Haas' best weekend in F1
Austria was Haas' 50th Grand Prix weekend in the sport following their debut event at the 2016 Australian Grand Prix. Yesterday's race became their most successful meeting in Formula 1 so far.
The Haas is a quick car and at Sunday's race at the Red Bull Ring, they finally collected points with both cars in 2018.
Romain Grosjean has thrown away a lot of points so far this year, but in Austria, he was back to his 2013 best.
He was P7 in all the practice sessions and did an amazing job to beat Ricciardo in qualifying as he lined up 5th on the grid thanks to Vettel's penalty. Romain was 0.8s quicker than the next non-Haas midfield car, the Renault of Carlos Sainz.
Ricciardo and Vettel made quick work of him in the first couple of laps as it quickly became clear Red Bull as well as Ferrari and Mercedes were much stronger in race trim compared to the Haas'. Bottas' retirement meant Grosjean got a free stop under VSC conditions and that left him in a comfortable 6th place.
The problems for Hamilton and Ricciardo gifted Grosjean P4 and that's where he finished; despite heavy blistering towards the end on his rear tyres. It was a very well-deserved result on a weekend where he was clean, very fast and consistent.
It's Grosjean first top 4 finish in a Grand Prix since the 2015 Belgian Grand Prix and he's finally got on the board in 2018.
Consistency is something Kevin Magnussen has started to show this year and his very strong form continued in Spielberg. He lacked a couple of tenths compared to Grosjean in qualifying and ended up 8th on the grid.
After jumping Vettel on lap one, the German quickly rounded him up. While Grosjean pitted under VSC due to Bottas' car been in an unsafe spot, the Dane stayed out. From a gap of 4 seconds before the VSC, K-Mag found himself 15s behind his stablemate following his stop on lap 29.
He caught Ocon but it took him a good 8 or 9 laps to pass him and ultimately that cost him a shot at attacking Grosjean before the end of the race. Like his French team-mate, he benefitted from retirements ahead.
10 more points added to his total and he's now the best of the rest behind the top 6 in the standings. Even though it's his fourth season in the sport, this is turning into a breakthrough year for the Danish star.
It was a wonderful event on a landmark occasion for the American owned team in Austria. They achieved 22 points and that's their best score at a Grand Prix weekend so far. They also leapt ahead of McLaren up to 5th in the constructors' standings. Well done Haas.
Fantastic Force India
What a journey it has been for the team owned by Vijay Mallya. They've faced some difficult times after their first race at the 2008 Australian Grand Prix – but their 200th Grand Prix at the Red Bull Ring proved to be very kind to them, eventually.
Qualifying was extremely tough for the team as Esteban Ocon (11th) and Sergio Perez (17th) suggested points would be tough to accumulate in the race. Yet, things turned around for them yesterday.
From 15th on the grid, charging Checo vaulted up the order and by lap 13, he'd moved up to P9; including overtakes on Stroll and Sainz. Ocon was running P8 after also gaining a couple of spots. He got the jump on Sainz at the start and the retirements of Bottas and Hulkenberg helped him as well.
Like at Haas, one car pitted (Ocon) and the other stayed out (Perez) during the VSC period to recover the Mercedes of the Finn.
After Magnussen pitted, Ocon found himself up in 7th and looked like he had the chance to split the Haas cars. However, Magnussen got through on much fresher tyres. The retirements of Hamilton and Ricciardo moved him up to 6th.
Meanwhile, Perez, who pitted a lap before Magnussen, rejoined in 11th. He dispensed of Ericsson and Sainz to get himself back in the points. Like Ocon, he benefitted from the issues for Ricciardo and Hamilton. Perez caught his stablemate and Ocon let the Mexican through so he could try to have a go at K-Mag for P5.
Ultimately, it was not to be and Perez let Ocon back through on the final as they sealed 6th and 7th and collected 14 vital points. It was the first time in 2018 that the two cars secured points in a Grand Prix.
A great result on a huge milestone for a team who have outperformed other squads with bigger budgets and staff in the previous two seasons in particular. Huge congratulations to Force India on a fantastic achievement.