecutive race weekend. How many grands prix in recent years had Verstappen been made to settle for second as he was unable to match the sheer pace of Hamilton and Mercedes over the course of 300 kilometres?

At this stage in the season, it’s clear that the advantage lies with Red Bull. And unless Mercedes can do something drastic to address this new reality, it seems almost inevitable that Red Bull and Verstappen will make the most of their home field advantage when the sport returns for a second Red Bull Ring rodeo next weekend.

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Author information

Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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79 comments on “Verstappen extends lead with Hamilton-esque win on Red Bull’s home ground”

  1. I saw the Leclerc Kimi incident different. It seemed like Kimi moved his line a little too early and not Leclerc.

    1. I saw the win of Verstappen different. Has nothing at all to do with a Hamilton-esque win. A Hamilton-esque win is firstly fiercely battling your team mate for pole, just getting it or just missing out by 0.048. Then the race would see the two team mates cruise off into the distance and need be the second driver is ordered to let the nr 1 driver by (if needed, if the nr1 driver isnt already ahead, followed by the nr2 driver and then a substantial margin to the 3rd ranked car of the race). Thats a Hamilton-esque win. Dont let the Mercedes propaganda PR machine fool you. They still have the best car. Max is outdriving them, not the RB car. Just have a look at where Perez is. I am just so surprised Mercedes isnt a more elegant team in defeat.

      1. +10

        Reply moderated
      2. Get off the potent stuff Mayrton.

      3. Could easily bring up the Russel in Lewis’s car in Bahrain example again of how great Hamilton isn’t. But Ham-fans will deny it fiercly.

      4. I’ll report this comment as correct.

        Best we can hope for is for faster racecar and driver to be behind fastest car in quali.

        Othereise Max and Lewis are well capable of cruising to a victory.

      5. Rodric Ewulf
        29th June 2021, 0:34

        That Mercedes car began the season significantly ahead but now Red Bull is taking over them pace wise as well, not taking a dig on Max’s expertise who is making a terrific run for the championship, more consistent than Lewis.
        Mercedes had a better package by a slim margin at Imola, and at Portimao and Barcelona they were clearly the fastest. RB and Merc were nearly level in Bahrain. But in the last four races it’s hard to argue against the case that Red Bull has been the most complete package in all bar one, Paul Ricard. More car performances like these and it will be nearly consolidated that Red Bull is becoming the new benchmark, at least for 2021.

        1. Agree with this, mustn’t forget mercedes was faster in some of the races you said, there’s also the odd thing that perez was on bottas’ pace, while hamilton wasn’t on verstappen’s pace, but I think that can be explained by a faster red bull in austria with bottas being usually good here.

      6. Mayrton

        Dont let the Mercedes propaganda PR machine fool you. They still have the best car.

        No I don’t think that’s correct at all, the RB is at least the equal of the Mercs we seen that during that last race. A track that is definitely Merc friendly.

        1. I agree with you and Rodric, it is tilting towards RB. But to be there in full, Perez needs to be consistently up there as well (ref: Bottas)

          1. Rodric Ewulf
            30th June 2021, 4:01

            When you think about that, typically Baku is a Perez’ track while Red Bull Ring is a Bottas’ track, those are their respective favourite tracks, at least results wise. Taking that into account you resolve the issue of RB being the fastest in Austria despite Perez finishing behind Bottas, and Perez jumping #1 Merc Hamilton in Baku, what could mislead someone to think that Red Bull was dominant there, while in fact they were ahead but not by much, their performance delta over Mercedes was actually sligthly bigger in Red Bull Ring I race, and it was a surprise.
            But really I’m still not convinced that Verstappen enjoyed a Hamilton-esque advantage on that race either, as the gap betwen the two remained below 5s for most of the race, growing bigger only in the end of stints (particularly the second). A badly arranged set-up may explain the difference, while some out there already proclaimed the end of the championship, ironically the first time in many years when it seems we will have a title race going until the end.
            Apparently very few people bother to take a look at race charts and stuff, even supposedly specialists, they just go for the race result and number of laps led, at most they verify the final gap between drivers and that’s it, they take their conclusions only from that. This is not a serious Formula 1 analysis, so for those ones please don’t make the amazing data resources from this site go to waste! Or at least spare us from your deranged guesses about things, unless you really want to embarass yourself.

