2019 Formula 1 Austrian GP: Someone finally beats Mercedes for the win

Max Verstappen fights back for emphatic win

After nine races in the season, someone has finally dethroned Mercedes’ tight grip in the first eight races. Max Verstappen broke the chain in an emphatic second win at Red Bull’s home GP. Second was Charles LeClerc for Ferrari and third place went to, you guessed it, a Mercedes, Valtteri Bottas.

It was a tough race for Verstappen who had a problem at the start. He qualified seventh but had to work his way up from seventh. But the young Dutchman stayed calm and pushed hard. His pursuit for the top spot was aided by a super reliable and fast car.

In the second stint, he topped Bottas on lap 56 to get to second and then hunted down LeClerc. It took until the final laps, on lap 68, till Verstappen got a clear straight line to pick off the Ferrari for the lead. The Ferrari man made the most of the SF90s good traction to retake the lead on the next straight. One lap later, Verstappen attacked again at the same place, but collided with LeClerc, which forced him to run wide. The Red Bull driver would take the flag 2.7 seconds ahead of the Ferrari man.

Behind LeClerc and Bottas came the usuel suspects Sebastien Vettel and Lewis Hamilton in fourth and fifth. In the closing laps, Vettel caught Hamilton and passed him for a fitting finish.

Here’s selected top ten drivers’ quotes:

Verstappen: All weekend we have been working really well and the upgrades seem to have worked. Thank you to all the crew here, everyone at the factory and of course Honda, it’s not been easy for them over the past years but to win for them today is just incredible.

LeClerc: It was a positive weekend overall. Unfortunately, it did not end as we would have liked it to. My first stint was good and our pace was there. We pitted early to prevent losing our track position to Bottas. This made the second stint longer and more challenging than expected, as the rear tyres degraded quite a bit towards the end of the race.

Bottas: We expected this race to be tricky, but it turned out to be even more difficult than we predicted. We had to do lots of lifting and coasting and couldn’t use all engines modes to keep the engine from overheating. So, we couldn’t really race properly, and I had to manage temperatures for the majority of the race. It made both defending and attacking very difficult. But you have to look at the positives – I got some good points out of this weekend and I don’t think there was much difference in terms of race pace.

Lando Norris: It was a fun race! A good start, managed to go forwards and battled the Mercedes and the Ferrari for a lap or so, but had to concede those positions and think of my own race.

Kimi Raikkonen: We can be satisfied with scoring points, it was a good result for the team. I had a good start and the first laps were pretty ok, but then it became a bit more difficult. I felt I lacked a bit of speed to challenge the cars around me and when I did have it, I had to be careful with the tyres. It was a balancing act, trying to keep the tyres alive long enough while still going fast enough.

2019 F1 Austrian GP results

1     33   Max Verstappen   RED BULL        1:22:01.822  

2     16   Charles Leclerc       FERRARI    +2.724s 

3     77   Valtteri Bottas       MERCEDES    +18.960s      

4     5     Sebastian Vettel       FERRARI        +19.610s   

5     44   Lewis Hamilton       MERCEDES    +22.805s     

6     4     Lando Norris MCLAREN      +1 lap   

7     10   Pierre Gasly  RED BULL   +1 lap   

8     55   Carlos Sainz MCLAREN   +1 lap   

9     7     Kimi Räikkönen    ALFA ROMEO      +1 lap   

10   99   Antonio Giovinazzi       ALFA ROMEO   +1 lap

Drivers standings

1     Lewis Hamilton    GBR       MERCEDES 197

2     Valtteri Bottas      FIN       MERCEDES 166

3     Max Verstappen   NED       RED BULL RACING HONDA       126

4     Sebastian Vettel   GER       FERRARI      123

5     Charles Leclerc    MON       FERRARI      105

6     Pierre Gasly  FRA       RED BULL RACING HONDA     43

7     Carlos Sainz ESP       MCLAREN RENAULT 30

8     Lando Norris GBR       MCLAREN RENAULT 22

9     Kimi Räikkönen    FIN ALFA ROMEO RACING FERRARI     21

10   Daniel Ricciardo   AUS       RENAULT     16

Constructors rankings

1     MERCEDES 363

2     FERRARI      228

3     RED BULL RACING HONDA       169

4     MCLAREN RENAULT 52

5     RENAULT     32

6     ALFA ROMEO RACING FERRARI      22

7     RACING POINT BWT MERCEDES 19

8     SCUDERIA TORO ROSSO HONDA 17

9     HAAS FERRARI  16