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Austrian Grand Prix 2021

What we learned from the 2021 F1 Austrian Grand Prix

Max Verstappen dominated the Austrian Grand Prix to beat Valtteri Bottas and Lando Norris. It wasn't the only standout moment on Sunday as RacingNews365.com gives you the details of what we can take away from the race in Austria.

Analysis
To news overview © Getty Images/Red Bull Contentpool

Max Verstappen made it a hat-trick of F1 wins with a dominant display at the Austrian Grand Prix. He took the full 26 points on his way to victory and now leads the Drivers' Championship by 32 points over Lewis Hamilton.

Valtteri Bottas took second whilst Lando Norris hauled his car onto the podium for the second time in 2021 after a brilliant performance in qualifying and the race.

Verstappen driving better than ever

Verstappen and his RB16B are currently in perfect harmony. The championship leader led every segment of qualifying, led every lap of the race and had the fastest lap of the Austrian GP to claim an extra point.

He not only has more than a race win's worth of a lead in the race for the title, but he has momentum and will be sky-high on confidence.

This combination feels very different to the Ferrari and Sebastian Vettel championship challenge in 2017 and 2018. At the moment, only reliability or some bad luck is the only thing that can stop Verstappen and Silverstone will be a very telling weekend as to how the rest of the season plays out.

Norris stuns the field

Norris is driving just as good as Verstappen and somehow managed to qualify just 0.048 seconds behind the Red Bull driver.

McLaren thought Norris would drop back, as he did at the Styrian GP, but he fought hard to keep Hamilton at bay in the opening phase of the race and kept up with the Mercedes pair to take advantage of the seven-time world champion's damaged floor.

It's Norris' third podium of 2021 and he thoroughly deserves it because he has extracted every bit of performance from the McLaren. The three-year deal he signed with the team was a brilliant move by McLaren with hindsight.

Mercedes prepared to use team orders...to help Bottas

Hamilton suffered floor damage at the exit of Turn 10 according to Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff which caused him to suddenly lose pace. This gave Bottas an opportunity to pounce and Mercedes told Hamilton to let the Finn by at Turn 3.

It was a small surprise because Norris would have found it hard to overtake Bottas, and Mercedes almost gave up with trying to stay on the podium with Hamilton.

They could have also tried to use Bottas to tow Hamilton around and to not go more than one second ahead of the British driver so Hamilton could use DRS to fend off Norris.

Mercedes missed a trick here and made things very easy for Norris when they should have fought until the podium was out of the question.

Unfair racing?

A major talking point from the Austrian GP were the the penalties for Norris and Sergio Perez. First, Norris was deemed to have forced Norris off the track on the safety car restart at Turn 4 and later in the race, Perez did the same thing to Charles Leclerc on two separate occasions.

Each time, a five-second time penalty was awarded. It's by far the most harsh the stewards have been this year as they have let other incidents go throughout the season.

"All the time you have to leave the space," said Fernando Alonso during the 2012 Bahrain GP which is exactly what Norris and Perez did not do so you can see why the stewards gave the penalties they did.

It's also in line with Hamilton's penalty for turning around Alexander Albon at last year's Austrian GP. The penalties will seem harsh to many but it's quite evident as to why they were dished out. Whether that will be consistent for the rest of the season remains to be seen.

Sainz stars in the Ferrari

There were some concerns that Carlos Sainz would be outshone against Leclerc when he announced he would be driving for Ferrari.

But, the Spaniard's performance all weekend was excellent and he managed to make the hard-medium strategy work very well.

Sainz's tyre management has definitely improved and he's given one of the best qualifiers in F1 a good run for his money all season. Once Ferrari have a car that's anywhere near good enough to win, Sainz and Leclerc will be very exciting to watch.

Half the field under investigation

Perez, Sainz, Leclerc, Daniel Ricciardo, Nikita Mazepin, Pierre Gasly, Nicholas Latifi, and Antonio Giovinazzi were all investigated for speeding under double waved yellow flags when Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen collided.

Mazepin and Latifi were given 30-second time penalties and three points on their F1 licence, as they failed to slow down. It's good to see that the stewards have come down hard on this after close calls and incidents in the past.

Ocon in trouble?

Since Esteban Ocon signed a new three-year deal to stay with Alpine, he has been very poor. The triple-header has not gone well for Ocon as he trailed teammate Fernando Alonso by a big margin once again in qualifying.

Ocon's race came to an early end when he was sandwiched by Mick Schumacher and Giovinazzi. But his lack of pace over one lap, which is traditionally a strength, has not been there in recent races.

The 2021 Alpine car lacks pace to their rivals but Alonso is managing to haul it into the points and Ocon has no excuses to not be much closer to the two-time world champion than he currently is.

RN365 News dossier F1 2021 Austrian Grand Prix

The latest news about the Austrian Grand Prix straight from the Red Bull Ring.

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