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Column: Austria shows the world what's to come

  • Published on 30 Jun 2019 20:30
  • comments 6
  • By: Fergal Walsh

After the admittedly non-exciting and lackluster French Grand Prix one week ago, the duel in Austria was just what Formula 1 needed to revitalize spirits and give fans the boost that was badly needed.

The core of this year’s dwindling interest is fundamentally down to the lack of competitiveness at the front of the field, as we have witnessed Mercedes take victory after victory.

But it almost seemed destined that in the hills, hidden behind the greenery of trees and fields, we would witness a race that will live long in the memory of F1 fans.

Austria has often thrown up an enthralling race. In fact, it seems that every race since 2016 has provided exciting viewing. The high speed yet short length circuit gives a strong basis for the drivers to push and attack, allowing us to witness some great battles.

And we did get some fantastic battles throughout the 71 laps, but at the top of the pile lies the end-of-race scrap between Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc.

These two are no strangers to fighting each other, having done so since karting when they were starting to mold a career towards Formula 1. 


That wasn’t that long ago, as Verstappen and Leclerc are both only 21 years of age. And here they were, fighting in two of F1’s biggest teams for a race victory. That is what this modern day formula is all about.

While we praise and admire the experience and speed possessed by the likes of Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel, Austria’s top two today gave us an indication of what we have to come in the next few years, after the “older” generation move on from Formula 1. 

 

Leclerc was understandably disappointed after losing a Grand Prix in which he performed so strongly – not the first time this year he has endured those distressing emotions: "The race was good, he said of his race. "At the end I had a bit more degradation than I thought so Max came back."

Verstappen continued to demonstrate why he is simply exceptional and, in this author’s opinion, currently the strongest driver in the field today.

“The pace was actually not too bad, got a big flat spot on my first tyre," he said. After the pitstop, we were flying, you could see on the straight we had good pace as well.

“So we could make a pass, of course extremely happy for the whole team, and also for Honda, we just started working together this year. To win here is incredible."

The first overtaking move saw some racing respect as room was left and Leclerc held onto his position. But on the second time of asking, it was pure racing as they went wheel-to-wheel for the ultimate prize. Bravo to both, and thank you for putting on such a great show. It most certainly will not be the last.

Norris stars once again

We can’t discuss the future generation without inserting Lando Norris into the equation. Starting from fifth on the grid, the Briton pulled off a ballsy move around the outside of Lewis Hamilton and Turn 1, putting the McLaren into the top three.

It was a fantastic performance from the 19-year-old, who was never going to keep the likes of Hamilton and Vettel behind – but what is more impressive is that he has been driving in this eye-opening manner for multiple races now.

McLaren certainly seems to be on the rise, and has been performing at the head of the midfield on a consistent basis. While there is still a long way for it to go, its partnership of Carlos Sainz and Norris looks like the correct one to bring it forward. 


Replies (6)

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  • We have a solid crop of young talent. I expect Norris to join the superstar club as soon as he gets a proper car.

    What a great race this was!

    • + 0
    • Jun 30 2019 - 20:38
    • Rhis is a race I will no doubt rewatch. Couldn't have asked for a more complete weekend.

      • + 0
      • Jul 1 2019 - 06:59
  • boudy

    Posts: 1,125

    Amazing race, Hamilton penalty, Mercedes not ultra competitive, Ferrari not helped by stewards, RBR Honda first victory, Gasly slumps, Norris/Sainz star, McLaren BOTR, Haas hot/cold, Renault no where to be seen.

    • + 0
    • Jul 1 2019 - 10:20
    • one of the best of the hybrid era for sure

      • + 0
      • Jul 1 2019 - 10:26
  • f1ski

    Posts: 413

    I don't know how log everyone has watched F1 but these sort of balttles happened more often when refueling was allowed. Teams could;d run their cars where they were strongest and the time differentials made racing better near the finish. Also by not allowing testing away from the track while it is expensive there is nothing more expensive than having a team having to use races to test their cars and waste seasons budget. I think testing bans acy=tually help the rich teams more. Why not award back marker teams money to do out of season devo work on track

    • + 0
    • Jul 1 2019 - 16:04
    • My shrimp with that is that back then we didn't have these kinda gaps. There were dominant teams yes, but they were never dominant on this level, mostly. Also, the differences in budgets from team to team where nowhere near what they are today. I don't necessarily think correlation means causation in this case, like with how ice cream sales correlate well with murders comitted in the U.S. and purchased Microsoft shares, yet I sincerely doubt the three have anything to do with eah other.

      As for the testing bans: I fully agree. I expect the lack of data to benefit the teams that already have a good setup more than the lot that need all the data they can get.

      • + 0
      • Jul 1 2019 - 19:32

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Formula 1 Calendar - 2019

Date
Grand Prix
Circuit
-
Spain
-
Spain
15 - Mar 17
Australia
29 - Mar 31
Bahrain
-
Bahrain
12 - Apr 14
China
26 - Apr 28
Azerbaijan
10 - May 12
Spain
-
Spain
23 - May 26
Monaco
7 - Jun 9
Canada
21 - Jun 23
France
28 - Jun 30
Austria
12 - Jul 14
United Kingdom
26 - Jul 28
Germany
2 - Aug 4
Hungary
30 - Sep 1
Belgium
6 - Sep 8
Italy
20 - Sep 22
Singapore
27 - Sep 29
Russian
11 - Oct 13
Japan
25 - Oct 27
Mexico
1 - Nov 3
United States of America
15 - Nov 17
Brazil
29 - Dec 1
United Arab Emirates
See full schedule

Formula 1 Calendar - 2019

Date
Grand Prix & Circuit
15 - Mar 17
Australia Albert Park
29 - Mar 31
12 - Apr 14
26 - Apr 28
Azerbaijan Baku City Circuit
10 - May 12
23 - May 26
Monaco Monte Carlo
7 - Jun 9
21 - Jun 23
France Paul Ricard
28 - Jun 30
Austria Red Bull Ring
12 - Jul 14
United Kingdom Silverstone
26 - Jul 28
Germany Hockenheimring
2 - Aug 4
Hungary Hungaroring
30 - Sep 1
6 - Sep 8
Italy Monza
20 - Sep 22
27 - Sep 29
Russian Sochi Autodrom
11 - Oct 13
25 - Oct 27
1 - Nov 3
United States of America Circuit of the Americas
15 - Nov 17
Brazil Interlagos
29 - Dec 1
United Arab Emirates Yas Marina Circuit
See full schedule
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