Grand Prix of Austria – Race

The stewards decided VET did indeed impede SAI in Qualifying session 2 (Q2) yesterday, penalising him 3 grid spots – that drops him to P6. [FIA]

The FIA also report that ALO will start from the pit lane; he damaged the front wing in Quali, but for the team to replace it would mean breaking parc ferme rules and therefore start from the pit lane. At that point, it just made sense for McLaren to decide to throw a pile of engine changes on the car, because the penalties would have no impact.

So there are 4 penalties to apply after Quali:

  • VET has a 3-spot penalty for impeding SAI in Q2
  • LEC has a 5-spot penalty for an engine component change
  • HAR also took new engine parts which would incur penalties totalling 35-places but he was already P19
  • ALO will start from the pit lane

Revised grid: BOT, HAM, RAI, VER, GRO, VET*, RIC, MAG, SAI, HUL, OCO, GAS, STR, VAN, PER, SIR, LEC*, ERI, HAR*, ALO*

Christian Horner addressed the disagreement between RIC and VER in Q3 yesterday: the drivers (for many years) have had an agreement about who leads in Quali sessions, which provides an aero benefit for the car behind.

The cars are arriving on the grid – 25 minutes until the start of the race
Bernie Ecclestone’s on the grid, or is it his even-more-evil twin given the facial hair? 🙂
The recent rule to gets the cars on the grid earlier results in fewer drivers for the grid walk, which is a shame
National anthem; one of the grandstands has people holding red or white flags, making up the Austrian flag; there’s also a lot of fans in orange, supporting VER

Air temperature 23°C; track 48°C; humidity 38%

BOT leads everyone (except ALO) away on the formation lap
Mercedes and Red Bull all starting on supersofts; Ferrari both on ultrasofts; rest of the top 10 on ultras

01/71: RAI makes a great start
HAM, RAI, BOT into Turn 1
Quite a few running wide in the first few turns
BOT attacks; reclaims P2

02: HAM, BOT, VER, RAI, RIC, GRO, MAG, VET, HUL, OCO, STR, SAI, PER, LEC, GAS, ERI, SIR, HAR, ALO, VAN
VAN pits for a new nose
LEC runs wide, across the gravel

03: HAM fastest lap 1:09.252
Radio from HAM reporting debris on Turn 3 (VAN’s front wing)
DRS enabled
VET dives inside GRO to steal P6

04: Replay of the start shows RAI threading his way between BOT and HAM as they come off the grid

05/71: HAM, BOT, VER, RAI, RIC, VET, GRO, MAG, HUL, OCO, SAI, STR, PER, GAS, SIR, ERI, HAR, ALO, LEC, VAN
Replay shows VAN run into the rear of GAS in T3 on lap 1

07: HAM f/lap 1:09.051

09: HAM f/lap 1:08.972
Incident involving GAS and VAN under investigation

10/71: HAM, BOT, VER, RAI, RIC, VET, GRO, MAG, HUL, OCO, SAI, PER, STR, SIR, GAS, ERI, LEC, HAR, ALO, VAN

12: HUL slows out of the final turn; pulls off-track just as his Renault engine lets go

13: RAI f/lap 1:08.954

14: BOT pulls off track; on the radio reporting “gearbox has gone”; parks behind a big gravel trap
Virtual Safety Car deployed

15[VSC]: HAM f/lap 1:27.525 (before VSC deployed)
VER pits, followed by RAI, RIC, VET, GRO, OCO, SAI, STR, GAS, LEC, ALO
VSC ends

16: VET easily past MAG for P5

18: HAM f/lap 1:08.607
RIC f/lap 1:08.228
RIC closing on RAI

20/71: RIC right on RAI’s tail … and past him for P3

21: RIC f/lap 1:08.201

24: Radio for RIC telling him “it’s likely HAM is going to go long” (i.e. pit late)

25/71: HAM, VER, RIC, RAI, VET, MAG, PER, GRO, OCO, SAI, SIR, ERI, HAR, STR, GAS, LEC, ALO, VAN; retirements: BOT, HUL
HAM pits from P1; rejoins P4, between RAI and VET
VET f/lap 1:07.989

