2018 Austrian Grand Prix, Smug Verstappen
Verstappen Victorious As Mercedes Melt At The Austrian Grand Prix
Formula One

We said at the beginning of the season the team able to best manage its tyres during a race duration will win the drivers and or constructors championship. So it seems, on a race by race basis, that there is no one front-running team able to manage its tyres better than the other, be it Mercedes, Ferrari or Red Bull. The Mercedes arrived at the Austrian Grand Prix in unbeatable form, Bottas qualified on pole fractionally ahead of teammate Hamilton, both had a comfortable margin over the Ferrari’s, more so over Vettel who would have started third but was demoted to 6th after picking up a penalty.

The Red Bulls were over half a second behind in qualifying, Verstappen 5th, Ricciardo 7th. The Austrian Grand Prix was meant to be a straight fight with the Mercedes of Bottas and Hamilton with the Ferrari’s fighting among themselves for third place. 2018 Austrian Grand Prix, race start However, when the race started Bottas made a poor getaway and dropped down to 4th before recovering back to second. This allowed Hamilton to pull away into the lead, it began to look like another easy victory for the 4 times world champion. 2018 Austrian Grand Prix, battle for the lead Lap 14 changed everything, Bottas lost gears and retired and the race was put under a virtual safety car period, Hamilton’s pit crew decided not to pit for new tyres whereas Verstappen and the two Ferrari’s did. 2018 Austrian Grand Prix, Bottas retires, dailycarblog.com For Mercedes, it seemed to make sense, pit as late as possible and have fresher tyres for the end of the race thereby maintaining an advantage. But Hamilton’s tyres began to suffer rear degradation which affected his pace and ultimately he had to pit twice. Meanwhile, Verstappen drove quickly but efficiently enough to prevent major tyre wear, the Red Bull is easier on its tyres despite having a performance disadvantage over the Mercedes. 2018 Austrian Grand Prix, Sebastian Vettel Behind Verstappen was Kimi Raikkonen who had the superior package over the Red Bull ahead of him but couldn’t muster enough pace to oust Verstappen into making an error. Again it was due to the Red Bull’s better tyre management. Hamilton by now was 4th but started to suffer from a loss of power. 2018 Austrian Grand Prix, Alonso moves up the grid Eight laps from the end, Hamilton was forced into retirement as his Mercedes decided enough was enough, a rare double DNF for a team used to invincible reliability. By his own standards Sebastian Vettel had a relatively quiet race and quietly accepted third, Hamilton’s DNF promoted Vettel back into the lead of the driver’s championship, by 1 point. 2018 Austrian Grand Prix, max verstappen, celebration, dailycarblog.com The Hass team secured 4th and 5th and unexpected points finisher was Fernando Alonso who started the race from the pitlane and ended 8th. Helped in part by retirements ahead of him. Hamilton will be deeply frustrated by his DNF, the championship is effectively reset, with 12 races remaining Hamilton will hope that his retirement at the Austrian Grand Prix was just a blip and not a blot.   2018 Austrian Grand Prix Results
Pos No Driver Laps Time/Retired Pts
1 33 Verstappen 71 1:21:56.024 25
2 7 Räikkönen 71 +1.504s 18
3 5 Vettel 71 +3.181s 15
4 8 Grosjean 70 +1 lap 12
5 20 Magnussen 70 +1 lap 10
6 31 Ocon 70 +1 lap 8
7 11 Perez 70 +1 lap 6
8 14 Alonso 70 +1 lap 4
9 16 Leclerc 70 +1 lap 2
10 9 Ericsson 70 +1 lap 1
11 10 Gasly 70 +1 lap 0
12 55 Sainz 70 +1 lap 0
13 35 Sirotkin 69 +2 laps 0
14 18 Stroll 69 +2 laps 0
15 2 Vandoorne 65 DNF 0
NC 44 Hamilton 62 DNF 0
NC 28 Hartley 54 DNF 0
NC 3 Ricciardo 53 DNF 0
NC 77 Bottas 13 DNF 0
NC 27 Hulkenberg 11 DNF 0

Note – Stroll originally finished 13th, but had 10 seconds added to his race time for ignoring blue flags.

2018 Austrian Grand Prix, Smug Verstappen
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