Lewis Hamilton headed up a Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team 1-2 by taking victory at the inaugural Styrian Grand Prix on Sunday, 13.7 seconds ahead of his team-mate Valtteri Bottas.
Aston Martin Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen took the last podium spot, finishing in third place while the Scuderia Ferrari pairing of Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc went crashing out the race on the opening lap.
Hamilton extended a comfortable lead off the line to take the lights to flag victory, despite the safety car deployment due to the incident involving the Ferraris closing the grid back up just as the race began. It wasn’t an issue for the Brit as he soon opened the gap up to the Red Bull of Verstappen.
Verstappen put up a staunch fight to keep second place from Bottas. Verstappen had been in between the Mercedes pair for pretty much all of the race, with a comfortable gap to Bottas. However, as the laps counted down, the Finn closed the gap on the Dutchman, eventually taking second place from him in the closing moments.
Bottas found himself still behind Verstappen until lap sixty-six, where Bottas finally closed the gap to him and the Dutchman. At turn three Bottas managed to catch up and overtake Verstappen down the straight with the use of DRS. However, Verstappen drove well and kept close to the Mercedes driver and was able to retake second place around the outside.
However, Verstappen finally lost the place after turn three down the straight on lap sixty-seven as Bottas quickly moved past the Dutchman. This overtake by Bottas resulted in Red Bull calling in Verstappen for a free pit stop to try and take the bonus point for fastest lap. The pace of Verstappen had ensured a big enough gap back to team-mate Alexander Albon, which meant he could go into the pits for a new set of soft compound tyres without compromising his position.
Behind the podium finishers, Albon finished ahead of McLaren F1 Team’s Lando Norris, who provided the fans at home with a dramatic climax to the Styrian Grand Prix. It look for a long time like Sergio Pérez was set for fifth, but with a couple of laps to go, the Mexican clipped the rear wheel of Albon and broke his front wing.
Pérez had been one of the stars of the race, having moved up from seventeenth on the grid to run inside the top five. He caught up with Albon after having found a way ahead of BWT Racing Point Formula One Team team-mate Lance Stroll and Renault DP World F1 Team‘s Daniel Ricciardo, and aimed to overtake a turn three. The pair touched as Pérez went for an overtake which ended up being unsuccessful.
He had a big gap to the chasing pack but with reduced downforce, he found himself struggling for pace, and was caught and passed by Norris in between the final two turns. He did enough, however, to stay ahead of both Stroll and Ricciardo, with the trio all covered by just over two-tenths of a second at the chequered flag.
Stroll had made a late move on Ricciardo heading into turn three having been caught behind the Australian for a number of laps. He, perhaps frustratingly, divebombed his rival, with both going off track as a result. This enabled Norris, who had closed the gap to the fighting pair, to pass both to run sixth.
Norris’ team-mate Carlos Sainz Jr finished the race in ninth place and took an extra point for fastest lap in what was a frustrating race for the Spaniard. The points finishers were rounded off by Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda’s Daniil Kyvat. The Alfa Romeo of Kimi Räikkönen just missing out on the points in eleventh place.
Haas F1 Team duo Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean swapped positions a few times during the afternoon but were unable to better twelfth and thirteenth at the chequered flag, with the second Alfa Romeo of Antonio Giovinazzi fourteenth.
Pierre Gasly was running inside the top ten for the first part of the race in the second AlphaTauri but gambled on pitting for the hard compound tyre during his first pit stop. This proved to be the wrong call as he struggled for pace and was forced to pit again late in the day for a second time, meaning the Frenchman ended fifteenth at the chequered flag.
Bringing up the rear were the two Williams Racing drivers, with George Russell ahead of Nicholas Latifi. Russell’s excellent Qualifying performance was ruined by a mistake early on when he ran across the gravel trap whilst fighting just outside the top ten with Magnussen. This dropped him to the very rear of the field, and it was only late in the day when he found his way back ahead of his team-mate.
Moving onto the big drama of the day: The double Ferrari retirement. The Ferraris came together at turn three on the opening lap, with the number 16 car of Leclerc jumping the kerb and colliding with the rear of Vettel in what can only be described as a clumsy move.
Vettel sustained irreparable damage to the rear wing of his Ferrari SF1000 and retired to the pit garage immediately. Leclerc tried to stay out, having pitted for hard compound tyres while under the safety car, but the team decided to bring him in on lap five deeming the damage to the floor of the SF1000 to be unsafe.
This marked the second time in four races that the Ferraris have taken each other out of the race due to contact between the pair, the last time being Brazil 2019. Only one other driver retired – Renault’s Esteban Ocon – but this was purely mechanical whilst running inside the top eight.
As the Formula 1 circus leaves the double header at the Red Bull Ring behind for the Hungaroring, the Mercedes of Bottas and Hamilton lead the drivers championship standings with 43 points and 37 points respectively. McLaren’s Norris is in third with 26 points. Mercedes, McLaren and Red Bull are at the top the Contructors standings.
|1||44||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team||71||1:22:50.683||25|
|2||77||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team||71||+13.719s||18|
|3||33||Max Verstappen||Aston Martin Red Bull Racing||71||+33.698s||15|
|4||23||Alexander Albon||Aston Martin Red Bull Racing||71||+44.400s||12|
|5||4||Lando Norris||McLaren F1 Team||71||+61.470s||10|
|6||11||Sergio Perez||BWT Racing Point F1 Team||71||+62.387s||8|
|7||18||Lance Stroll||BWT Racing Point F1 Team||71||+62.453s||6|
|8||3||Daniel Ricciardo||Renault DP World F1 Team||71||+62.591s||4|
|9||55||Carlos Sainz||McLaren F1 Team||70||+1 lap||3|
|10||26||Daniil Kvyat||Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda||70||+1 lap||1|
|11||7||Kimi Räikkönen||Alfa Romeo Racing||70||+1 lap||0|
|12||20||Kevin Magnussen||Haas F1 Team||70||+1 lap||0|
|13||8||Romain Grosjean||Haas F1 Team||70||+1 lap||0|
|14||99||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo Racing||70||+1 lap||0|
|15||10||Pierre Gasly||Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda||70||+1 lap||0|
|16||63||George Russell||Williams Racing||69||+2 laps||0|
|17||6||Nicholas Latifi||Williams Racing||69||+2 laps||0|
|NC||31||Esteban Ocon||Renault DP World F1 Team||25||DNF||0|
|NC||16||Charles Leclerc||Scuderia Ferrari||4||DNF||0|
|NC||5||Sebastian Vettel||Scuderia Ferrari||1||DNF||0|
* Provisional results. Note – Sainz scored an additional point for setting the fastest lap of the race.