27: LEC closing on STR

28: LEC attacks; STR defends well; clean fight; STR keeps P14

29: LEC dives down the inside into T1 and takes P14
MAG pits
Radio from HAM – “I’m fourth now!?”; “That is totally on us, sorry.”; “I want to say something, but leave me to it Bono”

30/71: VER, RIC, RAI, HAM, VET, GRO, OCO, SAI, MAG, ERI, PER, GAS, HAR, LEC, STR, ALO, SIR, VAN

31: Radio from HAM – “feels like I’m running out of power”

32: HAM all over the tail of RAI, who in turn is harrying RIC

35/71: VER, RIC, RAI, HAM, VET, GRO, OCO, MAG, PER, SAI, ERI, GAS, HAR, LEC, STR, ALO, SIR, VAN
SAI pits; long stop as they struggle with the front right

Half distance

37: ALO tales P14 from STR

38: RAI attacks RIC; RIC defends; RAI attacks again, and takes P2

39: RIC pits; supersofts go on
VET inside HAM; forces HAM wide; that was very aggressive!

40/71: VER, RAI, VET, HAM, RIC, GRO, OCO, MAG, PER, ERI, GAS, HAR, LEC, ALO, STR, SAI, SIR, VAN
Radio from HAM – “I’m not going to be able to pass anyone. We have thrown away the win.”; James Vowles (Mercedes chief strategist) – “This is James, I have thrown away the win today. Passing is possible. I’m sorry.”

43: MAG closing on OCO

44: HAM closing up on VET

45/71: VER, RAI, VET, HAM, RIC, GRO, OCO, MAG, PER, ERI, GAS, HAR, LEC, ALO, STR, SAI, SIR, VAN

47: HAM f/lap 1:07.923
RIC f/lap 1:07.591

50/71: VER, RAI, VET, HAM, RIC, GRO, MAG, OCO, PER, GAS, HAR, LEC, ALO, ERI, SAI, STR, SIR, VAN; retirements: BOT, HUL

51: HAM’s rear left tyre is looking terrible

52: Radio from HAM – “I don’t know what to say to you guys- these rears are not going to *** last”

53: HAM pits from P4; ultrasofts go on; rejoins P5, behind RIC

54: HAM closing on RIC

55/71: RIC pulls off line; HAM takes P4; RIC parks on the grass
HAM f/lap 1:07.571

56: HAR runs wide; sounds like an engine problem; HAR parks off track

57: HAM f/lap 1:07.460
Will Ferrari tell RAI to let VET pass and defend him?

59: VET f/lap 1:07.301
HAM f/lap 1:07.241

60/71: VER, RAI, VET, HAM, GRO, MAG, OCO, PER, GAS, LEC, ALO, ERI, SAI, STR, SIR, VAN; retirements: HAR, RIC, BOT, HUL

61: OCO lets teammate PER take P7

62: Radio for RAI – “we have no concerns any more; you are free to push”
ALO takes P10 from LEC

63: HAM slowing; he’s pulled off; “lost power”, “stop, stop”

64: Yellow flag as marshals push HAM’s car behind the barriers

65/71: VER, RAI, VET, GRO, MAG, PER, OCO, GAS, ALO, LEC, ERI, SAI, STR, SIR, VAN

66: ALO takes P8 from GAS

67: GAS locks up; LEC steals P9
RAI f/lap 1:06.975
ERI takes P10 from GAS
STR pits – that’s a late stop

68: VAN pits; retires

69: ERI closing on ALO

70/71: VER, RAI, VET, GRO, MAG, PER, OCO, ALO, ERI, LEC, GAS, SAI, STR, SIR; retirements: VAN, HAM, HAR, RIC, BOT, HUL

71 = final lap: RAI f/lap 1:06.957

VER takes the chequered flag
I’m surprised Ferrari didn’t switch RAI and VET on the last lap
Sauber did switch ERI and LEC though

Apparently the last time both Mercedes cars retired was Spain 2016
Toto Wolff: “difficult days are when you learn the most”

Provisional result: VER, RAI, VET, GRO, MAG, OCO, PER, ALO, LEC, ERI; GAS, SAI, STR, SIR
DNF: VAN, HAM, HAR, RIC, BOT, HUL

Next race is the British Grand Prix at Silverstone next weekend.

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