As Mercedes were not in a league of their own this time in Spielberg, the Formula 1 Austrian Grand Prix provided with plenty of excitement and produced a whole range of emotions. Max Verstappen won the race which saw Charles Leclerc dominating the happenings from pole position only to lose the lead and his potential first Grand Prix victory with two laps to go.
Best race lap – Max Verstappen did not only win the Austrian Grand Prix, but he also scored the fastest race lap with a lap time of 1m07.475. The Dutchman set this lap on Pirelli’s C2 hard compound on the 29th lap of his second stint. Sebastian Vettel set the second fastest race lap, 201 thousands of a second adrift of Verstappen’s lap time, achieving it on the 12th lap of his second stint on a fresh soft C4 compound.
The biggest jump – Despite starting from the pit lane, Carlos Sainz could leave Austria with four points in his bag. In the qualifying session, the Spaniard fought his way into Q2, but did not set a meaningful lap time to save up tyre sets and have a free tyre choice for the race. On Sunday, Sainz could make use of his constantly improving McLaren-Renault race car and climbed up the order massively. In the end, he finished eighth, just seventeen seconds adrift of his team-mate Lando Norris.
Fastest pit visit – While Robert Kubica and Williams were setting the standard in recent races, it was Max Verstappen who completed the fastest pit visit. The Dutchman spent only 21.110 seconds in the pit lane during his solo pit stop. It includes the whole time spent in the pit lane, measured from the point when the car entered the pit lane up to the point when it exited it.
Ferrari’s sudden reaction – Sebastian Vettel lost a significant amount of time during his first pit stop. When Mercedes prepared the tyre change for Valtteri Bottas on lap 21, Ferrari reacted instantly and pitted Sebastian Vettel on the same lap. Standing in the media centre, you have a prefect view on the garages. Ferrari were really spot on with their reaction. The Maranello-based outfit had two targets in their minds. Bottas was the leading Mercedes driver at that time, he was untouchable for Vettel even with an undercut. However, by pitting earlier than Lewis Hamilton, Vettel could leapfrog Hamilton which he eventually did as Hamilton stayed on the track for nine other laps to extend his first stint and decrease the amount of time spent on the hard compound in his second stint. A further benefit to the reaction on Bottas’ pit stop was that Mercedes had to delay the Finn to avoid an unsafe release. However, Vettel’s tyre change lasted longer than ideally: due to a miscommunication between the pit wall and the garage, the mechanics were not ready with the fresh hard Pirelli tyres, leading to a time loss of 3.5 seconds.
Top 10 – Five different teams managed to score points in Austria. Red Bull, Mercedes, Ferrari, McLaren and Alfa Romeo all added points to their tally with two cars. Of the point-scoring outfits, Red Bull were the most successful with 32 points. Ferrari gained 30 points while Mercedes scored 25.
Five – Only five drivers finished the race on the lead lap with Hamilton being the last one to avoid being lapped. The Briton finished 22.8 seconds adrift of Max Verstappen. The sixth-placed Lando Norris was to first driver to finish more than a lap behind the winner.
Retirement – Despite to the scorching weather, every driver finished the 71-lap-long Austrian Grand Prix on Sunday, becoming the first race this season that no driver was forced to retire from the happenings. Robert Kubica finished the race last three laps behind the winner.
The best rookie – Finishing sixth on Sunday, Lando Norris became the best rookie of the trying race in Spielberg. The young Briton further strengthened his position of being the best newcomer so far this season as he has claimed this title in five of nine races. Alexander Albon is the second most successful driver among the field’s four rookies with having claimed this success on three occasions. Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi is the only other driver to have finished the highest up of the four newcomers.
The magical strategy – On Sunday, the one-stop-strategy was once again the favourite one. All three podium finishers visited the pits only once. As the medium and hard compounds held up pretty well over a longer distance, the strategists once again were adamant to figure out how to complete the race distance of 306.58km with only pitting once.
Three-stopper - The driver with the biggest hunger for the pit lane was Kevin Magnussen. The Dane was the very first driver to complete a tyre change by pitting on lap 11 for fresh tyres. Two laps later, he once again drove through the pit lane as a penalty for an incorrect position. He finally made his last stop on lap 62 which was the very last pit visit in the entire race. The only other driver to pit more than once was Sebastian Vettel. After his first stop on lap 21, he made a tactical stop with 21 laps before the end of the race.