  2. Nah. Hamilton-esque win is when the second car is also unbeatable. RedBull is not dominating the sport yet.

    1. Exactly, firstly Perez should be coming in second and secondly the margin towards the subsequent nr 3 behind Perez should be considerable. Then we have a copy of a Lewis win.

      1. Bottas is behind Norris in the championship and Perez has a win to his name so you’re chatting utter nonsense and trying way too hard tbf.

        1. Being behind Norris is a bad look, but if Bottas bad been 2nd in Monaco, which he well should have been, he would be 4th in the standings just fine. Still the least scoring driver of the top two teams, but that probably wouldn’t be too surprising. He missed out on points in Imola and Azerbaijan, where he was driving around in positions Hamilton showed were far below the performance capabilities of the Mercedes car.

        2. @RB13 The only nonsense comment here is yours as everyone knows Perez came 4th. You’re trying too hard.

    2. If anything this is a Vettel-esque win.

      1. Rodric Ewulf
        29th June 2021, 2:39

        Verstappen/Red Bull win at France was very Alonso-esque

        1. More like schumacher-esque, overcutting rivals with several fastest laps was his speciality. Vettel-esque for austria is fitting though.

          1. Rodric Ewulf
            29th June 2021, 17:09

            So which one was Alonso’s favourite way of overcoming faster cars for the win, something he did quite often while driving for Ferrari? If memory serves well he won some races pitting one more time and passing rivals (like Verstappen did in France) in those seasons which ultra high tyre deg was the main factor.

  3. AJ (@asleepatthewheel)
    28th June 2021, 8:31

    Warning: Tin-foil hat on. Take it with a pinch of salt.

    An aspect of the 2021 season rarely mentioned is the new sliding scale allotment of CFD hours/runs. It is revised every 6 months based on the constructor standings. Till 30th June, Merc has 90% (relative to 5th position in 2020- Alpine/Renault) allotment; Red Bull has 92.5% having finished P2 last year. However, from 1st July to 31st December, it will be based on the present constructor standings, which would see Merc being allotted 92.5% compared to Red Bull at 90%. Might Mercedes be targeting these extra hours for their 2022 development?

    Their aim may be to keep RB within striking distance till June 30th, and then unleash the W12 in the second half of the season. 18 and 40 points adrift does not seem to be a lot with around 15 races to go. The other advantage of a close season to Merc is it keeps RB focused on this year’s car, something which would not happen if they ran away with both titles. Obviously no one but they themselves know what they are up to.

    Wolff’s recent comments on how acing the new regulations is of paramount importance to them that they would let this year go waste come across as smoke and mirrors to me. There was nothing in Lewis’ demeanour which suggested he is worried about losing the championship to Max. “There is nothing I can do, they’re really fast” is not simply how he would respond in a pressure situation.

    To conclude, it could either be a completely bogus theory, and Merc has actually dropped the ball this year. Or there is a beast waiting to be unleashed from Silverstone/ post-summer break onwards. From leading last year’s race by 13 seconds to loitering 15 seconds behind yesterday, that is a net loss of 28 seconds in a year which is simply astonishing. Only time will tell..

    1. I belive Lewiss goal was to reach/crack MSC record, now he has reached it he lost his past hunger. He is more “humane”. He is just taking it easy, actually that way he has more chance to win the WDC. Just remember him reminding his team that this is a marathon, not a sprint.

      But at some level you are also right, otherwise we would have seen at least Toto kicking and hitting the table.

      Whatever it is, they don’t want to be weaker the next year than this year.

      My prediction is, if LH won’t win this year, he might try next year, but then he will quit the sport, he is not young anymore. He is seeing his young years in Max, you cannot have that amount of ambition, hunger and energy when you are old.

      Whatever the case is, 2022 -> GR: here I come, of course, with a power point presentation.

      1. Just remember him reminding his team that this is a marathon, not a sprint.

        you do remember the moment he made this remark and what happened next?
        Its not only the car that is not performing.
        Lewis is stacking mistakes like never before under this pressure.
        i.e. Monza, Monaco, Baku, and even austria he nearly lost the car in turn 4

        But indeed the season is still young and a lot can happen.
        But i am afraid de WDC is ,ost this year for Hamilton.

