Sunday, 22 June 2014

Austrian Grand Prix: Red Bull Ring, unlucky for Red Bull drivers...

It was nice to see the Austrian Grand Prix back on the calendar, after an eleven year absence, however "it was no Bahrain". It wasn't a boring race, but it was no edge-of-the-seat thriller. It threatened to be an upset for Mercedes, but a sterling drive from both Hamilton and Rosberg secured the Mercedes one/two. The upset was coming in the shape of Bottas and Massa, who both started from the front row. They held on to those positions until the first pit stops, then the Mercedes drivers despatched them pretty quickly. Lewis and Nico had pitted and dropped down the order, awaiting the Williams stops. Bottas came out between Hamilton and Rosberg, Hamilton passing him within a few corners. They dealt with Massa in much the same way. On a positive note, Williams appeared to have great race pace, so it's only a matter of time before they really cause the Silver Arrows problems.

For a circuit that is now called the Red Bull Ring, it wasn't a lucky race for the Red Bull boys, the Toro Rosso team included. Red Bull Racing's sister team suffered two DNFs, whilst Sebastian Vettel was forced to retire on lap thirty-seven and Ricciardo could only manage eighth. Vettel was dogged with problems, first having power issues and then colliding with Esteban Gutierrez, breaking his front wing and needing an extra pit stop to get it changed. Eventually Red Bull told Sebastian to stop, since it was worth saving some mileage and thus preserving the gearbox and engine for a while longer.

That really was all of the excitement we were treated to, in Austria's return to Grand Prix racing. McLaren had a much better race than in recent weeks, with Magnussen bringing his car home in seventh and grabbing a handful of points. Force India also fared well, with Perez bagging sixth and Hulkenberg being pipped to eighth place by the under performing Red Bull of Ricciardo. Even Ferrari's Fernando Alonso secured a respectable fifth place. To clarify, it was only Red Bull who struggled here, with the only non finishers being the Red Bull teams. Not a great place to be poor, and all in front the boss, Dietrich Mateschitz.

We will all be hoping the racing is back on form at Silverstone, after all, Lewis and Nico looked far too chummy, as they clambered out of their cars and then celebrated up on the podium. My Driver of the Day has to be Lewis Hamilton, as he managed an impressive second place finish, after starting from ninth on the grid. Perhaps that's why he wasn't too bothered about seeing his team mate on the top step. With the next race being the British Grand Prix, I wonder how Hamilton will react if Rosberg looks to be outperforming him again.

Check out The F1 Spectator Austrian GP podcast and listen to The F1 Spectator himself.

The Result:
16Nico RosbergMercedes711:27:54.976325
244Lewis HamiltonMercedes71+1.9 secs918
377Valtteri BottasWilliams-Mercedes71+8.1 secs215
419Felipe MassaWilliams-Mercedes71+17.3 secs112
514Fernando AlonsoFerrari71+18.5 secs410
611Sergio PerezForce India-Mercedes71+28.5 secs158
720Kevin MagnussenMcLaren-Mercedes71+32.0 secs66
83Daniel RicciardoRed Bull Racing-Renault71+43.5 secs54
927Nico HulkenbergForce India-Mercedes71+44.1 secs102
107Kimi RäikkönenFerrari71+47.7 secs81
1122Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Mercedes71+50.9 secs11
1213Pastor MaldonadoLotus-Renault70+1 Lap13
1399Adrian SutilSauber-Ferrari70+1 Lap16
148Romain GrosjeanLotus-Renault70+1 Lap22
1517Jules BianchiMarussia-Ferrari69+2 Laps18
1610Kamui KobayashiCaterham-Renault69+2 Laps19
174Max ChiltonMarussia-Ferrari69+2 Laps21
189Marcus EricssonCaterham-Renault69+2 Laps20
1921Esteban GutierrezSauber-Ferrari69+2 Laps17
Ret25Jean-Eric VergneSTR-Renault59Brakes14
Ret1Sebastian VettelRed Bull Racing-Renault34Retired12
Ret26Daniil KvyatSTR-Renault24Suspension7