A race to remember: the Austrian Grand Prix with its 11 cars to cross the finish line had been hectic from the start to the chequered flag. Podium for Charles and 1-point 10th place for Vettel, as the first double race at Red Bull Ring was gone.
Cavallino drivers were praising for everything unexpected from the 71 laps around the Styrian Alps: that was the only chance to straighten the P7 and P11 gained at Saturday’s qualifying. A Soft set for Leclerc and a Medium for Vettel were the obliged tyre options given the positions.
Charles managed to recover yet after the ‘lights out’ trying to pass Sergio Perez: he will get ahead of the Mexican later the last laps of the race with a hard breaking at turn 3. On the second lap was Carlos Sainz to fall down the axe of #16. A fake pit stop call from the team announced the first change, made on lap 23 under Safety Car: a fresh set of Hard was the sign of long stint ahead. The second call of the pace car took out the chance for a Medium set: the choice paid off as Norris and ‘Checo’ were unable to react to the undertakes:
I'm extremely happy, it feels like a victory today. We had a little bit of luck, obviously, with Lewis's penalty. Some crashes here and there and that was a goal to take every opportunity we had even though we, didn't have the pace to to finish where we were I think. There's still a lot of work to do. We are still far away and we are not where we want to be, but anything is possible.
The Finn conquers the first race of the 2020 season after starting from pole position. He managed to stay out of trouble while a fiery Charles Leclerc and an impressive Lando Norris, who also clocked the fastest lap, join him on the podium.
Sebastian Vettel, on the other hand, had a bottlenecked start; he had to defend from Daniel Ricciardo ramping on him for almost 20 laps, until the Aussie retired. Under the first Safety Car period, team managed to mount him a Hard compound rubber as the strategy was specular to teammate. However, race was even longer for the German: on lap 31 the late move onto Carlos Sainz led to a contact giving the Ferrari a spin. A 15th place was the ground to start rebuild the remaining and a Soft set with the others’ retirements let him have reason over Daniil Kvyat for the last top ten spot:
Honestly I'm glad I only spun once because today was really difficult. Carlos and I got very close, he moved inside but I was already on the limit because I wanted to get as close as possible and I lost the rear. In fact I lost it a couple more times today and as I said before I'm glad I only spun once. We have to take a good look, for sure the car was very difficult to drive today and I gave it my best. In the end the Safety Car helped us a little bit, the last laps were fun but the result is not what I wanted.