The dutch Max Verstappen (Red Bull) won the Austrian Grand Prix, test in which the British Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) lost the leadership of the Formula 1 World Championship in favor of the German Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari).
Verstappen, widely criticized at the beginning of the year for several driving errors, got this victory ahead of the Finn Kimi Räikkönen (Ferrari) and Vettel himself after completing 71 laps of the Red Bull Ring, where the early abandonment of the also Finn Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) almost completely changed the landscape of the race. To make matters worse for Mercedes the defection of the poleman, Hamilton's car also suffered failures and abandoned seven laps from the end.
At a circuit where the Silver Arrows had won all F.1 races since 2014, the rest of the teams fighting for the first places tried a different strategy with the order of use of their tires. Thus, Ferrari preferred starting ultrasofts for Vettel and Räikkönen.
It was precisely the Nordic who was the great entertainer when the traffic light went off, benefiting from a slow exit from Bottas. The Scuderia man sped down the middle of the tarmac as Hamilton took the inside zone into the first corner and Verstappen moved into third.
Despite losing two places, Bottas recovered quickly before the first lap was completed and got behind Hamilton, thus anticipating a new Mercedes festival. However, that never happened ...
In the 14th round Bottas suffered a hydraulic pressure failure and quit. The incident sparked a virtual safety car that Hamilton's escorts took advantage of to enter the pits and change tires. The Englishman, on the other hand, remained on the track due to a strategy error that caused him to roll more than recommended on the ultra-soft tires.
The wrong tactic left Hamilton without first place when he had to enter the pits to put on the soft tires. He returned to the track in fourth place and with no options to fight for victory, although he came out ahead of Vettel, his rival in the fight for the crown. However, shortly after the German overcame him without problems and placed fourth behind the Australian. Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull).
With Verstappen clinched in first place, the Räikkönen-Ricciardo-Vettel-Hamilton tandem thus boast a great finish. But only the Ferraris crossed the line as Ricciardo defected on lap 55 due to engine failure and Hamilton shortly after due to fuel pump pressure failures.
Away from these incidents, Verstappen drove with solvency and with a pace that allowed him to be fast without punishing his tires too much to achieve his fourth win in Formula 1.
For Vettel, meanwhile, the third place was a great victory since with that result and the defection of Hamilton he returned to the front of the tournament with a single point of advantage over the Englishman.
RACE (71 LAPS)
1. Max Verstappen (HOL / Red Bull), 1h21m56s024
2. Kimi Räikkönen (FIN / Ferrari) at 1s504
3. Sebastian Vettel (ALE / Ferrari) at 3s181
4. Romain Grosjean (FRA / Haas) 1 round.
5. Kevin Magnussen (DIN / Haas) on 1 round.
6. Esteban Ocon (FRA / Force India) 1 round.
7. Sergio Pérez (MEX / Force India) 1 round.
8. Fernando Alonso (ESP / McLaren) 1 round.
9. Charles Leclerc (MON / Sauber) 1 round.
10. Marcus Ericsson (SUE / Sauber) 1 round.
AVERAGE: 224,414 km / h. LAP RECORD: Räikkönen (71th) in 1m06s957 at 232,160 km / h. CHAMPIONSHIP: 1) Vettel, 146 points; 2) Hamilton, 145; 3) Räikkönen, 101; 4) Ricciardo, 96; 5) Verstappen, 93; 6) Bottas, 92; 7) Magnussen, 37; 8) Alonso, 36; 9) Hülkenberg, 34; 10) Sainz, 28. NEXT DATE: 08/07, British GP.
Photos: Red Bull Content Pool