Lewis Hamilton secured a dominant, unchallenged victory at the re-branded back-to-back Austrian Grand Prix, ergo Styrian Grand Prix. The easy manner in which Hamilton reigned supreme was in stark contrast to the rain-soaked qualifying session. Race day was also in stark contrast to the drama-filled, safety car interrupted, action-packed grand Prix of the previous week. Except for the first lap. Charles Leclerc crashed into his teammate Sebastian Vettel at turn 2. Turn 2 is a tight right-hander, as the mid-field streamed cautiously through Leclerc attempted a video style do-or-die pass on the inside of Vettel.
Vettel was carefully navigating his way through, avoiding a collision with those around him. Leclerc simply went for a gap but soon found the door closing. The Ferrari bunny hopped over the high curbs and bounced into the back of his teammate causing floor damage and the rear wing to sheer off. Leclerc for his troubles suffered front wing damage. Both Ferrari’s pitted, Leclerc made it out with a new front wing, Vettel was forced to retire.
Leclerc would retire a few laps later. Up at the front Hamilton cautiously built up a small gap over the Red Bull of Max Verstappen. Valtteri Bottas, who started 4th, eventually caught and past the Red Bull. Although Verstappen put up a valiant fight, it was temporary as the Mercedes was in a different league.
The Racing Point’s looked particularly fast and a podium was a possibility if Sergio Perez had not had a tardy qualifying. Perez started the race 17th and fought his way into the top 5 at one point. It could have been fourth but for a tangle with Red Bull’s Alex Albon. The two touched during a battle for position late in the race. Perez came out worst. Slowed by a damaged front wing Perez was pipped on the last corner of the last lap by the McLaren of Lando Norris.
At the front Hamilton cruised to victory in a measured and controlled manner, taking his first victory of the season. However, Hamilton trails his teammate by six points in the driver’s championship standing. The next race in this initially stalled, now busy pandemic affected season is next week at the Hungarian GP.
Styrian Grand Prix, Race Results:
Note – the classification of both Racing Point cars is provisional, subject to the outcome of any decision concerning a protest over their legality from the Renault team. Sainz scored an additional point for setting the fastest lap of the race.