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The Austrian Grand Prix is a very Red Bull-ish affair and that’s to be expected as the energy drink company owns the Red Bull Ring but it was Mercedes and Valtteri Bottas who owned pole position followed by two Ferraris. Valtteri’s teammate, Lewis Hamilton, entered the qualifying session on the back foot with a gearbox change and 5-place grid penalty meaning that he started on Sunday in 8th.

Win

A big win for whoever it was that organized the seas of orange shirts which consumed the grandstands in support of Max Verstappen. Great to see such a fan turnout and passion for an F1 driver. That was impressive.

While some felt the start of Valtteri Bottas may have been a jump start and even Sebastian Vettel radioed for clarification, the stewards determined that it was just an incredible start from the pole sitter.

A big win for Valtteri Bottas and Mercedes who held of a charging Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel. Valtteri did exactly what the team needed; when Lewis is in trouble, the Finn delivered and capitalized on the points denying Vettel the 25-points for a win keeping him closer to Hamilton in the championship but it also creates an intriguing situation in that Bottas is just now 15 points behind Hamilton.

A huge win for Haas F1 and Romain Grosjean with 8 points and close to sixth in the Constructors’ Championship. A great run and not one mention of brakes the entire weekend.

A win for both Force India and Williams for top-10 dual finishes. Williams were perplexing in qualifying starting at the back of the grid but made a terrific nose-to-tail recovery drive to the front for big points.

It wasn’t a points finish but Jolyon Palmer managed to beat his teammate and finishes in 11th and just one place out of the points.

A big win for Austria with Niki Lauda’s team taking the win and Dr. Helmut Marko’s team on the podium for their home race and a vibrant, passionate crowd showing just how committed the Austrian’s are to great racing.

Fail

Turn one, lap one hit from Kvyat that took Fernando Alonso and Max Verstappen out of he race. Max had a very poor start while Alonso had a great start and this placed both of them side-by-side when Kvyat cooked the corner hitting Alonso who then hit Verstappen. Kvyat has been in F1 long enough to not make these silly mistakes. Kvyat received a drive-through penalty for his actions. We did hear Max tell team boss Christian Horner that the engine wasn’t right at the start. It is his 5th retirement in 7 races.

A fail for Stoffel Vandoorne for ignoring the blue flags. That’s not what McLaren needed for their sole-remaining car in the race.

Photo by: www.kymillman.com/f1

A fail for Toro Rosso who retired Carlos Sainz with a mechanical issue and this, compounded with Kvyat’s race made a controversial weekend even worse for Sainz. Equally, a fail for Haas F1 and Kevin Magnussen with a mechanical failure in a weekend that the team seemed poised for a terrific finish given Grosjean’s pace.

WTH

For Friday and Saturday, much of the talk was about the durability of the three tire compounds on offer this weekend and how the teams would fit Ultraspofts and go the distance but intriguingly, the tires were experiencing more degradation that any of the news reports I read suggested. With 22 laps in the books, the Ultrasoft and Supersofts were all showing signs of blistering and degradation that betrayed the initial commentaries on how the tires would react in Austria. By lap 35, the teams were pitting and while they did last quite a while, drivers were really struggling with the degradation. Makes you wonder if a 2-stopper might not have been an interesting option.

The challenges of car setup and interestingly, Lewis Hamilton’s first lap after the pit stop for Ultrasofts was terrific but a few laps later, his rear tires began to show signs of wear with Lewis saying there was way too much front wing causing oversteer and putting pressure on the rear tires. An interesting look into just how critical the margins are.

