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Austrian Grand Prix 2023

Everyone has caught up to Aston Martin: What we learned from the Austrian GP

What did we learn at the Austrian Grand Prix weekend?

Alonso Austria
To news overview © RN365/Michael Potts

It was another victory to add to the growing tally for Max Verstappen at Red Bull's 'home' event in Austria.

He took his 80th victory in Formula 1 ahead of Charles Leclerc and Sergio Perez, while Carlos Sainz and Lando Norris rounded out the top five.

After a thrilling race at the Red Bull Ring, what did we learn?

Everyone has caught up to Aston Martin

It was clear at the beginning of the season that Aston Martin was the benchmark team for 'best of the rest' against Red Bull.

The first six races predominantly featured street circuits, which masked some of the strengths of the other teams once they reached traditional circuits.

Aston Martin brushed off their form in Barcelona as a "one off" but after failing to achieve another third podium in a row, it's clear they are starting to fall behind Ferrari and Mercedes.

The team has clear development goals for the next few races before the summer break, which should keep it in the fight for the top five positions. Whether they can deliver on a potential race win at Hungary is another matter.

			© XPBimages
	© XPBimages

De Vries starting to feel the pressure

Nyck de Vries has still not scored any points in 2023 and its clear Red Bull management is starting to grow impatient.

It's never good when Helmut Marko starts to air his doubts in the media and on the weekend when AlphaTauri's new Chief Executive Peter Bayer outlined the teams roadmap, he didn't really mention anything about having an FIA World Champion driving for them.

De Vries needs a solid few performances under his belt at the upcoming races, otherwise he risks falling victim to the ruthless Red Bull ex-driver list by upcoming talent midway through the season.

Track limits needs to be sorted

I will not go too much into this topic as it has been covered extensively already, but it's clear a solution must be found for the Red Bull Ring regarding track limits.

The circuit has employed several solutions over the years, the last being serrated kerbs that resulted in numerous cars being damaged and teams complaining over the cost.

FIA Race Director Niels Wittich recommended a gravel trap should be placed at the offending corners, as did his predecessor Michael Masi in 2021. But with MotoGP also racing at the track, it would be an unsafe solution.

Perhaps a look at sensor technology should be considered, otherwise F1 risks running into the same problem year after year.

			© RN365/Michael Potts
	© RN365/Michael Potts

Sainz let down by Ferrari

Charles Leclerc became the first driver other than Max Verstappen to lead an F1 race in 2023 for the first time since the Miami Grand Prix.

But while he secured his podium and brief lead thanks to pitting under the Virtual Safety Car, Carlos Sainz was left unhappy with Ferrari's double-stack.

He was told early on to stay behind Leclerc even though he had more pace, then subsequently he lost eight seconds when he pit under VSC.

The time spent getting back past the traffic meant he was vulnerable to Sergio Perez at the end, with the Mexican eventually getting past on fresher tyres.

Had he not pitted under VSC, Sainz was adamant that Ferrari would have secured two podiums in Austria.

Mercedes has work to do

The Austrian Grand Prix was a reality check for Mercedes after their double podium in Barcelona and Lewis Hamilton's third place in Montreal.

A drop out for George Russell in qualifying put him on the back foot for the rest of the weekend, while a shock exit for Lewis Hamilton in the Sprint Shootout prevented him from scoring points in the Sprint race.

The team has admitted that Ferrari has managed to put themselves a step ahead with their latest upgrades, so their next upgrade package at Silverstone will be crucial as they look to continue regular podium finishes into the summer break.

F1 2023 Austrian Grand Prix RN365 News dossier

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