The second-ever Styrian Grand Prix sits at the centre of F1’s first triple-header in 2021. What better venue than the Red Bull Ring to follow the exhilarating French Grand Prix? If Paul Ricard can create such a good race, Spielberg will serve up something unforgettable…right?
Thiemo Albers-Daly – “Is it ‘When’ or ‘If’ Mercedes can bounce back?”
The first of a doubleheader in Austria and the second part of an F1 triple-header, the Styrian Grand Prix proved to be rather lacklustre overall. Although I’m sure Max Verstappen and Red Bull don’t mind that one bit. A dominant performance by the charging bulls raises more questions about when (and if) Mercedes can bounce back.
Charles Leclerc was Driver of the Day – and it’s easy to see why given his rapid ascension through the field, even after car damage early on in the race. More heartbreak for George Russell as car troubles took him out of what was going to be his best drive for Williams so far.
Finally, Esteban Ocon and Daniel Ricciardo have some more head-scratching to do after another disappointing race weekend. Especially with both of their teammates finishing comfortably inside the points.
Jim Kimberley – “A “simply lovely” showing for Red Bull”
For a race that seemed to be filled with overtakes, it’s difficult to call Austria’s first 2021 event poor. It wasn’t a classic, though, was it?
The championship pendulum swings even further in Red Bull’s favour after a “simply lovely” showing at their home race. Mercedes look like they have no imminent answer to address their fall to second-best. If this continues, Lewis Hamilton may have to settle for the seven championships with the dice roll of 2022 regulations.
The McLaren vs Ferrari battle is easy to miss with the continued high finishes of Lando Norris implying the Woking team have the advantage. However, with Daniel Ricciardo’s power issues and poor early-season pace, the Scuderia continue to push their long-time rivals with their potent pairing of Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc.
Leclerc’s fightback from the back was the highlight of the race, though it was a shame Pierre Gasly had to retire to allow it to happen.
Jacob Phillips – “The Milton Keynes squad have the upper hand”
We have been thoroughly treated so far in 2021, so it’s about time we endured a dud. I didn’t expect it to occur here, however, with the Red Bull Ring usually providing us with a thriller.
Max Verstappen and Red Bull won’t care less as the Dutchman extends his lead to 18 points. I have been caught in two minds as to who has the better car but I feel the Milton Keynes squad now have the upper hand.
Mercedes are on the back foot but don’t count out the seven-time world champions. Lewis Hamilton, despite never troubling Max will look to overcome the deficit as the series moves towards Silverstone.
Most of the action came from Charles Leclerc who became a one-man highlight reel with a stunning comeback drive. The Monegasque can count himself lucky for not receiving a penalty for a first-lap collision with Gasly.
My final thoughts this weekend rest with George Russell who came agonisingly close to his first Williams points. A solid drive in the midfield today confirms for me it’s a case of when not if he gets the Mercedes drive.
Front Image: Red Bull Media House