Austrian GP Results:

Pos Driver Car Gap
1 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1h21m48.523s
2 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 0.658s
3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull/Renault 6.012s
4 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 7.430s
5 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 20.370s
6 Romain Grosjean Haas/Ferrari 1m13.160s
7 Sergio Perez Force India/Mercedes 1 Lap
8 Esteban Ocon Force India/Mercedes 1 Lap
9 Felipe Massa Williams/Mercedes 1 Lap
10 Lance Stroll Williams/Mercedes 1 Lap
11 Jolyon Palmer Renault 1 Lap
12 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren/Honda 1 Lap
13 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1 Lap
14 Pascal Wehrlein Sauber/Ferrari 1 Lap
15 Marcus Ericsson Sauber/Ferrari 2 Laps
16 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso/Renault 3 Laps
Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso/Renault Retirement
Kevin Magnussen Haas/Ferrari Retirement
Fernando Alonso McLaren/Honda Collision
Max Verstappen Red Bull/Renault Collision

Drivers’ Championship Points:

Pos Driver Points
1 Sebastian Vettel 171
2 Lewis Hamilton 151
3 Valtteri Bottas 136
4 Daniel Ricciardo 107
5 Kimi Raikkonen 83
6 Sergio Perez 50
7 Max Verstappen 45
8 Esteban Ocon 39
9 Carlos Sainz 29
10 Felipe Massa 22
11 Lance Stroll 18
12 Nico Hulkenberg 18
13 Romain Grosjean 18
14 Kevin Magnussen 11
15 Pascal Wehrlein 5
16 Daniil Kvyat 4
17 Fernando Alonso 2
18 Jolyon Palmer 0
19 Marcus Ericsson 0
20 Stoffel Vandoorne 0
21 Antonio Giovinazzi 0

Constructors’ Championship Points:

Pos Constructor Points
1 Mercedes 287
2 Ferrari 254
3 Red Bull/Renault 152
4 Force India/Mercedes 89
5 Williams/Mercedes 40
6 Toro Rosso/Renault 33
7 Haas/Ferrari 29
8 Renault 18
9 Sauber/Ferrari 5
10 McLaren/Honda 2

 

REVIEW OVERVIEW
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An F1 fan since 1972, NC has spent over 25 years in the technology industry focusing on technology integration, AV systems integration, digital media strategies, technology planning, consulting, speaking, presenting, sales, content strategy, marketing and brand building.
  • F1Gold

    To watch 3 natural born racers hamstrung by events makes for an anti-climax

    • jakobusvdl

      You mean Verstappen, Alonso and Kyvat going out at the first corner?
      Yep F1 is so fickle :-)

      • F1Gold

        LH, FA, MV. I suspect Kyvat time is up in F1

        • jakobusvdl

          No so bad for LH. I always think its quite entertaining when a fast car has to come through the field, and he did a good job of that. The last few laps dicing Ricciardo were good racing.

          • F1Gold

            I would have preferred a race between LH, SV and VB up-front. Intelligent racing from LH and great defence by DB. I thought there would be contact and off into the gravel at one point. Zero points. Smart from both.

  • B52RockLobster

    Donkey of the race goes to Kyvat….again. Just bad racing by him…he had no prayer of making that corner and clobbered Alonso.

    Does anyone know the exact rule on jumped starts?

    To me the spirit of it was violated by Bottas….his tires were moving before the lights went out, therefore he “started” before the lights went out. However it sounds like the rules might not be written that way. Perhaps it’s crossing the timing beam minus some “reaction time” margin that determines whether a driver jumped the start?

    • Paul KieferJr

      According to the FIA (heard it on Sky Sports F1), there’s supposed to be a natural reaction time. If the driver beats that time, then he’s considered to have jumped the start and will be penalized accordingly.

      Further, I also watched a review with Anthony Davidson. Neither he nor I could see it as they looked at it frame by frame. Frame 1: Lights on, no movement. Frame 2: Lights off, just barely starting to move. Each frame is 0.4 seconds.

      The stewards looked at telemetry as well as the video, and they couldn’t see it, either. Ergo, it’s a good start, and Bottas got a lucky break.

      • Scott Moore

        There is a video from a chap on twitter that shows his car moving while the lights are on. It’s from the onboard camera. https://twitter.com/echelonbrother/status/884025698222034945

        • B52RockLobster

          Thanks for digging that up. This is the same footage I slow-mo’d on my DVR. His tires clearly start rolling with the lights still on.

          Paul Kiefer…doing a frame-by-frame with 0.4s frames is strange. Things are shot at 30 or 60fps these days which means each frame should be at the longest .03s each frame.

