RED Bull’s Max Verstappen eased to victory at the Styrian Grand Prix in Austria. Verstappen, in his first career back-to-back, closed the race with a moment of showmanship over the finish line.
Nearest challenger Lewis Hamilton was nearly 35 seconds behind after conceding to a second pitstop to claim the fastest point – and a solitary extra point. The Dutchman has extended his championship lead over Hamilton to 18 points and Red Bull’s lead over Mercedes in the Constructors championship.
Verstappen had a good start and, after holding off Hamilton’s Mercedes into turn 1, gradually began to increase the gap between the two cars. After 10 laps Verstappen had taken the gap to just above 3 seconds
The podium consisted of Verstappen, Hamilton, and Valterri Bottas for the 17th time. An all too familiar ending to most races in 2020 – after the Styrian GP it feels like the trio has not stood next to each other in quite some time.
Verstappen’s Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez continued a good run of form finishing 4th – narrowly missing out a final podium place to Bottas.
“I am super happy to win here and doing it at home at the Red Bull Ring is always so special. I had a really enjoyable race, the car was working well and I always enjoy driving on this track. I just focused on my own race, concentrating on hitting the apexes in the places I wanted to, looking after the tyres and it worked out well.
“You never know how competitive or how close it’s going to be on a Sunday and to be honest I really wasn’t expecting it to be like it was today as the long run pace between the two teams was very closely matched all weekend.” Verstappen concluded.
McLaren’s Lando Norris drove a calm race, undeterred for most of the race after a lap 10 duel with Perez, to finish fifth. Ferrari duo Carlos Saniz and Charles Leclerc finished sixth and seventh respectively, with the Spainard climbing up six places from 12th. Leclerc would have to muster up the strength to come from the back of the grid, nearly 20 seconds behind the last Haas car of Mick Schumacher, after collecting front wing damage on lap one.
The Monagesque would put on a masterclass of overtaking on his way to seventh. “It’s a bitter-sweet feeling” said Leclerc after the race, “The incident on lap 1 put us on the back foot. It’s a shame because we lost a good opportunity to bring home an even better result. From the second lap onwards, I would rank this as on of my best races so far in Formula 1. The car felt amazing, the pace was there, and I took every opportunity to make a strong recovery.”
Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll finished 8th, closely followed by Alpine Racing’s Fernando Alonso. AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda completed the top 1, continuing AlphaTauri’s run of points finishes, after Pierre Gasly retired from the race after lap 1.
Starting from 13th on the grid, Daniel Ricciardo managed to benefit a lot, moving up into 9th after having passed Tsunoda and Sainz in the start as well. However, on lap 5, Daniel lost a position to Tsunoda, and the next lap lost another three positions due to a loss in power. When the team told him the issue was resolved, Daniel was back in 13th.