        Mercedes will use the alotted development time for the 2022 car in about two races.
        The development stop last year, to work on the 2021/current car was a total failure. So they have to start earlier.

        1. Davethechicken
          28th June 2021, 19:03

          Erijke
          For probably the only time in history I agree with you.
          Hamilton is getting old by F1 standards and past his peak.
          Merc are clearly second best now.

          RBR have produced a great car, Honda a fine engine and now Max has cut out the silly mistakes, it is a walk in the park.

          1. If you can separate fact from fiction you will do that more often ;)

  4. Why are there no headlines about Perez’ blunder?

    In first lap he passed Lando in turn 3 and chose to attack Lewis towards turn4 instead of taking a defending position to Lando. Now Lando overtook him again and Perez’ race was jeopardised.

    If he was nr3 after lap 1, with Bottas still stuck behind Norris it would have been an easy drive to podium. Possibly undercutting Lewis for a RB 1-2.

    This is the difference between great drivers (Lewis /Max) and Perez/Bottas.

    1. Perez may well have made the wrong decision there. But you make it sound like Lewis, Max and the other greats never make similar or worse blunder which is obviously untrue.

    2. No Headlines about how RedBull lost time in the pit stop, putting Perez behind Bottas…

      1. True. But the thing is:
        If Perez defended properly, after lap 10 this would be the train:
        Max, Lewis +3sec, Perez +2sec, Lando +10sec, bottas +2sec.

        Perez could have undercut Lewis with no threat from Bottas.
        Easy double podium for RB. Perez failed.

        1. ‘If’ Perez didn’t suffer a slow pit stop, he would’ve been 3rd, and everything you mention would be irrelevant.

          It’s a team sport – both RB and Perez could’ve done better.

          1. But you can say he lost more through letting norris past again (trulli-train behind a slower car for many laps) than the 2 sec at the pit stop.

    3. Sergio started the race with soft tyres. He needed to maintain his attack against Lewis because the top performance of those tyres would surely drop after few laps. It didnt work, but with was the right thing to do!

      1. I thought that was the plan. Knowing Bottas was going to be behind because of the grid penalty, stick Perez on softs behind Lewis, get him ahead and then hold up Lewis as long as possible while Max broke clear. Not actually necessary as it happened, but I agree, the plan did entail Perez having to push.

  5. That was a nice race to watch, even though Max’s win was never under threat. Overtaking seemed a little more difficult, because there was a slight tail wind between T1 and 3, which gives the driver ahead a tiny advantage in terms of defence.
    Leclerc’s first-lap incident made the race interesting to watch, also in terms of comparison to the front runners. Whenever he was between T6 and 7, Verstappen was on the straight between T1 and 3. You could really get a feeling of the relative pace between the RB and the Ferrari and Charles was actually not too far off Max as long as he was in clean air. Definitely worth going to the GP =D

    On a side note, I now get why people are complaining about the sound of F1. It really isn’t that loud compared to the Porsche Supercup. Those Porsches really hurt your ears when they are passing through one after another, almost impossible to bear without any kind of ear protection. The F1 cars, on the other hand, don’t have that quality. They are still loud, but they should be even more. Though nice if you are visiting the race with your kids, makes it easier.

    1. Btw @keithcollantine, could you open a new topic at the ‘Going to a Grand Prix’ forum? I’d really want to share my experiences I had at the RB Ring last weekend with all you here.

      1. @srga91 Would love to hear that! I am going to the second race this weekend, will be my first time, so I’d appreciate any tips ;)

        1. @j-l
          We were camping trackside (Camping Blau), which was a great experience and it wasn’t crowded at all (just some annoying neighbours playing their loud and awful techno music, even late at night). The toilets and showers are very clean, the toilets at the circuit as well (incredible how good they smell xD).
          We had tickets for the RB Grandstand N, which was the perfect place to be. You could see action from all around the track: the cars coming out of T1, up the hill to T3, parts of T4 as well, T5 to 7, up the hill to T9 (though not the corner itself) and the exit of the final corner (T10). We paid € 195,- for the tickets and it was totally worth it!
          If you are vaccinated, you need a confirmation about it to enter the Ring. If you aren’t, you either need a valid COVID test result (for the whole stay), get tested trackside which costs either € 33,- or € 99,- (anti-gen or PCR) or have a confirmation you overcame the virus.
          Trackside (inside the Ring) you can only pay by card, but you need cash everywhere else outside.
          The staff at the Ring itself are really friendly, they were just very strict about wearing masks everywhere but your seat in the grandstands. You weren’t even allowed to drink or eat anywhere but your seats. This weekend it should be a lot more relaxed though.
          If you are traveling by car, make sure you park your car outside at the marked spots on Sunday, because those spots get cleared first after the race and you can leave immediately (we didn’t have to wait at all). Otherwise it may take up to 3 hours to leave the area.
          Enjoy your stay at the Ring =D