          The “natural reaction time” comment people are making is what makes this even more confusing. That means the spirit of the rule is that the driver should wait for the lights to go out, react, then go. He clearly “reacted” before the lights went out as his wheels were moving before the lights went out.

          • subcritical71

            Thanks B52, that was my thinking also. I do not understand how movement before the lights go out can be considered within natural reaction time, would that be negative reaction time. I guess there may also be a difference between when the button is released to when the lights are actually really out that must also be considered, but, doesn’t the pre-requisite need to be the lights going out visually to the drivers for it to be a reaction and not a guess(?). Hey, I’m glad Bottas won, but it smells wrong.

            I also read a reference to this being agreed for the last 20 years… hard to believe we haven’t heard of it before, or that it hasn’t been exploited already.

            QQ: Are the extinguishing of the lights timed or is it up to Charlie to manually intervene? I know in sports like drag racing (and I believe MotoGP) that the pilots can time the start, but I don’t see that being the case in F1.

      • jakobusvdl

        The Sky coverage had a display showing Bottas reaction time of 0.201sec, and 4.6 sec to 200kph (125mph in old money). Apparently under 0.2sec and it would be called asa ‘jump start’, so a perfectly judged anticipated start, or he’s a ninja.
        Vettel’s reaction time was s sluggish 0.393sec, and 4.7 to 200kph, he must have been snoozing :-)
        Interestingly, in drag racing where its all about reaction time, you get a ‘red light’ if your tyre crosses the startline within 0.4sec of the last light on the tree going out, so Bottas reactions are too fast for drag racing!

        • wdejong

          Merci. pour votre pour votre liste information k k. k. k.

          • jakobusvdl

            De rien

  • Paul KieferJr

    I would also point out that the heat was a bit intense. It might have made for higher pressures in the tires. Additionally, one could also look at the road surface to see if it was a bit more abrasive than anticipated.

  • jakobusvdl

    Well, that all come together at the end.
    It was surprising (to me) that after Bottas having such a strong lead in the first stint, that Vettel was able to close him down in the second stint. And inversely, it was surprising that Hamilton didn’t quite have the pace to close in on Ricciardo in the second stint. It all made for an exciting last 10 or 15 laps, even if the first 60 were a bit uneventful.
    It was a stellar, but totally unremarked, performance by Grosjean in the Haas. Sky completely overlooked him once he’d dropped from 4th to 6th, but he held position in front of the Force India’s consistently through the race. Great work!
    A pity that Magnussen dropped out as he was up into the top ten by the time he retired.
    A great recovery by Williams, from way down the grid up into the top 10, and right on the heels of the F.I’s. Another consistent drive from Stroll.
    Was that another average performance by Raikkonen, or did Ferrari’s strategy sacrifice him to hold up Hamilton? If the aim was to hold up Hamilton, they should have told him, because he made no effort to defend his position, and just faded away to a quiet 5th.
    Either way, Ferrari are dropping back in the Constructors championship, and need Raikkonen to step up.
    I guess Renault were having issues? Palmer did an okay, 11th tucked up behind fellow rookie Stroll, but somehow Hulkenberg finished 13th adrift of Vandoorne. A definite WTH!
    More DNF’s for Verstappen and Alonso :-( Both caught out by Kyvat’s ambitious braking into T1. That highlights how much of a lottery it is on the first lap in the midfield. Verstappen’s poor start dropped him right into the danger zone, and Kyvat’s pool shot – Orange onto the Blue, top left pocket – took him out, nice Dan.
    If Vandoorne was running the spec 3 p.u, then they’ve certainly cleared Sauber, caught up with Renault, but have a bit to do to match the Mercedes. When will spec 4 be ready Hasagawa San?
    I’ll agree with Todd’s 3.5 stars, It was probably a two star race up to lap 60, but the chase to the flag pulled back the rest.

  • pmr

    Verstappen had a clutch failure at the start, he later told reporters that he wouldn’t have finished the race with that clutch anyway. But still he cld have had a couple of laps in. I hope kvyatt heard the crowd when he passed by. We were over 10.000 strong on the Red Bull grand stand (between corners 1 and 2). When he passed by he was greeted by 10.000 middle fingers and booing from the crowd. It was a very anticlimactic end to a great weekend