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5 talking points from the Austrian Grand Prix

Max's masterclass, Leclerc vs Verstappen, Mercedes struggle and more talking points from a superb weekend in Austria.

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5 talking points from the Austrian Grand Prix
Fuente imagen: Jerry Andre - MotorLat

Magnificent Max makes history with Honda  

Max Verstappen has probably been the benchmark driver in F1 so far this year – and he reaffirmed that view with a simply stunning victory at Red Bull’s home track.  

A victory seemed impossible after bogging down at the start and dropping down to 8th on the opening lap and trailed Charles Leclerc by almost 15s at the end of lap 10. Yet, he never gave up and took a sensational victory.  

Running a lot longer in the first stint compared to Leclerc, Bottas and Vettel proved to be critical in the end. He overtook Vettel and Bottas on laps 50 and 56 respectively to be P2. Then, we all saw the sensational duels on laps 68 and 69 between himself and Leclerc for victory. 

Ultimately, the Dutchman came out on top and took a second consecutive win at the Austrian venue and his sixth victory in F1. He’s absolutely on fire at the moment and we’re witnessing something truly special from this exceptionally talented driver. 

Honda deserves massive credit, too. Following an incredibly tough and difficult three years with McLaren, they’re winners in F1 again for the first time since the 2006 Hungarian Grand Prix with Jenson Button. Their engine has been incredibly reliable in 2019.  

After some serious hard work with Toro Rosso in 2018, they are reaping the benefits with Red Bull. You would suspect there are a lot more victories to come for the Red Bull and Honda partnership. 

Well done to Honda for an incredible turnaround and reaching the top step of an F1 podium again. It's one of the biggest and best stories of the V6 era.

A glimpse towards the future 

The Austrian Grand Prix will be remembered for a long time as an amazing, classic race – and rightly so. But it also gave us was an example of what to expect on a regular basis in the 2020s when Hamilton and Vettel retire: Charles Leclerc vs Max Verstappen fighting for victories and championships. Both 21-year-olds were absolutely outstanding in Austria.  

Leclerc stormed to pole and he looked totally unfazed in the lead of a Grand Prix for the second time this year. He did his absolute best to hold Verstappen off, but it wasn’t to be. Nonetheless, he can be extremely proud of his performance. That first win can’t be far away. 

They started on the front row together, had a thrilling battle for the victory and finished 1st and 2nd. They’re the future of Formula One and let’s hope yesterday was the first of many absorbing battles between the pair. 

Mercedes are not invincible  

The signs were there in Bahrain that it was unlikely Mercedes would win every single race in 2019 – and the astonishing winning run came to an end in Austria. 

Problems with cooling left them on the back foot at the weekend – and it allowed Ferrari and Verstappen to capitalise on it.  

Hamilton did a great lap to be provisionally on the front row – but a penalty for blocking Raikkonen left him 4th on the grid.  

The race didn’t go any better. Bottas managed to finish P3 – but he never had the pace to challenge Leclerc for the win. Verstappen caught and passed him, Vettel almost did the same, too. 

Hamilton looked competitive in the opening stint after getting into clear air in the lead. However, a sudden issue forced Mercedes to change Hamilton’s front wing at his stop. It left him in P5 and that’s where he ended up finishing. 

A very disappointing, low-key day for the 2019 pacesetters. Expect them to bounce back at Silverstone in two weeks. 

Giovinazzi gets off the mark 

It took until the ninth event of the 2019 season, but the Italian driver finally scored his first F1 point yesterday. Giovinazzi fully deserved it following a very strong weekend. 

He looked set to outqualify Raikkonen as the Italian seemed to have a small advantage throughout Saturday – but the Finn ultimately pipped him by 0.013s as the Alfas both got into Q3.  

From 7th on the grid, he lost two spots on the opening lap to Vettel and Gasly. However, he drove an extremely solid race from there on in and closely followed Raikkonen throughout the race. While both Alfas got gobbled up by Sainz in the closing stages, he managed to cross the line in P10.  

Giovinazzi has really upped his game recently following a tough start and some bad luck. If he continues to deliver, the Italian should retain his seat at Alfa for 2020. 

The Red Bull Ring delivers another great race 

Schumacher vs Montoya; Hakkinen vs Schumacher; Rosberg vs Hamilton; Hamilton vs Vettel; Verstappen vs Leclerc. It’s safe to say we’ve seen some thrilling duels over the years at the Austrian venue and yesterday did not disappoint. 

It may be the shortest circuit on the calendar but it consistently produces great racing. When cars are able to follow closely, you get this type of thrilling action that we all witnessed yesterday. 

Leclerc vs Verstappen was the standout battle of the day but there were plenty of others, too. Raikkonen vs Norris, Vettel vs Hamilton, Gasly vs Raikkonen and Norris vs Ricciardo to name a few. Verstappen and Sainz’s charges through the field were superb as well. 

Well done to the Red Bull Ring for providing another great spectacle. A much-needed shot in the arm for the sport following a relatively dull season to this point.  

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