          1. Really nice write up. I’ve only ever been to the British GP twice and I think the next race I really want to go to must be Austria. For the scenery as much as anything. How accessible is it if you don’t drive though? I take it there’s decent public transport links, some kind of regular bus routes around the race weekend? Also that sounds like a decent price for a seat with such great views!

          2. @srga91 Thanks a lot for the write-up, appreciate it! Our tickets are also in the RB grandstand, just closer to T1. I’m hoping we have a decent view into T3. We have the covid info from the website, so we should be prepared. We are getting tested Thursday morning before we leave (fingers crossed), so we’ll need a new test in Austria. I’m worried that the trackside testing will be really crowded, so we’ll look into other testing sites, possibly in Graz. Any experience with that? The parking info could really come in handy! Thank you!

          3. @srga91 haha there’s always someone with loud techno music when there’s camping somehow :D

          4. @srga91 Get used to good ear plugs when sleeping. Weird at first, but without them now is like not switching off the lights at night. I live in the city center and people can make all the noise they want (which they do), but I hardly hear a thing anyway. The advantage when traveling is obvious.

  6. This is the end of Mercedes’ hopes for the WDC and WCC. Red Bull is winning race after race, qualification after qualification.
    PS: Yeah, and of course Mercedes is still the fastest car. Because Red Bull is winning every races in a row.

    1. Mercedes has the best car. You just cant except that Max can beat Lewis with lesser material. As long as Perez is not comfortably chasing Verstappen towards the 2nd place’ but is still beaten by both Mercedes, it is only Verstappen that closed the gap to both Mercedes. It is a pretty clear picture. If RB had such a good car you would get Perez and Max fighting eachother for pole constantly and having Perez lead races until he is ordered to let Max by etc… we’ve seen hundreds of these races from Mercedes the last 8 years. Lets face it, Lewis icw the best car is not able to cruise away anymore because of Max.

      1. This reality distortion is extremely amusing!

        1. That is true. I am also amazed by how people compare a few race wins to Lewis and Bottas always being there 1-2 for years and years, both in quali and the races. As soon as another team takes some wins all their fans need to defend themselves somehow. It says a lot. I am also surprised by how easily people let the Mercedes narrative of the underdog in. Like you can not analyse what’s in front of you yourselves. Very synchronised PR messaging across Toto and Lewis. If it wasn’t getting so annoying it would actually be very funny to see how un-gentlemen like the Mercedes team has become. Sour and ungrateful towards the past decade.

    2. There’s no reason for Mercedes to give up. They have been competitive pretty much everywhere except here at the Red Bull Ring. Bottas showed Mercedes was perfectly competitive in Monaco, but Hamilton couldn’t get it together that weekend. Hamilton also lost big points in Azerbaijan, where another mistake threw away the race lead and left him with no points. They probably couldn’t have won in France, but might have made Imola competitive if Hamilton hadn’t (again) made an error that send him back down the order.

      Verstappen and Red Bull definitely also left points on the table, but Mercedes’ current deficit is mostly due to their own mistakes.

      1. They absolutely should have won in France, if only it weren’t for Max.

        While behind Lewis Max couldn’t even get close enough once to get DRS, while Lewis behind Max got DRS all the time until he finally backed off whether or not forced by tire wear.

        Reply moderated
        1. Indeed, a lot of people can’t see what’s obvious, that mercedes was more competitive than red bull in france and in several other races. IMO austria is the first non-street track with better race pace from red bull, and even then it’s weird, cause the superiority was only vers vs hamilton, why not also perez vs bottas?

