2021 Austrian Grand Prix: The F1 debrief

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The 2021 Austrian Grand Prix was not a repeat of the Styrian Grand Prix one week earlier, despite who the winner is. With racing all through the field (aside from P1), there was a whole bunch to unpick for the GP Grandstand team…

Thiemo Albers-Daly – “What does Russell have to do?”

After the dull as ditchwater race last weekend, it was great to see the racing come alive at the Red Bull Ring this week. Whilst nobody could catch Max out in front, there was plenty of action to keep everyone else entertained.

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Lando Norris continues to be the driver of the year whilst the stewards decided it would be fun to penalize people for just about everything. Kimi’s team radio was amusing, but my main question coming away from Austria and the F1 triple header is what does George Russell have to do to get a championship point? The future World Champion just can’t catch a break.

Jacob Phillips – “British Motorsport has a healthy future”

F1 returned to the Red Bull Ring and provided an eventful second helping. Last week’s Styrian Grand Prix failed to excite but this race was certainly better. If you weren’t convinced that Max Verstappen is favourite for the championship then another dominant victory in a row might change your mind.

Max extended his lead in the championship and secured his first career Grand Slam in the process, never looking threatened. His nearest challenger, Lewis Hamilton, had a tricky weekend, only managing P4.

However, it was another Brit who stole the headlines. Lance Norris backed up his P2 in Quali with another 3rd place in 2021. A move on the 7-time champion confirmed to me that British Motorsport has a healthy future.

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One thing that concerns me is the eagerness of the FIA to hand out penalties. After all, F1 is meant to be a racing series and there is a danger that it becomes over-sanitised. Norris and Perez both were on the receiving end of penalties with Norris’s infringement being nothing more than hard, but fair racing in my book.

One thing that F1 fans need to ask themselves is how much more George Russell heartbreak can they take? A stellar weekend once again was capped off by a fantastic battle with Fernando Alonso despite having a slower car on paper. George ended up a heartbreaking P11, and seconds away from his first Williams point. We now await news from Brackley about his future, but oh boy is it bright. Bring on Silverstone.

Jim Kimberley – “A fun race”

I love the Red Bull Ring but after a poor showing last time out for the Styrian event, I thought that rain would be the only saviour for the 2021 spec F1 cars. No such need to worry as the cooler temperatures and different Pirelli compounds provided a fun race.

Verstappen could now suffer a DNF and still lead the championship with his clean sweep of the triple-header races. If not for the tyre blowout in Baku, it’d be five-in-a-row for the Dutchman. I can’t see what’s going to stop him this side of the summer break.

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Lando Norris scores his third podium of the season. Not to dismiss his others, but this one was pure merit. The McLaren is not a slow car, we knew that, but to challenge the Mercs? Wow! If Daniel Ricciardo can return to his old self, could it be McLaren Mercedes vs Mercedes?

George Russell’s P9 Quali result is a great showing from the Brit. If the rumours about the 2022 Mercedes seat being announced at Silverstone are true, he’s showing why he’s being considered. Not to take anything away from Valtteri Bottas this week, though. Austria, again, saw the Finn best his teammate at a track Valtteri tends to like. It might be a little too late to save his seat, though.

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