Talking points from Styrian Grand Prix
For the second time in one week, the Red Bull Ring hosted the Styrian Grand Prix. Whilst the action was not as fascinating as the opening weekend, we were still treated to some terrific racing.
Lewis Hamilton led the race from pole and was unchallenged for his victory in 2020. Ferrari’s weekend got extremely worse in the opening lap and Sergio Perez rose eleven places, making the most overtakes of the day. You can read our report here.
Here are our talking points from F1 Styrian Grand Prix race weekend:
The opening race last weekend was mixed for Ferrari, as Charles Leclerc got onto the podium despite showing no real pace and Sebastian Vettel managed to just squeeze into the points in 10th.
However, qualifying at Styrian Grand Prix was disappointing, as one of the Ferrari’s failed to get of session two for the second consecutive week. Leclerc struggled in the wet conditions and finished 11th, then receive a three-grid penalty, pushing him down to 14th on the starting grid. Vettel only did slightly better by one place in 10th.
The race was an important weekend for the Italian racing team after they pushed ahead the upgrades to the cars but needed to see whether the pace had improved ahead of Hungary Grand Prix.
Well, Ferrari barely got into turn three on the opening lap before both cars collided together, causing them to retire into five laps.
While their failure to score any points and lose grip on Red Bull and Mercedes, Ferrari’s team principal will be most frustrated about not seeing their upgrades improved the car or not.
Mercedes have really taken hold of the 2020 F1 season after both their drivers winning in the opening two races.
Lewis Hamilton showed throughout the weekend why he was the six-time world champion, being fastest in the two practice sessions on Friday. Then, in torrential rain and poor visibility, the British driver stormed home to take pole, 1.2secs quicker than Max Verstappen.
Hamilton led from pole throughout the race, no challenge from everyone, and cruised to his first victory of 2020.
Valtteri Bottas got Mercedes their first one-two on this circuit since 2015, extending their lead in constructor championship. Verstappen looked to had separate the two ‘Silver Arrows’ but Bottas continued to close down on the Dutchman and his strike lap was originally 71 – the final lap.
However, the Finn, on fresher tyres, managed to capitalise on Verstappen’s damage on the front-wing and overtook the Red Bull on lap 68.
Bottas needs to impress the bosses at Mercedes to retain his seat for next season and is definitely showing quality compared to the past few seasons. I reckon the Finn could push Hamilton all the way and possibly nick the Championship, similar to Rosberg in 2016.
Raging Racing Point
My driver of the day is Sergio Perez, and what an impressive display it was for the Racing Point driver.
The Mexican driver started in 17th after struggling in wet conditions in qualifying, with his teammate in 12th. But Perez rose 12 places throughout the race, performed most overtakes of the race, and closed down onto Red Bull’s Alexander Albon.
Unfortunately, the two cars made contact with each other and Perez suffered damage to his car, causing him to have a slower pace in the final laps. Without any damage to his front-wing, Perez could have snatched 4th, definitely 5th.
Lando Norris caught up with the Racing Point and overtook the Mexican on the last corner and had a three-way finish with Stroll and Riccardo for 6th, just keeping ahead of the two.
However, Racing Point – also known as the ‘Pink Mercedes’ – admitted to copying last year’s Mercedes and you can definitely see the improvement. This caused an uproar from their rival teams, and Renault has now protested about the car’s legality.
This could be an interesting and intense week for Racing Point.
The Battle for 4th or even 3rd
Mercedes have taken the lead by storm, unsurprisingly, and Red Bull will hope to fight with the ‘Silver Arrows’.
In previous years, Ferrari would be among the mix, but the car is obviously slower than anticipated and will be in a dogfight with McLaren and Racing Point for 3rd.
McLaren has shown real promise in the two races, with Norris getting 3rd and 5th, sitting third drivers standing. Carlos Sainz got his highest career qualifying position in 3rd, ahead of Bottas and Albon. The Spaniard went onto a different strategy, two stops, compared to Norris, and affected his performance as he finished in 9th.
Renault could also be in the mix after Esteban Ocon qualified in 5th this weekend, also ahead of the Red Bull and Norris. Riccardo showed good pace early in the Grand Prix but, ultimately, McLaren and Racing Point are significantly faster.
McLaren and Racing Point could easily finish 3rd with Ferrari’s car struggles and team morale. It should be an entertaining fight for the top three as Mercedes and Red Bull run away from the middle pack.
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