  7. Question for all the stats people out there, is Austria/Styria a Hamilton track? During the hybrid-era he has taken a couple-or-so poles and wins over the nine events at the track. Given his impressive overall stats, his results at this venue look more ordinary compared to his teammates.
    Recent form suggests Verstappen has been able to win at this track since 2018, though unable to match Mercedes last year.
    In the scheme of 2021 being a close year, can this race and the next be considered as tracks Verstappen should win at? In other words, is the fact that Hamilton still finished in second on a less preferred track a sign that the title fight is far from decided?

    1. Its a point and squirt track which doesn’t suit Ham. Plus there are very few places where a driver can make a difference. So Ham not winning is not significant in itself.
      What Max/RB did in France was more impressive, and would still have been if Max had finished a close second.
      If Ham/Merc are second best at Silverstone then you could pretty much say it’s Max/RBs championship to lose. The bookies think so. Ham around 2/1, with Max around 1/2 for the WDC

      1. From reading articles on this website, I got the impression that Monaco and Baku would favour RB, but France would swing in favour of Mercedes. Austria has been good for Max and RB recently, and so it proved again after the race over the weekend. The upcoming race could be the same. That means that the block of five races from Monaco to this week’s Austrian GP, RB could be considered to have the edge in four of those five races. If Max and RB are to take the title, surely these are the races they need to be winning. It seems that the fact that the calendar has us in a block of RB-leaning tracks is leading people to assume that the rest of the season is almost set in stone.

        Which, as you say, Ian, makes Silverstone such an intriguing race this year.

        1. It’s indeed interesting, now reliability is always a question mark but that aside, on paper, with softer tyres, I would expect red bull to be more competitive relative to mercedes (but probably unlikely for them to do even better than this race), since mercedes seems to prefer harder tyres, and I’d expect a worse ferrari, they seem to struggle with degradation in races.

          1. Ops, I meant in the 2nd race in austria ofc, silverstone is interesting to see cause it’s a merc and a hamilton track, unlike these ones.

      2. @ian dearing Verstappen says driving can make a difference on this track, so either he or you are right. I wonder which it is? You wouldn’t make things up just to cover for your hero’s poor performance, would you?

  8. “Hamilton-esque” Wow. He almost drove like Hamilton.

    1. Remember that is probably the closed thing to an praise on this site!

  9. I’m not british but as we saw with Michael and germany could the same happen with Lewis and GB. Verstappen could win this year but GB still have Norris and Russell waiting to really have a change to fight for the championship. If the cards turn out right we could see Norris or Russell winning championships like Ham has done. I’m asking how much is too much?

    In MotoGp there normally will be a spanish or an italian winner. Can this happen in F1. Of course germany didn’t have such history as GB but if Norris or Russell will follow Lewis’ footsteps and become 3,4,5,6 time champions I just can’t help thinking that will have some effect.

  10. @davidhunter13
    I wouldn’t recommend going by public transport (i.e. train), because it isn’t great in the rural areas of Austria (at least not in Styria). I also haven’t seen any local buses arriving from the side we were entering, so there is a good chance there might not be any at all. Maybe it was just down to the fact that there were only 15,000 spectators allowed during the weekend and it wouldn’t have paid off to organise additional means of transportation last weekend.
    And if you arrive by plane (flying to Graz), I would also recommend renting a car, because it’s a whole lot easier to access that way.

    Yes, the tickets were great and those were actually regular prices, no discount included. They haven’t changed for next weekend. The only downside to the main grandstand is that the RB grandstand isn’t covered / no roof. But it’s definitely NOT worth paying € 300,- more for the main grandstand! Even the sun-burnt part of my skin agrees ;)

  11. Long story short, max is better

  12. @j-l
    No worries :) I almost forgot: You can also get tested at the Red Cross (free of charge) in Knittelfeld, Gaaler Strasse 4, 8720 Knittelfeld; But you need to do it by Friday 1 pm, because they don’t work on weekends.
    I missed this opportunity, because nobody told me they won’t work on weekends, so I had to get the test trackside on Sunday. I went there around 9.30 am (just a 10-minute-walk from the track), but it wasn’t crowded at all. They just need your ID and social security number and then you can take the test. You just need to wait a couple of minutes for the result (around 5 or even less). Also very nice people at the testing station.

