2019 Austrian Grand Prix Review: The Future of F1

Formula 1 returned to the Austrian hills of Spielberg for round nine of the season, the Austrian Grand Prix. Definitely the best race of the season so far, the Austrian GP delivered what fans desperately needed after the French GP.

Qualifying saw Charles Leclerc taking pole for the second time this season, although he won’t have fond memories of the first time he got pole position. In Bahrain with just ten laps to go his engine went wrong, but he still managed to take third place. Lewis Hamilton took second place, although a three place grid penalty for impeding Kimi Räikkönen during qualifying saw him start from fourth. This was due to another penalty, for Kevin Magnussen who qualified P5 but he had a five place grid penalty, thus starting from tenth. ‘Local boy’ Max Verstappen, thanks to the packed orange grandstands, starts from second place with Valtteri Bottas behind. Norris in fifth showed the progression McLaren has made this season. Drama for Vettel meant he starts the race from ninth, after not being able to set a time in Q3 due to problems with the floor.

Max Verstappen had a horrible start, not being able to come off the line at all, dropping him back to seventh place. Norris had an impressive start and took third place exiting turn one, but Hamilton charged back and even Räikkönen got past him for fourth. Vettel had to make up some positions which he did, overtaking the McLaren of Norris for fifth place. The Brit now had to defend from the poorly started Dutchman.

That same Verstappen went on to P5 overtaking Räikkönen in the Alfa Romeo in lap nine, with a gap of four seconds to Vettel in front of him.

Magnussen was under investigation for being out of position on the grid. The stewards awarded him a drive-through penalty. A great result in qualifying, a drama in the race for the Danish Haas driver.

A nice surprise to see was George Russell in the Williams battling with Kvyat and Grosjean for seventeenth place. Kubica however was still struggling in last place.

A fight for seventh between Räikkönen and Gasly was the most entertaining one. Pierre struggled to get past the Finn, but every time he tried Räikkönen showed he’s still capable of racing and defending perfectly. Finally, after around twenty laps of battling the Frenchman got past. Throughout the field the gaps were extending fast, very few battles took place. It was all about strategy now.

On lap twenty-two Bottas came into the pits for his first stop, changing from the mediums to the hard tyres. A pretty big gamble, as Leclerc on the softs was still pulling away up front. Vettel immediately came in as well for the same change of tyres, but the stop took longer than expected, leading to frustration at the team. One lap later it was the race leader coming in for his pit stop, also opting for the hard tyres.

These changes meant that Hamilton was now leading the race, in front of Verstappen. Both still had to make their pit stop.

In lap thirty-one Hamilton came in for his stop. However, it was not only tyres they were changing. A few laps earlier he reported a ‘loss of downforce’ to the team. They didn’t want to take any risks and changed the front wing as well. Verstappen reacted to that by immediately coming in as well, re-joining in front of Hamilton in fourth place.

For third place the heat was on between Vettel and Verstappen, the latter one on much newer tyres.

With fifteen laps to go Verstappen overtook Bottas for second place, leading to a massive standing ovation from the orange crowds. He was putting up insanely fast lap times on the board, and with ten laps to go the gap to Leclerc shrunk to four seconds. A nail-biting end of a better race than the previous ones, although still lacking more battles.

Just five laps to go, the gap shrunk to a very tight one second. Reports over the radio that he had a loss of power disappeared when he showed the pace.

The battle of the season was fought out between the future of F1, Leclerc and Verstappen. A hard-fought battle into the third corner, even a bit of contact and the Monegasque got pushed wide in an aggressive, but fair battle. Verstappen took the lead, but it was unsure for how long as the incident got under investigation by the stewards. Some controversial moments happened this year with stewards after the race, but Austria wouldn’t be interfered with. Max Verstappen took another win at Austria, just like 2018 in a dramatic manner.

Charles Leclerc ended up in second, a great result for the Ferrari youngster, who definitely hoped for more and for 90% of the race, it looked like that was possible. Bottas would join them on the podium, although it was very close in the end with Vettel.

