Hamilton sends a message to Bottas
A disappointing opening race (thanks to a time penalty for his collision with Albon) 8 days ago left the Brit trailing his Finnish teammate by 13 points heading into the Styrian Grand Prix.
The six-time World Champion bounced back in style at the weekend, however.
On a soaking track in qualifying, Hamilton showed his wet weather brilliance once again. He took pole by over a second from Max Verstappen as he blew the field away with one of the best qualifying laps you'll witness in those conditions.
A perfect start saw him maintain the lead into T1 and totally controlled the race from there. Whilst Bottas finished 2nd, Hamilton put laid down a big marker to his stablemate.
The Brit has to be favourite to wrap up this 7th Championship in 2020, even if he's currently 6 points behind the Finn at present.
Albon is struggling just like Gasly last year
Talking to Sky Sports on Friday during Free Practice, Christian Horner told the UK broadcaster that it was a ''definite no" about a possible return of Sebastian Vettel to Red Bull Racing in 2020. That means Alex Albon looks set to retain his seat next year.
However, Albon had a bad weekend at the Red Bull Ring and they may need to reconsider who gets the drive alongside Verstappen in 2021 if his form continues like this.
He had a number of spins as he struggled to find a good balance and ended up P6 on the grid. The race was also very difficult for the Thai pilot.
He was miles off Max Verstappen's pace in the first stint and saw the Dutchman rejoin ahead of him after making his first stop. The gap was a whopping 22s after 23 laps.
He only just held Sergio Perez off for P4 as the Racing Point driver damaged his wing after touching the right rear tyre of the RB16 with three laps to go.
Albon's pace on the medium tyres was stronger, but a late pitstop for Verstappen who tried to go for the fastest lap hid the reality of the deficit to his stablemate.
The Thai has got a lot of work to do to get close anywhere close to Verstappen. The pressure is very much on the Thai driver already.
Racing Point and Sergio Perez are very quick.... in the dry
Saturday was incredibly disappointing for the British-based team as Lance Stroll (P13) and Sergio Perez (P17) had a nightmare in the wet conditions. Race day was very fruitful for the team, though.
Perez flew through the field from P17 to P5 with a series of nice overtakes as the Mexican showed off his incredible race pace yet again. He set a number of Fastest Laps as he chased down Albon for P4.
Unfortunately for the Mexican, he broke his front wing after small contact with the Thai on lap 69, which allowed Lando Norris to overtake him in the final corner for P5. He just held on to 6th as Stroll and Ricciardo almost passed him on the run to the line.
P6 and P7 from lowly grid positions shows the raw speed Racing Point have; they just need to put a perfect weekend together now.
If they survive the appeal from Renault about the legality of their cars, a podium is surely within reach at some point.
It goes from bad to worse for Ferrari
Charles Leclerc may have rescued a podium for Ferrari at the Austrian Grand Prix, but their deficiencies were laid bare. Nonetheless, it got even worse for the Italian giants at the weekend.
Just like at the first event at the Red Bull Ring, Ferrari were P10 and P11 in Q2; this time it was Vettel in front of Leclerc.
They looked set for a tough race, but it turned into an almighty shambles on the opening lap.
Leclerc tried an ambitious move on his teammate into T3 and his car got briefly airborne on the kerb. The back of his car touched and broke Vettel's rear wing. Leclerc also picked up damage and both their races were done before they even properly got going.
It was a silly mistake by the 22-year-old and quite rightly held his hands up talking to the media after the race.
Ferrari's updates didn't seem to make too much difference on the evidence of free practice either.
The next 17 months look set to be incredibly long for the Maranello team. They're miles off the pace.
"I apologised - I'm disappointed in myself and I let the team down"@Charles_Leclerc put his hand up and took responsibility after a collision with Sebastian Vettel on Sunday 💥✋— Formula 1 (@F1) July 13, 2020
Here's a look at that dramatic moment from all the angles #AustrianGP 🇦🇹 #F1 pic.twitter.com/o4oMKxvxdT
The midfield gives us thrilling entertainment
It's the area where most of the great action normally takes place – and that didn't change at the Styrian Grand Prix.
The last two laps saw Lando Norris overtake Ricciardo, Stroll and a wounded Perez to sensationally claim P5. It all kicked off thanks to Stroll's divebomb on Ricciardo on the penultimate lap at T3.
There was plenty of other cracking tussles before that as well.
- Perez vs Sainz
- Perez vs Stroll
- Ocon vs Ricciardo
- Alfas vs the Haas'
Thankfully the TV director decided to focus on the breathtaking tussles in the midfield and not the rather dull race that was happening at the front. Long may the great racing continue.