    1. @srga91 Sadly, that timing doesn’t really work for us. We’ll have PCR tests from Thursday morning (valid for 72h), so the ideal scenario is to get antigen testing (valid for 48h) on Saturday to take us to the end of the weekend. Again, thanks for all the information!!

  13. Max is starting to dominate and has broken Hamilton already who is claiming it’s impossible to beat them.
    The title is done and dusted, Toto has confirmed that Mercedes won’t be bringing any updates this season and are concentrating on 2022.

    1. A 19 point difference with 15 races to go where the team and driver in second have won the last 5 World Championships.

      You’re right let’s pack this thing up and follow NASCAR or something.

      1. It’s all about the momentum, Hamilton has given up the fight already bless him.

        1. Not Hamilton, it was Toto that said the team is not bringing any updates to the car, and has already switched focus to the 2022 car. no point putting resources into a one-off year.

          1. Oliver21 and @scepter Perhaps you could provide quotes from TW that they have stopped updates on this car and are only focussing on 2022. That sure is not what I heard him say, which is that they will still do both for now, and that it is indeed a hard decision as to what to do when. As well, if you have a quote and he has literally said they have given up on this year already, and has LH, that is shockingly disappointing for all their fans. And yet, where’s the headline on this site and others?

          2. It was in this article were he mentions the 2022 focus.

          3. Robbie, do a bit of homework, he said exactly that yesterday. RB have always been development monsters, Mercedes should be ashamed of themselves if they have given up on both titles already. So much for wanting competition, they have all performed poorly this season, both drivers included.

  14. While I do get the concept of the home crowd advantage, I still like what Jacques Villeneuve said back when he first came to Montreal as an F1 driver, the track named after his Dad no less, and they asked him about the home town/crowd advantage, and he said that if it gave him a boost in lap time that would mean he wasn’t trying hard enough at all the other tracks. I thought that was a great point.

    1. Not a very talented nor believable driver though.

  15. Astonishing how this result seems to have broken the spirit of the Hamilton/Mercedes supporters who are re-casting this year’s championship as lost already and a bore.

    Conveniently forgetting we’ve had seven years of almost complete boredom.

    And that just over one week ago, Mercedes lost in France by a tiny margin after they were caught napping on strategy.

    This season is far from over.

    1. Astonishing how Verstappen/Red Bull supporters are already touchy about the season being a tedious foregone conclusion for Max rather than just enjoying the moment :oP

      Fact is this was the first totally dominant race of the season, as the F1 podcast discussed, the first race where you couldn’t say another driver/team could have won. Does that mean the season is over? Hope not as up to this race, it was fantastic. Following the nailed-on win for Max at Austria 2, the next three circuits should give the answer: UK, Hungary and Spa. If Red Bull win those, or are clearly fastest anyhow, then it’s pretty much sorted.

      And just to point out: it’s actually Verstappen fans above crowing that Max ‘has broken Hamilton’. Maybe re-check the narrative…

      1. I could never say hamilton wouldn’t have won this race because reliability is still a question mark, what about baku? And mercedes has been more reliable for the last I don’t know how many years, red bull was lacking in this sense ever since I think, and as you can see from the points, reliability is more important than speed.

        But on pace indeed, this was a pretty safe win for verstappen, he pulled away early on, which he usually couldn’t do and gap was stable around 4 sec after the pit for a few laps, then pulled away again.

  16. When do we talk about BOT finishing 3rd in a 2nd place car? NOR was defending against PER and BOT never closed. It was BOT-esque.

  17. I said this in a previous post, but I think everyone has moved on already –
    “Hamilton says Mercedes need an upgrade to fight Red Bull after Styrian GP defeat”
    Essentially Lewis is saying that he can’t beat Max without the fastest car. This puts pay to all the past comments around Merc being dominant because of Lewis being so great. The truth is now out for everyone to see and basically admitted by Lewis making these comments, No matter how good a driver is (And Lewis is damn good) you can’t win if the other driver/car combination is faster and definitely not if the other car is faster. Lewis is an awesome driver, but has benefited massively from being in the right car at the right time (Probably true of almost all Champions).
    F1 is actually a Manufacturers Championship after all. Manufacturers are NOT there for the drivers, drivers are there for the Manufacturers.

    Reply moderated
  18. Finally had a chance to watch the race. How refreshing is it to see different drivers on the podium in every race? My oh my.

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