It’s been a while since I last posted, about a month I think, due to my busy A-Level schedule so I haven’t been able to talk about the recent 3 Grand Prix races in Austria, Great Britain and Hungary therefore I’ll do them all today but I’ll most likely do them in three separate posts to make it easier for you all to read.
The Austrian Grand Prix consists of 71 laps and was first used in 1970. For those who still haven’t watched this year’s race, it was Valtterri Bottas that won. Sebastien Vettel came second followed by Daniel Riccardo who came third and unfortunately, Lewis Hamilton came fourth. Bottas performed exceptionally as he dominated the Austrian Grand Prix to take his second victory of the year ahead of Sebastian Vettel as Lewis Hamilton recovered to fourth after a disappointing performance. Why is it disappointing, I hear you ask? Well, after a poor qualifying session, Hamilton started eighth with a five-place grid penalty, and now is 20 points behind Ferrari driver Vettel in the championship.
Although many British hearts (including mine) were torn to see Hamilton start eighth, the race still was tremendous. Honestly, I was going to switch my TV off after seeing Hamilton start so low on the grid because I thought the race would just be boring but the last few laps…. dude. The race came ALIVE. There was tension across the track as Vettel closed on Bottas for the lead and Hamilton did the same to Ricciardo for the final podium place however Riccardo and Bottas served and delivered, managing to keep their positions. Much to Bottas’ delight also, he can now consider himself a title contender now he’s just 15 points behind Hamilton in the standings Although from Hamilton’s point of view, team-mate Bottas’ victory at least limited the damage Vettel was able to wreak after a difficult weekend for him. This race was without a doubt intense as there was so much excitement, tension and battles on track between team rivalries and even drivers within the same team. Tension was without a doubt expected as it was the first race since Vettel (booooooooooooooooooo!) drove into Hamilton in Azerbaijan. In the context of the weekend, arguably Hamilton lost the least, dropping only a further six points to Vettel when it would have been considerably worse had the Ferrari driver won. Hamilton made up one place at the start after a poor getaway by Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, who was then taken out after Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat misjudged his braking and hit Fernando Alonso’s McLaren, pushing it into the teenager’s car.The Briton then picked his way past Force India’s Sergio Perez on lap six and Haas’ Romain Grosjean on lap eight, before setting about closing on Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen. Hamilton (slaying as per usual) was on the Finn’s tail by lap 19, having closed a 4.5-second gap in 10 laps, but could not pass. An earlier pit stop on lap 31 enabled him to jump ahead of the Ferrari, but it meant Hamilton, who was already struggling with blistering rear tyres, had to do the remaining 40 laps on a set of the softest ultra-soft tyres.
The hope was that he could attack Red Bull’s Ricciardo in third place but that faded as Hamilton was soon complaining that the grip was going away, and Mercedes said they would look at options. Another stop would have meant a fall down the field, so Hamilton had to soldier on and it was stalemate from there to the end. He closed up on Ricciardo to within just over a second in the closing stages, setting a couple of fastest laps.
Bottas’ only concern was an investigation for a potential jumped start after he made a flying getaway, with clear air between him and Vettel as they went up the hill to Turn One. However, his reaction time of 0.201 seconds was well within that acceptable range and the Finn drove away serenely at the front.
His lead over Vettel was eight seconds by the time the German stopped on lap 34. Bottas waited another seven laps, which meant his advantage was cut to 2.8 seconds when he returned to the track. He came out behind Raikkonen, who had yet to stop, but was soon past and controlled the race to the end. There was tension in the last three laps, with Vettel closing to within just 1.2 seconds as Bottas struggled with rear-tyre blisters but the Mercedes driver was always in control.
Race winner Valtteri Bottas: “I had a bit of deja vu in the end from Russia. Vettel was catching up but the problem was I had a massive [tyre] blister. At the beginning, I could control the race but it was trickier towards the end. I’m really happy. It’s only the second win in my career. I think that was the start of my life.”
Championship leader Sebastian Vettel: “How would you feel if you were just shy of half a second behind the winner? It was very close. I was very happy in the second stint of the race. As soon as we put on the super-soft tyre, the car came alive. I think I needed one more lap because Bottas was really struggling to get up the hill.”
Third-placed Daniel Ricciardo, who took his fifth consecutive podium finish: “It was a fun race. There were some decisive moments at the start and then it was about defending the last couple of laps. But I stuck to my breaking points and held off. Max Verstappen got the home podium last year and I was a bit envious, so it’s nice to be up. The second last lap was the tightest and Hamilton got close but I was very pleased to see the chequered flag.”
That’s it for the Austrian Grand Prix, sorry it’s extremely shorter than the usual length and doesn’t consist of many of my own personal opinions but I thought I’d keep it as concise and sport-related as possible especially as I am yet to get through the other two races as well.
Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this reflection.