After a lacklustre Canada and Baku, could Austria provide some entertainment?
It certainly showed much promise with a starting grid peppered with penalties for chassis failures and gear box changes. Mass and Kvyat started from the pit lane, while Rosberg and Vettel both had 5 place grid penalties nulling their qualifying positions.
PROVISIONAL GRID – TOP 10
— Formula 1 (@F1) July 3, 2016
A good day at the office for Button
Hulkenberg and Button, benefitting from the rain and the penalties, enjoyed the opportunity to race at the front for a while, and while it was expected the Mclaren would struggle it was Hulkenberg’s Force India that went backwards quickest. Indeed whatever problems he had off the line, they troubled him all day, they weren’t helped by a 5 second penalty for speeding in the pit lane while under the safety car, and he finally finished 19th. Jenson however, held off as long as he could, but it wasn’t long before his mirrors were full of Ferrari, then Red Bull. He did well to hang on, and enjoyed his afternoon finishing 6th.
Ferrari strategy at fault once again?
Sebastian Vettel, celebrating his 29th birthday, was pushing through the field, trying a longer stint on the supersoft to give him the edge later on. Once again though Ferrari were scuppered when Sebs’ right rear exploded and sent him for an early bath. The safety car that followed, negated leads and advantages as expected, and we went racing once more.
— WTF1 (@wtf1couk) July 3, 2016
Red Bulls relish the Red Bull Ring
Laden in Lederhosen however fake, the Red Bull drivers were much more impressive than expected. Ricciardo, managed to maintain his start position of 5th after chasing down Button in the Mclaren, but Verstappen rose to the occasion, for once their strategy paid off, Max led the race prior to his pit stop, and hung on gamely keeping Raikkonen behind, finally taking second on the podium. He’ll be back in the good books after his last few outings, especially given this is the teams home race.
— Red Bull Racing (@redbullracing) July 3, 2016
Silver arrows clash once again
Rosbergs’ impressive drive from 6th to take the lead for a good part of the race looked like the drive of a champion, but by the last lap, Hamilton was all over his brand new gear box, and when Lewis shot down the outside, Nico failed to stop in time, nudging Lewis of the track, they touched again as Hamilton regained the track, with the German coming off worst. His front wing in tatters, he limped home to take 4th, while Lewis took the win. Once again, these two have thrown away valuable team points. It’s just as well they have no real competitors in the constructors championship, or things could be very different. How often have we seen one of them drive the other off the track? Usually just track position the penalty, but all to often, they come together, and one or other comes off the loser.
What Mercedes now do with their drivers to avoid further collisions, we’ll wait and see, no one likes team orders, but if they cannot drive to the benefit of the team..? Lewis said it himself on the podium “I race to win!”. This event has been placed firmly at Rosbergs door with him receiving a 10 second time penalty and 2 points on his licence for not allowing Lewis “racing room”. Will it have the same effect as the Spa collision in 2014? Wrecking Rosbergs’ confidence allowing Lewis to race away again in the Championship, or will he see the red mist, get his head down, and be more determined than ever to take this years crown? Toto Wolff is threatening team orders, having thought they’d learned their lesson in Barcelona this year. Alas, it felt almost inevitable as they raced the last few laps. Is this the solution? Time will tell, and we’ll see what Mercedes decide is their priority, the team, or the individuals in it.
Driver of the day must be Pascal Wehrlein, the much promised potential of the previous DTM champion was seen today. He started in 11th after the unpredictable qualifying session yesterday, and while it was expected that normal service would resume with the likes of Sainz, Perez and Grosjean behind, he did everything right, and gained his first Formula 1 point. This stands Manor in good stead, putting them on the leader board ahead of Sauber who have seriously been struggling this season.
They said he’d never amount to anything… 😮
— F1anatic (@F1anaticGP) July 3, 2016
— Formula 1 (@F1) July 3, 2016
Formula 1 returns on the 10th July for the British Grand Prix