Possibly the most exciting race of the season so far, F1 leaves Austria to head to a circuit where the crowds won’t be orange. They will be full of British flags for the British GP at Silverstone in two weeks time.

A Second Home – Red Bull’s Max Verstappen & Daniel Ricciardo Look Ahead To Spa & Monza | M1TG

Check out the latest Mobil 1 The Grid feature, in which Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo look ahead to the Belgian and Italian Grands Prix, and highlight their special connections with both events.

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Halo Vs. AeroScreen – Max Verstappen, Daniel Ricciardo & Scott Dixon On F1 Cockpit Safety | Mobil 1 The Grid

Check out the newest video from Mobil 1 The Grid in which Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo give their thoughts on what they call an ‘ugly’ Halo design, and the reasons behind its full-scale introduction, while Scott Dixon comments on IndyCar’s Aeroscreen alternative, which has been inspired by jet fighter canopies.

Max Verstappen on the Halo: “The car is very ugly with it. I’ll keep saying that for the rest of the season, because I really don’t like it. It’s a shame really for Formula 1. It’s a bit safer, but at the end of the day, you can never make it 100% safe anyway.”

Photographer Credit: Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Daniel Ricciardo on the Halo: “It’s visually not the most pretty thing, but it’s fine. I think people will just get used to it. It’s there for a reason; it’s there for those freak accidents and for head injuries. What the fans and viewers need to not get confused or get misled by is that it doesn’t change anything what we do… racing, attacking, defending, how much you’re willing to put the car on the limit – the Halo doesn’t change any of that. Is it attractive? No. But were the F1 cars in 2009 attractive when they went to the big front wings and skinny rear wings? No, they thought they were ugly as hell. But after a few races your eyes just get used to looking at them. Yeah, they’re ugly, but they’re not as ugly as they were a few months ago. If there’s a crash and a part comes flying in the air, if it is going to land in front of you, it could save a death, that’s really all it is.”

Scott Dixon on the Aeroscreen: “The Halo wasn’t something that was feasible for us [in IndyCar], mostly because of the ovals sight-line. You’re in a looking up position, so you’d be looking directly at it. I think the Aeroscreen, with the backing of PPG [Industries], with what they’ve done in the past with fighter-jets, they’d already had a good concept and a good idea of what works and what doesn’t work.”

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Racing In The Rain – Max Verstappen Relives His Epic Drive At The 2016 Brazilian Grand Prix | Mobil 1 The Grid

Check out the newest video from Mobil 1 The Grid in which Max Verstappen previews the Brazilian Grand Prix, during which he recalls his epic drive at last year’s race in the rain at Interlagos.

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Max Verstappen has agreed the contract with Red Bull Racing for a further three years

Max Verstappen continues to race for Red Bull Racing for a further three years. The 20-year-old Dutchman, who won this year’s Malaysian GP, is happy with the decision. “Their support, from the guys and girls in the factory through to the crew in the garage, no matter what plays out on the race track, has always been 100 per cent. We’ve also had some fun times! I’m very happy to commit further to Red Bull Racing.”
Max started his F1 journey as a part of Red Bull’s young driver programme. “Red Bull has always shown their faith and belief in me with actions; inviting me in to the young driver programme as a 16-year-old, then giving me my start in Formula One when I was just 17, and then the opportunity to race with Red Bull Racing where I had such a dream start with this team. They have always backed me and my ambition and I know we share that ambition.” He expects more successes in the future.

Credit: Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

The Team Principal said: “We are delighted that Max has agreed to extend his contract with Red Bull Racing. We had a phenomenal start together in Spain last year and Max has only pushed on from there. It was a great moment for the whole team to see him put the frustrations of this season behind him in taking that fantastic victory in Malaysia last month. He is pure racer, with an undeniable talent at the wheel and a rare instinct for what it takes to compete consistently at this level. Coupled with a committed work ethic and a mature approach to learning his craft that belies his years, Max is right to be hungry for success”. Christian Horner belives that Red Bull Racing is the right team for Verstappen to win the championship. “As we now look to the long term with Max he is in the best place in the sport to build a team around him to deliver our shared ambition.”

Credit: Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool