Category Archives: Formula 1

F1 2021 British Grand Prix Preview: Will Hamilton Return to Winning Ways on Home Ground?

Two weeks is a long time without a race in Formula 1, especially after the triple-header we just experienced. Red Bull and Max Verstappen are in the ascendency after the Dutchman has claimed a hat-trick of wins in as many rounds.

Sir Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes have it all to do, but F1 and the world champions are coming home to Silverstone this weekend. Also thrown into the mix is the first of three sprint qualifying sessions that provides the biggest shakeup to a Grand Prix weekend in decades.

There’s a lot to talk about ahead of the 2021 British Grand Prix weekend, so let’s get into our preview!

Track Guide

Silverstone hosted the very first Formula 1 Grand Prix in 1950. While the circuit has changes over the years, it still remains one of the fastest tracks on the calendar. The high-speed corners of Abbey (1), Copse (9), Stowe (15) and the Maggots-Becketts-Chapel complex are some of the best corners in the world.

Image credit: Formula 1

Silverstone is an absolute fan-favourite and we will see a full-capacity crowd this weekend, meaning up to 150,000 will be cheering on Hamilton, Lando Norris, George Russell and co. on Sunday.

The British Grand Prix rewards a car that is both fast in a straight line and can corner rapidly without wearing the tyres out. The forecast is calling for dry, hot conditions throughout the weekend, so it’s doubtful we’ll see rain deluge the circuit.

Something else to note is that the pit-straight between the first and final corners is now named after Hamilton. So, he’ll be racing on a piece of track that’s dedicated to him.

Last time out

Verstappen won both of the Red Bull Ring rounds at a canter, as his driver’s championship tally is now 32 points higher than Hamilton. Red Bull also achieved their fifth win a row and show little sign of that ending anytime soon.

It was a classic light to flag victory for Verstappen, as he claimed pole and the fastest lap. This sealed his first-ever Grand Slam and he also became the youngest man to ever do so, as 23 years old.

Max Verstappen was untouchable in Austria and Styria. Image: Marca

Valtteri Bottas was a very distant second, as Norris continued his mesmeric season to claim another podium in third. Hamilton had damage caused by Austria’s harsh kerbs, but he still brought his Mercedes home in fourth place.

Carlos Sainz had a rousing drive to fifth, thanks to his mega stint on hard tyres at the start of the race. Sergio Perez finished fifth on the road, but his penalties for running Charles Leclerc off the circuit (twice) dropped him to sixth. Daniel Ricciardo recovered from another poor qualifying to classify seventh in the end.

Leclerc was a disappointing eighth on a day when McLaren scored big again. Pierre Gasly scored points again for AlphaTauri in ninth, with Fernando Alonso rounding off the top ten.

An honourable mention has to go to George Russell, who just missed out on his first points for Williams in eleventh.

Can Mercedes stop Red Bull’s winning streak?

Hamilton and Mercedes won three of the opening four rounds and it seemed as though both were heading for an eighth championship crown each. However, since the Monaco Grand Prix, the form book has completely turned, with Red Bull winning every race.

It’s Verstappen that has won four of those five as well and, truth be told, he would’ve won in Baku as well if it wasn’t for his puncture.

Sir Lewis won the 2020 British GP despite finishing on three tyres. Image: Top Gear

Historically, Silverstone is a very happy hunting ground for Mercedes, having won all but one British Grand Prix since 2013. Furthermore, no driver has won more British Grands Prix than Sir Lewis (7). If there’s one thing that 2021 has taught us though, it’s that history means nothing, as Red Bull appears unstoppable.

You do, however, have to go back to Mark Webber in 2012 for Red Bull’s last British GP win. You only have to go back eleven months for their last Silverstone victory though, as Verstappen won last year’s 70th anniversary GP.

Mercedes really struggled with tyre wear in Silverstone during both of last year’s races. Bottas and Hamilton both suffered punctures and while Lewis still won the race, he’ll do very well to have such a gap to lean on. Although, if you believe Toto Wolff, then Mercedes will win by 30 seconds thanks to their upgrades. Very bold words indeed.

Qualifying on Friday (yes, it’s on Friday this weekend) will tell us a lot, but there’s no indications that Verstappen and Red Bull will be letting up anytime soon.

Session Times

Practice 1: 16 July               14:30-15:30 (9:30-10:30 AM EST)

Qualifying: 16 July               18:00-19:00 (1:00-2:00 PM EST)

Practice 2: 17 July               12:00-13:00 (7:00-8:00 AM EST)

Sprint Qualifying: 17 July    16:30-17:00 (11:30 AM -12:00 PM EST)

Race: 18 July             15:00 (10:00 EST)

All times are in British Standard Time (BST), unless stated otherwise.

Grid Talk Podcast

Want more content to preview your British Grand Prix weekend? The Grid Talk crew have you covered with their British GP Prixvew. Ruby Price hosted Owain Medford, Louis Edwards and Phil Mathew in the latest podcast. Both audio and video versions are linked below:

F1 Blast from the Past: Mansell bests Piquet in Brilliant British GP Battle

Background

The 1987 Formula 1 season was approaching its half-way point as the championship rolled into Silverstone for the British Grand Prix.

Local hero Nigel Mansell was confident coming into his home Grand Prix, after victories at Brands Hatch in the previous two years. The first half of the season had proven troublesome for the Englishman, but a victory at Paul Ricard had elevated him up to fourth in the World Championship.

Senna led the driver’s championship after Round 6. Image: Pinterest

Brazilian Ayrton Senna still topped the driver’s standings with 27 points, one point ahead of compatriot Nelson Piquet and three ahead of double World Champion Alain Prost.

1987 would mark the first time Silverstone would permanently host the British Grand Prix and the circuit had been slightly modified with a chicane added between Bridge and Woodcote. However, the changes were not met with praise from the drivers, Englishman Martin Brundle in particular labelling the slow corner as “everything Silverstone is not.”

Qualifying

Qualifying unsurprisingly saw the Honda-powered cars lead the way, though the patriotic British crowd would not get the result they wanted. Nelson Piquet secured pole position by just seven hundredths of a second. Mansell’s last-ditch effort to take pole resulted in a spin at the new chicane.

Nelson Piquet claimed pole position in Silverstone. Image: Motor Sport Magazine

Senna was third, over a second shy of pole position, with Prost fourth and the two Benetton-Ford’s of Thierry Boutsen and Teo Fabi completing the top six.

Race day

Race day brought a hot summer’s afternoon for 65 laps of Silverstone. As the lights turned green, it was Alain Prost who made a demon start from the second row to jump into the lead at Copse, but the Honda power of the Williams was quickly able to rectify the situation, as Piquet re-took the lead at Becketts.

Nigel Mansell then demoted Prost to third going into Stowe corner, with Senna fourth, Boutsen fifth and the Ferrari of Michele Alboreto in sixth.

The opening laps saw the two Williams establish their superiority as they screamed away into the distance. A rare mistake for Prost at Copse saw Senna relegate the Frenchman back to fourth. But it wasn’t to last long as Senna began to hold up a train of cars as the Brazilian tried to maintain his tyres, Prost snatched back third position soon after going into Copse corner, redeeming himself for his earlier error.

Senna did his best to keep up with the Williams, but would eventually find himself a lap down. Image: Essaar.

The high-speed nature of Silverstone would lead to unreliability. After just eight laps, Andrea de Cesaris made a dramatic exit in the Brabham when the BMW blew its turbo. Stefan Johansson in the second McLaren wouldn’t last much longer, as the TAG Porsche engine gave up the ghost on Lap 19. Ten laps later, Brabham’s woes continued as Riccardo Patrese retired, again with a blown turbo.

On Lap 35, Nigel Mansell made an unexpected visit to the pits, the general consensus at Williams was that this would be a race without the need for tyre stops, however a balance weight had come off the left front wheel resulting in vibrations.

Mansell’s comeback

The Williams mechanics performed the tyre change in 9.5 seconds and the Englishman re-joined the race, albeit 29 seconds behind teammate Piquet. With a fresh set of tyres Mansell began close on Piquet at a rate of over a second per lap, ignoring his fuel consumption read out in the process.

Mansell was pushing as hard as he could to close the gap. Image: LAT Photographic

Ferrari’s disappointment continued Berger had already retired early on after a skirmish with Derek Warwick’s Arrows and on Lap 52 Michele Alboreto’s race came to an end with suspension problems. Prost lost fourth place one lap later when his engine cried enough.

After repeatedly breaking the lap record and with the help of backmarkers, Mansell to drew ever closer to Piquet and by Lap 62, he was right on the Brazilian’s tail.

On Lap 63 he seized his chance as he moved out of Piquet’s slipstream. He sold his teammate a dummy going down Hangar Straight and Piquet reacted to the move, leaving the inside line exposed and Mansell took the lead in a superb manoeuvre, the 100,000+ British crowd were ecstatic.

Mansell crossed the line to win, the eighth victory of his career. The Williams-Honda blew its engine on the slowing down lap due to the stresses of running on full power for numerous laps and Mansell was engulfed by the spectators invading the circuit.

Joining the Williams pair on the podium was Ayrton Senna, finishing a worrying entire lap down. His teammate Satoru Nakajima scored his best ever result in fourth, completing a Honda top four lockout. Derek Warwick finished fifth on home soil with Teo Fabi in sixth.

It was Nigel Mansell’s third victory in front of a British crowd and undoubtedly one of the finest drives of his career.

Grid Talk Podcast

Want more content to preview your British Grand Prix weekend? The Grid Talk crew have you covered with their British GP Prixvew. Ruby Price hosted Owain Medford, Louis Edwards and Phil Mathew in the latest podcast. Both audio and video versions are linked below:

In the Pit Lane – Lando Norris bucks the trend

A surprise pay driver

Lando Norris continues his impressive season with a podium in Austria leaving his expensive teammate Daniel Ricciardo scratching his head. Lando owes much of his success to his father’s deep pockets.

F1 has a trio of billionaire fathers backing their sons to various degrees of success namely Lawrence Stroll, Michael Latifi, and Dimitry Mazepin.

Stroll and Mazepin seniors have both backed their sons’ Formula 1 careers so far

The debate on a father paying for a race seat goes along the lines of is it fair or right that the sons concerned get the drive regardless of talent compared to other drivers who get a drive and financial backing due to talent.

Well, Lando Norris may be bucking the trend. Lando is a pay driver, a fact not often publicised, but his millionaire father has coughed up $44m to date to ensure Jnr’s racing career.

The good news for Norris and McLaren is the kid has the talent, witnessed by multiple karting championships, a F3 championship, and now top ten finishes in F1.

Who is Norris senior?

His dad Adam Norris made his fortune as a founder of stockbroking firm Hargreaves Landsdown and is believed to be sitting on a $200m cash pile.

Even by F1 standards, Norris Snr is a rich man

He first got the chequebook out at McLaren through his Horatio Investments fund back in 2017 to secure Lando’s role as test driver. Lando was upgraded to reserve driver in 2018 before landing the coveted race seat in 2019 in a three-year deal costing Snr $12m a year.

A true win-win

The difference from say Latifi is McLaren knew Lando was potentially the real deal, so it was a win-win for the team.

This year it was announced Lando had signed a three-year deal but not before Norris Snr had got the chequebook out again this time paying $5m a year.

2021 Austrian GP
Norris has done his talking out on-track and showed why he’s a special talent

Norris Snr knew McLaren had the upper hand as they could provide a competitive car unlike other teams who would welcome his cash and so he went in for a penny in for $59m. McLaren again scored a win-win with Norris agreeing to pay the cash-strapped team the three-year cost of $15m upfront.

Lando has always rather naively played down his father’s cash stating, “I don’t really like to talk about it, but compared to Lance Stroll my father is not nearly as wealthy.” For the Norris family, it’s worth spending big bucks matching the talent to a competitive team and avoiding the scenario that is Williams or Haas.

Uncertain future for other teams

At Williams, Nicholas Latifi brings a staggering $30m to the team in the shape of both his father’s money and sponsorship from Royal Bank of Canada and coffee giant Lavazza. Williams also tap another billionaire, Sylvan Adams who pays $6-7m for his protégé Roy Nissany’s role as test driver.

It does beg the question if Russell goes to Mercedes, will Adams write a bigger cheque to secure the race seat for Nissany in 2022?

At Haas, Mazepin Snr is backing Nikita by providing Gene Haas with $12m of sponsorship and a ‘contribution’ of $8m in what may be a ‘try before you buy’ deal.

For Mick Schumacher, the German communications company 1&1 pay $12m in sponsorship but with the caveat, Mick gets the drive.

The Schumacher family stump up another $6m.

The reality is, Haas bank $18m and Mick gets to trail around at the back of the grid!

The last council estate F1 driver

At the other end of the grid, we have Sir Lewis Hamilton resigning for Mercedes-AMG wearing his ‘loyalty’ t-shirt to match his ‘loyalty’ tattoo. Lewis did not have a rich father, but Anthony Hamilton held down three jobs and spent every penny he had on his son’s racing career.

Sir Lewis will remain at Mercedes until at least 2023.

So, the F1 world was surprised at the very public falling out in 2010 when Lewis sacked Hamilton Snr as his manager.

Questions were asked of Lewis’s loyalty but as with most events F1-related it was about money.

Lewis lost the bulk of his newly earned millions when Anthony got on the wrong end of a land deal in the Caribbean Island of Grenada waving goodbye to $20m of his son’s money – ouch!

So, the debate will continue on pay drivers which also include drivers who bring sponsorship money to the table, but the crucial difference is for these drivers’ talent was paramount in securing the funding.

Garry Sloan is an author, columnist, and podcaster more details at garrysloan.com

Copyright ©2021 Garry Sloan

[Note: The opinions expressed on this website are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editors and/or publishers.]

Top 10 Memes of the 2021 Formula 1 Austrian Grand Prix

After the race last week that we were, we’ll say treated to, the likelihood that the Red Bull Ring would throw up a dud again was very low. Similarly, so were Lewis Hamilton’s chances of success after some unseen damage neutered his entire race to the point not even a full meme was dedicated to covering that particular detail as Verstappen yet again extended his championship lead, giving the Brit a massive mountain to climb at Silverstone and beyond.

Let’s see what did make the cut on the internet this week.

1

Posted on Reddit by CapnMorgan03

Its seemed that either F1 fans have short memories or that F1’s nature is that of dominance by one team that hits its interpretation of the ruleset out of the park.

Given his history with pushing drivers trying to overtake to the limit let’s say, it looked like Hamilton had been giving Norris some lessons in keeping a Red Bull behind. The threshold for a penalty seems to have dropped in the time between those teachings however, so the 7-time champion might want to take care doing the same.

READ MORE – F1 2021 AUSTRIAN GRAND PRIX QUALIFYING REPORT – MAX TAKES POLE, BUT LANDO IN 2ND!

2

Posted on Reddit by Davus55

After being pushed off the track courtesy of Norris earlier in the race, you’d think the Mexican would have been more sympathetic to drivers going round the outside. Alas, Perez gives as hard as he gets and decided to double dip on the staunch defence for good measure.

3

Posted on Reddit by BSForFun

They say you should learn from your mistakes but apparently Checo and Yuki weren’t in the mood to take on board any lessons and decided to try and get away with a second infraction. The stewards didn’t look too kindly on that however.

4

Posted on Reddit by 33Marthijs46

Another meme here taking aim at Perez, but to be honest, the level of hypocrisy in the Red Bull cockpit was huge as Sergio kept pushing Leclerc over the white lines after being on the receiving end.

READ MORE F1 BLAST FROM THE PAST: FERRARI OUT-SMART MCLAREN AT THE A1 RING

5

Posted on Reddit by The_Dark_Duck_Rises

Good on Lando, what a sense of humour to take a tongue in cheek jibe at the Dutch fans and the Netherland’s national colours, which were obviously based of William of Orange’s love for the Woking-based racing outfit.

6

Posted on Reddit by Fcancersshotoutboosie

If you’d tuned in to the race having not seen the start and not taken a glance at the driver tower graphic, you could have forgotten Verstappen was even in the race as, compared to last week, chaos ensued behind.

That won’t worry the championship leader however. He was well out of trouble out front.

7

Posted on Reddit by MR_GhastFace

Given his remorse later on in the day, it’s clear Alonso has a heart and can obviously feel for the British driver having had to take away his points. It is however Formula 1 and the Spanish young driver can’t afford to leave points on the table for the sake of sentiment.

READ MORE – F1 2021 AUSTRIAN GRAND PRIX PREVIEW

8

Posted on Reddit by VenomessA92

The flipside of Russell fighting so hard for his chance of points for the first time would have been stressful anyway, were it not the 2-time world champion and only a mere mortal F1 driver.

9

Posted on Reddit by TheUncleTiki

As Max took the victory is seemed a sandstorm took over the circuit, but apparently it was just flares from the, let’s say enthusiastic, fans. Given much more and the drivers wouldn’t have been able to see.

10

Posted on Reddit by thegunrunner

It’s been a horrible trip to Austria for Ocon and his new contract has done nothing for his results and if anything has cursed them. This all came to a head when he was sandwiched, Indian Jones style and had to retire before reaching the 4th corner. Given how badly Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was, maybe Harrison Ford should have taken some pointers.

With that, that’s the third meme review of the race in as many weeks. We take a break now as does F1 until we return to the home of British motorsport in 2 weeks time at Silverstone. We hope you come back and take a look then.

Grid Talk Podcast

Feeling the absence of F1 next week and stuck for what to do?. The Grid Talk crew produce a preview, qualifying analysis show and race review for every Grand Prix weekend. You can check out the latest show on our Podcast section.

IN THE PIT LANE – NICOLAS TODT PLAYS THE LONG GAME

F1 2021 AUSTRIAN GRAND PRIX QUALIFYING REPORT – MAX TAKES POLE, BUT LANDO IN 2ND!

F1 2021 AUSTRIAN GRAND PRIX PREVIEW

F1 BLAST FROM THE PAST: FERRARI OUT-SMART MCLAREN AT THE A1 RING

F1 2021: 5 Drivers who Need a Good Austrian gp today

2021 Austrian GP

After winning the French and Steiermark Grands Prix from pole, Max Verstappen clearly starts as the favourite to win the 2021 Austrian GP, having captured his first hat-trick of pole positions in Formula 1. This is going to be a race which should the young Dutchman win, will mark his fourth victory at the famous Styrian hills-bound Spielberg circuit. More importantly, it would mean a show of absolute dominance by a Red Bull driver at the Milton Keynes-based outfit’s home race event.

Though in order to do so, Max Verstappen will have to defy the staunch attack of a driver who always gives his hundred percent in a duel, not Lewis Hamilton for a change; but young Lando Norris who starts from a career-best qualifying position of second on the grid.

So what we shall get to se in the next few hours will hopefully be a mouth-watering prospect of seeing two young forces of Formula 1 getting embroiled in a close duel, but what about the rest?

That being said, which drivers failed to impress on Saturday and therefore, must deliver a strong Austrian GP today?

Lewis Hamilton

For someone so habitual of finishing at the top step of the podium, one Grand Prix after another, it’s honestly hard to believe that Lewis Hamilton hasn’t won a single race in the last five contests. Another failure to win a race today at Austria would mean that this will be the only occasion in the turbo-hybrid era of Formula 1 where a giant has been defined a victory for five consecutive occasions. 

Though what must be hurting Hamilton, who just hours ago, signed a new contract extension deal with his Mercedes team (which means he will remain in the sport, at least, until 2023) would be a rather forgettable qualifying run, which yielded a fourth on the grid.

It is, therefore, absolutely essential that the great Briton fights on and salvages, at least, a podium, if a race win is out of reach.

But then, you never know what a true titan of a sport can manage- do you- especially when confronted by pressure?

Antonio Giovinazzi

(Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

Antonio Giovinazzi’s most memorable moment of the season came well over a month ago, at the famous Principality of Monaco, where the man fondly described as the ‘Italian Jesus’ scored a fighting tenth, and thus helped his outfit open its account in 2021.

Since then, while he’s shown flashes of blazing speed, managing to outperform a much experienced teammate- also his idol- Kimi Raikkonen, on race-day, however, it’s Raikkonen who’s managed to get the better of him.

Now, starting from fifteenth on the grid, having comfortably been inside the top six in the opening session of Qualifying on Saturday, the Martina Franca-born driver will be keen to cover lost ground, especially on a venue which is very close to his heart. Why? It was here in 2019, where Antonio scored his first Formula 1 points, courtesy a fighting tenth. 

But he must think of doing even better as lights go out soon for the 2021 Austrian GP.

Fernando Alonso

For someone who looked so strong in Saturday’s qualifying run, managing to put, if only for a few seconds, the fastest time on the sheets during Q2, before being eclipsed by Hamilton and then, Perez, respectively, Fernando Alonso will be raring to drive a strong race in the next few hours. He may not be liking his P14 a great deal, truth be told. Not someone who likes to rest on easy laurels, such as outperforming his teammate in qualifying, which Alonso did manage with relative ease on Saturday, it will all boil down to his race performance for the 71-laps that are soon to unfold.

Moreover, why Alonso needs a strong race finish is also down to the fact that he’s clearly been on song in the last few races, starting with a very strong sixth at Baku, followed by an eighth at France, before managing a ninth at the Steiermark Grand Prix, all of which clearly suggest he can do great in the Gand Prix event, further extending the advantage that Alpine currently enjoy over the likes of an Alfa Romeo, Williams, and Haas.

Charles Leclerc

(Photo by Dan Istitene – Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)

The simplest reason why Charles Leclerc must deliver a strong Austrian GP boils down to his last two Grands Prix results. While a P7 at the same venue a week earlier isn’t exactly disastrous, that he earned a sixteenth at the French Grand Prix supports the fact that Leclerc desperately needs a top five race finish.

Driver of the day the last week for having mounted an excellent recovery drive at the very same venue after the skirmish with Pierre Gasly, Leclerc does succeed in managing to get that extra bit out of his car at the venue. Perhaps on Sunday, he would reminisce the great battle with Max Verstappen in 2019, where he all but succeeded in grabbing a mega win.

So Forza Charles, gets deliver a cracker of a race today!

Daniel Ricciardo

The ‘Honeybadger’ who starts his Austrian GP from thirteenth on the grid, not the most powerful qualifying performance, actually bagged a P13 in his last race, at the same Spielberg-bound serene venue.

But in order to have serenity prevail at the end of the day, Ricciardo will have to do a lot better in the race, the chances of which aren’t difficult but will be probed by several faster cars that the Australian will have to counter.

Take the example of the twin Ferraris of Sainz and Leclerc, who too will be keen to pounce on the points up for grabs. More importantly, given the fact that Ricciardo failed to finish the race the last year around, albeit to due problems with his Renault (overheating of brakes) should serve him that extra bit of motivation to contest a strong Grand Prix.

F1 2021 Austrian Grand Prix Qualifying report – Max takes pole, but Lando in 2nd!

It was a close battle between Max Verstappen and the two Mercedes, but for the second weekend in a row they would have to fight it around the Red Bull ring.

Coming into qualifying it was still unclear who would take pole. Mercedes had shown some great pace in Friday quali sims, but Max topped the time sheets in FP3 this morning.

Let’s get straight into how qualifying unfolded!

Q1

The Max Verstappen fans were out in full force as qualifying got underway. The track temperature was scorching so it would be a true test to keep the tyres in a good operating window.

Daniel Ricciardo was a long way off Norris once again as he scrapes into Q2. Credit: McLaren

Traffic was a cause for concern as Mercedes got right onto the FIA to make sure no one would hold up their cars through turns 9 and 10. The Haas cars wasted no time and got their laps done early. There was no point wasting time as they knew they would be out in this session.

As expected it was Verstappen who set the initial pace, 0.25 seconds ahead of Hamilton in second place. Behind the Mercedes it was very close between Sainz, Norris and Perez. All drivers fighting for fourth place.

Aston Martin and AlphaTauri took a different approach, doing their first lot of laps on the Medium tyres. It worked very well for Aston Martin as Sebastian Vettel put his car in 11th after his first flying lap. AlphaTauri were more worried as Gasly had his lap time removed and Tsunoda could only do as well as 14th.

The surprise of the session was when Fernando Alonso rocketed up the standings and sat in 3rd place. An amazing performance given Ocon was in the danger zone after the first lot of runs.

It only got worse for Ocon as he failed to get out of the bottom five and will start the race in in 17th. Also out were both Haas cars, Latifi and Kimi Raikkonen. Dnaiel Ricciardo scraped through to Q2 by the skin of his teeth while Lando Norris was 2nd fastest.

Eliminated: Raikkonen (16th), Ocon (17th), Latifi (18th), Schumacher (19th), Mazepin (20th)

Q2

The cars emerged for Q2 and it was unsurprising to see that the top teams headed out on the medium tyres.

Fernando Alonso onboard as he came across Sebastian Vettel in the final corner. Credit: F1.

It felt as though I was playing the F1 game as all the cars came out at the same time. When Lewis was setting his first lap time, he was met with four cars at turn 9. Luckily for Lewis, they kept out of the way. But his lap time was still not good enough to top the time sheets.

His lap time wasn’t good enough for 2nd place either. Lando Norris put his McLaren in 2nd , Perez was in third and Sebastian Vettel was in third. Granted, he was on the soft tyres, but it was a mighty effort from the four-time world champion.

Aston Martin had shown great pace with Stroll also in the top 10 after the first runs. That pace was worrying for Ferrari who could only do as well as 11th and 12th on the Medium tyres.

Ferrari would not be deterred as they persevered with the medium tyres for their final run. But it would be for nought as they couldn’t improve on their positions. They were beaten by George Russell who managed to get his Williams on the top 10, and most importantly, it was on the medium tyres. A brilliant job by George.

Fernando Alonso was looking to replicate his Q1 pace, but he was held up at the final corner by Sebastian Vettel. Alonso was furious and it denied him a place in Q3. This would be taken to the stewards.

Eliminated: Giovinazzi (15th), Alonso (14th), Ricciardo (13th), Leclerc (12th), Sainz (11th).

Q3

It was now time for the shoot-out!

Max Verstappen had been the pace setter for every session so far and it was no different after the first runs in Q3. The two Mercedes cars could not keep up and they couldn’t even go faster than Lando Norris who did an amazing job to put his McLaren in 2nd place.

George Russell qualified in 9th place, Mr Saturday indeed. Credit: Williams F1

Perez was behind the Mercedes in 5th followed by Gasly in 6th, replicating his qualifying position from last weekend. Vettel was in 7th after the first runs and the Ferrari drivers would want to keep an eye on where he would end up as his likely penalty could promote them to the top 10.

It was going to be a tense final run as Mercedes needed it to be perfect. But it would not be Mercedes who would make this session interesting.

Lando Norris found some great pace to go purple in the first sector. Max wasn’t improving and Lando was chipping away as Max’s lap time bit by bit. In the end it wouldn’t be enough for the young Brit as he missed out by half a tenth of a second.

Perez jumped both Mercedes to round out the top 3. Hamilton could only get 4th place and Bottas would line up behind him in 5th.

But I have to take off my hat to George Russell who jumped Stroll right at the end to qualify 9th place. With the potential for Vettel getting a penalty, he could start in 8th. We will not be jinxing him on this website

Full classification

2021 Austrian GP – Have Mercedes found an edge on Red Bull?- FP1 & FP2 report

Some may not see the point of doing another day of practice at a track that had held a Grand Prix only five days ago, but here we are for the second part of the Austrian double header.

It was a much tougher day than most expected with may drivers struggling to find their feet early on. The tyre compounds are a step softer this weekend compared to last so there was much still to figure out for a lot of team.

So, let’s get straight into the action.

FP1

Several teams had opted to run their test drivers in the morning session. Guanyu Zhou stepped in for Fernando Alonso for Alpine; Callum Ilott got his first outing this season as test driver for alfa Romeo; and Roy Nissany made his hundredth appearance in the Williams, stepping in for George Russell.

Stroll narrowly avoiding the wall on the exit of turn 10. Credit: F1.

Red bull continued from where they left off last weekend as Max Verstappen topped the timing charts. However, teams were running various programmes during first practice.

Mercedes looked as though they were focusing on long runs. But, when Mercedes did attempt to do some quicker runs, they were plagued by tyre issues. Lewis Hamilton complained that he could not get the tyres switched on. This saw both Lewis and Valterri running wide at turn 1 as they attempted a fast lap.

Mercedes were not the only ones struggling with the soft tyre though. Stroll had two big moments which saw him off the track. First, he dipped his tyre into the gravel on the exit of turn 6 which sent him into a spin. After some drifting on the grass, he got back going again.

The second time almost ended in disaster as he completely lost the rear coming out of the final corner. He was lucky to keep it out of the barrier, but it was far from encouraging for Stroll and Aston Martin.

But the common theme of this session was Nikita Mazepin. He couldn’t help himself by getting in the way of both Kimi Raikkonen and Lewis Hamilton. Raikkonen almost ran into the back of Mazepin as he entered the pit-lane and made his feelings very clear with a hand gesture to the Russian.

As for Hamilton, Mazepin was crawling around turn 3 and almost turned in on the seven-time world champion. Quick reactions from Mazepin meant that he didn’t cause a crash.

But this would all be forgotten as the drivers focused on FP2.

FP2

There were reports of rain at the very start of the session, but it wasn’t anything to worry about as it was very light.

Many drivers chose to run Pirelli’s prototype tyres at the start of the second practice session. Pirelli were testing a new, tougher hard tyre with hopes to use them at Silverstone. Despite not taking the flak for the Baku blowouts, it’s clear they will be doing something about it.

Hamilton struggling in the damp conditions late on in the session. Credit: F1

Ferrari had some nagging issues in the morning session despite their quick times, and these issues crept up again in the afternoon. Leclerc had a scary moment at turn 9 in the early part of the session. His rear stepped out on him as he turned it. Luckily for the Monegasque he managed to catch it, but the Ferrari certainly looks a handful.

Half-way through the session and the attention turned away from long runs and into quali runs. It was the two Mercedes who took the top two steps with Verstappen two tenths off Hamilton’s time.

There were a few surprises as well as both Aston Martins looked very quick. Both AlphaTauri’s were showing the pace from last weekend as well.

As the session came into it’s final third, the rain started to pick up. It only came a week late. Their is a potential for rain during the race and drivers continued to run to get a good idea of how far they could run while the rain was coming down.

This did mean that we were not going to see anymore flashy laps as the teams sent of their drivers to gather data about the wet conditions.

But when you go out on a damp track on slick tyres, you can expect some drivers to find it difficult to keep their car on the track. Lewis Hamilton was the first victim of the damp conditions as he ran off the track on the exit of turn 4. After a trip through the gravel he was able to re-join the track and continue on his way.

Norris was the second victim as he lost the rear on the exit of turn 1. He managed to avoid the barrier and get his car facing the right way. His tyres were nicely flat spotted and with only a few minutes remaining, he was forced to change his tyres

Ferrari continued their strong form

Ferrari showed great race pace last weekend despite a poor qualifying. It looks like it could be the same again this weekend.

Charles Leclerc out on the Pirelli prototype tyres. Credit: Scuderia Ferrari

The long-run pace that they showed in FP1 was very impressive and even though the tyres are a step softer this weekend, Ferrari will be ones to watch in the race.

The quali simulations in FP2 only saw Sainz in 11th and Leclerc in 16th, but I expect that when Qualifying comes round tomorrow, the red cars won’t be that low down.

Ferrari are only 12 points behind McLaren in the constructors championship and if they can get another great result this weekend then they are going to be right with them. Ricciardo had another difficult day with McLaren and it looks as though it will be a long weekend for him.

Ferrari will need to pounce of this, and I think they could do it again this weekend.

FP1 Classification

Credit: F1

FP2 Classification

Grid Talk podcast

Want to get some more build up to the weekend? The Grid Talk crew previewed this weekend’s Grand Prix in their latest podcasted. This week Louis Edwards hosted Owain Medford, Garry Sloan and Tom Downey. Both the audio and video links are below so make sure to check it out.

F1 2021 Austrian Grand Prix Preview

Formula 1 fans outside of the U.K. have seldom found themselves hoping for a better turn of fortune for Mercedes during the hybrid era. Yet, here we are.

Max Verstappen is laying burnouts – quite literally – all over the competition. What started as a fight is turning into a demolition and the savagery is stunning.

At this point, it does not look like anything can stop Mad Max in 2021 – but is it too soon to count seven times champion Sir Lewis Hamilton out?

Track Guide

F1 cars in all their beauty will be singing their song in the Austrian Alps again this weekend.

While it’s always too early to dismiss Hamilton from a title fight, the long straights and wonderfully fast-flowing corners of the Red Bull Ring seems unlikely to be the place Mercedes mount a renewed charge.

We’re racing at the Red Bull Ring for the second weekend in a row. Image: F1

Few tracks on the calendar conjure up such easy images of magnificent surroundings and blindingly fast cars. While most of the passing happens at the hard-right turn three, the most daring drivers will make it stick around Turn 6.

The rest of the lap is where speed shines and the chase intensifies before bottoming out in Turn 10 and blazing towards the stopwatch at the line.

Last time out

The fact that this week has been spent discussing the safety of Verstappen’s race-ending celebratory burn out on the finish line (how awesome was that?) because he finished so far ahead of second place tells the story of last week’s Styrian Grand Prix completely.

Verstappen dominated wire-to-wire for Red Bull’s fourth consecutive win and only a slow pit stop prevented Sergio Perez from joining him on the podium.

Mercedes did well to salvage second and third place for big points in the Constructor’s standings but the Silver Arrows were never a threat to Verstappen’s win.

Thankfully, at least Valtteri Bottas looked Iike the solid second driver that Mercedes desperately need for the first time in a while.

Beyond the leading four, both Ferrari and McLaren had one driver finish out of position and are likely to correct those anomalies for this repeat race which should make the midfield just as exciting this weekend.

Rinse and Repeat

Hindsight being the all-conquering view that it is, only sudden reliability woes will stop Red Bull from having two drivers on the podium this Sunday.

Can Verstappen win three races in a row for the first time in his F1 career on Sunday?

Though Mercedes may yet mount a more sustained challenge to Verstappen, given the Dutchman’s dominant display last Sunday, it seems more likely they’re in for another soul-crushing defeat. And it’s about time that happened. 

The Austrian Grand Prix rounds out the first of F1’s 2021 triple-header weekends and will be roaring across your screen this weekend.

Session Times

Practice 1  –  2nd July      10:30 – 11:30

Practice 2 –  2nd July     14:00 – 15:00

Practice 3 – 3rd July    11:00 – 12:00

Qualifying – 3rd July    14:00 – 15:00

Race – 4th July                 14:00

*All times BST

Grid Talk Podcast

Want more content to preview your Austrian GP weekend? The Grid Talk crew previewed this weekend’s race in their latest podcast. Louis Edwards hosted Owain Medford, Garry Sloan and Tom Downey. Both video and audio versions of the show are linked below:

F1 Blast from the Past: Ferrari out-smart McLaren at the A1 Ring

Background

The Austrian Grand Prix was the venue for round nine of the 1999 Formula 1 World Championship. This was the third race held at the revamped A1 Ring since its return to F1 in 1997.

Coming into the weekend, Mika Hakkinen led the World Championship by eight points, despite not scoring at the British Grand Prix two weeks earlier.

The major talking point though, was the accident of his title rival Michael Schumacher at Silverstone. The German suffered a broken leg that would mean he’d be absent for the next six races.

Schumacher’s place at Ferrari was taken by the Mika Salo, who had deputised for Ricardo Zonta at BAR in earlier in the season.

Ferrari’s decision not to promote test driver Luca Badoer from Minardi to fill the vacant seat attracted criticism in the paddock, notably from Jean Alesi, who had himself turned down the opportunity to race for Ferrari again.

Qualifying

McLaren continued their amazing qualifying form in Austria

Qualifying saw the McLaren pair of Mika Hakkinen and David Coulthard lock-out the front row for the fourth time in 1999. Eddie Irvine qualified third, over a second shy of Hakkinen with Heinz-Harald Frentzen starting fourth in the Jordan.

The two Stewart’s of Rubens Barrichello and Johnny Herbert sharing the third row. Mika Salo, on his debut for Ferrari, lined up seventh.

Teammates collide

The start of the 71-lap Austrian Grand Prix got away with Hakkinen leading from Coulthard, Irvine, Barrichello and Frentzen.

Unlike the previous year, there were no incidents into the Castrol Kurve. However, going into the Remus Kurve, Coulthard over-ambitiously tried to dive down the inside of Hakkinen and tipped his teammate into a spin.

The unfortunate Finn fell all the way down to last place. There was disappointment for the other Finnish driver too, as Mika Salo was caught out by the concertina effect in front of him and made contact with Herbert’s Stewart. The ensuing rear wing change would drop Herbert out of contention.

Coulthard thus took over the lead from Barrichello who had managed to overtake Irvine after the Ulsterman had slowed to avoid hitting Hakkinen’s McLaren. Frentzen continued to hold fourth while Jacques Villeneuve in the BAR had made his usual demon start and moved up from ninth to fifth ahead of Ralf Schumacher.

On lap nine, however, the young German became the first retiree when trying to pass Villeneuve. Under pressure from Pedro Diniz’s Sauber, he braked too late into Remus and spun into the gravel trap.

A champion’s comeback

Hakkinen proceeded to charge through the midfield, making short work of the opposition and executing some brilliant overtaking manoeuvres.

By Lap 16, he had already made his way back up to the top ten and moved ahead of Ricardo Zonta in the sole remaining BAR for ninth at the Castrol Kurve.

By Lap 34, he was fifth and made a brave move on Heinz-Harald Frentzen into the same corner to incredibly take fourth place.

Jacques Villeneuve had been hoping to finally bring the BAR home and score the team’s first points but on Lap 35 the Canadian retired for the ninth consecutive race with a half shaft failure.

Alessandro Zanardi’s disastrous return to Formula 1 continued when his Williams ran out of fuel one lap later.

After David Coulthard’s pit-stop, it became clear that the Scotsman was lacking pace with a heavier fuel load.

While Eddie Irvine, free of Barrichello after the Brazilian had pitted, began a string of sensational laps, reminiscent of the tactics used by Michael Schumacher. The Ulsterman’s pit stop duly came on Lap 44 and after 8.6 seconds, he was away and the Ferrari the pit lane ahead of Coulthard.

Mika Hakkinen continued his storming drive by overtaking Barrichello for third on Lap 50. Five laps later, even the chance of a points finish slipped away for the Stewart team as Barrichello’s Ford engine gave up.

In the closing stages, Coulthard began to put the hammer down and closed in on Irvine, but the Ulsterman had just enough pace to keep the Scot at bay.

The chequered flag

Irvine scored his second victory of the season after a brilliant drive to make the most of McLaren’s misfortune. A bitterly disappointed Coulthard finished second while Hakkinen’s amazing recovery drive resulted in third place.

Though it could have been more, those four points would prove crucial in the fight for the driver’s title.

Heinz-Harald Frentzen finished fourth after another good performance with local favourite Alexander Wurz coming home fifth for Benetton.

The final point was taken by Pedro Diniz, in what would prove to be the final career points finish for the Brazilian.

Eddie Irvine had closed the gap to Mika Hakkinen in the World Championship to just two points, more importantly he had firmly signalled his intentions to assume the role of team leader with Schumacher on the side-lines.

Grid Talk Podcast

Want more content to preview your Austrian GP weekend? The Grid Talk crew previewed this weekend’s race in their latest podcast. Louis Edwards hosted Owain Medford, Garry Sloan and Tom Downey. Both video and audio versions of the show are linked below:

Top 10 Memes of the 2021 Formula 1 Styrian Grand Prix

Owing to the changes to calendar forced on F1 as the effects of COVID-19 still ripple through the world, the F1 community at least get’s a second visit to the lovely Red Bull Ring in Styria, Austria. Normally this old-school track throws up some great racing, though unfortunately for us, spoiler alert, uncharacteristically this year it didn’t.

That wasn’t the only thing to be out of character, as Lewis Hamilton struggled to keep pace with the commanding Max Verstappen. Given the fact that he probably is the next big thing for Formula 1, him and his current crop of ultra-young and ultra-fast drivers raising through the ranks, it only makes sense we look at the only form of humour they understand. Well, the only form we can write an article about anyway, let’s take a look.

1

Posted on Reddit by gok5604

Its seemed that either F1 fans have short memories or that F1’s nature is that of dominance by one team that hits its interpretation of the ruleset out of the park.

Rumour has it that it may well be both.

READ MORE – F1 2021 STYRIAN GP QUALIFYING REPORT: VERSTAPPEN ON POLE AT THE RED BULL RING

2

Posted on Reddit by RockBready

It was a torrid affair for Gasly’s first lap in Styria.

Tagged by Leclerc not 500m before the second real corner of the race, then struggling not to get caught in other driver’s paths.

What actually happened to him after turn 3 is something we’d love to tell you about, but for reasons that will become clear, we can’t.

3

Posted on Reddit by vibnn

There’s been some genuinely disappointing TV directing this season, admittedly by a TV crew who’d been forced on a 2 year sabbatical by the current state of the world.

The medicine we didn’t know we needed however, was catching the septuple world champion as the camera cut to him, mid-slide. Mighty impressive work from the person behind the desk if ever we’ve seen it.

4

Posted on Reddit by T_Blown_Diffuser

Given the situational awareness F1 drivers usually possess while testing the limits of adhesion dynamically over 90 minutes, all while balancing strategy and on-track battles will never cease to amaze us, who usually hit a wall if we even think about changing the F1 game’s brake bias settings while taking the gentle right of Curva Grande, this question from Lewis was a little concerning.

Those of you out there who do support the Brit, don’t worry, he was back to working out the implications of any pitstop he made by the end of the race.

READ MORE – F1 BLAST FROM THE PAST: SCINTILATING RACE PRODUCES ULTRA-CLOSE FINISH

5

Posted on Reddit by LucasHS1881

Oh to be George Russell. Even with what will be the fastest Formula 1 car available to drive for a long time he still suffered a setback from bad luck. This same luck struck again when he was painfully close to not just scraping points, but winning himself and Williams a good haul of the stuff that keeps the lights on at the end of the day.

6

Posted on Reddit by Jonnymalax

As we alluded to earlier, we’d love to tell you exactly what happened on lap 1 after turn 3 and exactly what happened to Gasly’s lower wishbone.

Was it just a failure from Leclerc’s contact, a spontaneous failure from a manufacturing error or Gasly bringing the car back too fast and ruining what little chance he had of a decent finish? We may never know.

7

Posted on Reddit by Lab_17

It’s happened again. Another race, another chance of rain, another set of drivers getting wet with both champagne and water from the sky rather then the track not half an hour before.

Given the hype that surrounds the weekend when there’s even a chance of rain, which is warranted to be perfectly honest, it seems the clouds hear about it and decide not to rain on anyone’s parade.

READ MORE – F1 2021 STYRIAN GRAND PRIX PREVIEW: WILL RED BULL WIN ON HOME GROUND?

8

Posted on Reddit by BernhardDiener

Given the recent performances he’s shown and the behaviour of all team members involved with Bottas, a schoolboy error in the pitlane was the least the Finn needed. The antics cost him 3 places and a front row start, possibly shaking this race up entirely, and giving it the spice it sorely needed.

9

Posted on Reddit by HangmanAM

Making the best of a bad situation (and capitalising on an uncharacteristic Red Bull pitstop error) Bottas made good way into the race until Perez was unleashed with a fast Red Bull and fresh tyres.

The only luck the Austrian drinks maker seemed to lack this weekend was a safety car to bunch the pack and help Perez overturn the eventual half-second gap.

10

Posted on Reddit by Ikatcher

There’s been a number of gestures by each team looking to rub their rivals in their own successes (Formation Mercedes at Monza after a 1-2 come to mind) so this isn’t anything new for us. As you can probably guess from our tone, we won’t condemn it either, as Red Bull deserved the win and the celebration on at least partly home turf. They earned the celebration.

An unlikely, yet always possible, quiet affair by F1 standards in Spielberg. That’s the first of the Austrian double bill, can Milton Keynes step up and make it a double bull on the podium. They’ll certainly hope so. We just hope there’s more make fun of as only the internet can. Until next time.

Grid Talk Podcast

Just 4 days to get all caught up before the F1 circus is back up and running, luckily we’ve got something to tide you over until then. The Grid Talk crew produce a preview, qualifying analysis show and race review for every Grand Prix weekend. You can check out the latest show on our Podcast section.

IN THE PIT LANE – NICOLAS TODT PLAYS THE LONG GAME

F1 2021 STYRIAN GP QUALIFYING REPORT: VERSTAPPEN ON POLE AT THE RED BULL RING

F1 2021 STYRIAN GRAND PRIX PREVIEW: WILL RED BULL WIN ON HOME GROUND?

F1 BLAST FROM THE PAST: SCINTILATING RACE PRODUCES ULTRA-CLOSE FINISH

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