2018 Austria Thoughts
THE BIG PICTURE: Well, that wasn't expected. With Mercedes flying high, they get nothing. Ferrari doesn't win, but they take over the driver and constructor points lead. We like unpredictability.
TRACK: Those laps sure go by quick.
EVENT: The Dutch fans made this a mega-event.
QUALIFYING: Mercedes' upgrades continue to shine but Bottas is the one to top the grid, Vettel slots in third then drops three, Grosjean doesn't make any mistakes, and five different teams have one of their drivers eliminated in Q1.
RACE: Someone turned on the wayback machine. Reliability played a major factor like it once did in F1. Tires, gearboxes, engines ... everything was failing.
START: Raikkonen gets a great start then blows the next few corners, Bottas blows the start but then does great in the next few corners, Verstappen picks his spot and barely gets away with it, and Hamilton thanks everyone as he sails off.
VERSTAPPEN: Max has been on a mission the last two races, and it paid off in spades as he masterfully handled his tires in the (unexpected) extreme heat.
RED BULL: Red Bull takes their first win at the Red Bull Ring.
RAIKKONEN: Kimi made a nice run at Max near the end, but his tires prevented the battle from fully materializing. A shame for us fans.
VETTEL: A fantastic pass on his championship rival.
FERRARI: All of a sudden, the Prancing Horse is first. Who would have predicted that before the weekend?
MERCEDES: They blew the key strategy call (again!) which ironically was initially caused by their own car. Then, it really went to hell in a hand basket.
GROSJEAN: Shoot the confetti in the air. Romain has scored points! Romain has scored points!
MAGNUSSEN: And Kevin was right behind.
HAAS: The fourth and fifth may be due to attrition, but they were clearly the best of the rest all weekend and finally it showed in the results.
FORCE INDIA: While buyers circle the financial carcass, on the track the team continues to excel.
ALONSO: Once again, you can't deny what Fernando continues to do with a crap car. He had no right to pull that slug into a points paying position.
MCLAREN: But that doesn't change the fact the car is still crap.
LECLERC: Talk about putting slow cars in the points. Charles does it again for Sauber, albeit thanks to attrition.
ERICSSON: Also thanks to attrition, even Marcus scored a point.
STROLL: Give Lance credit. He wasn't intimidated and took the fight to Leclerc and did quite well ... until his pathetic Williams wasn't capable of the fight.
WILLIAMS: Even with both cars finishing in a high attrition race, they got nada.
WORD OF THE WEEKEND: Reliability.
STAT OF THE WEEKEND: 33 -- The number of consecutive point scoring races for Hamilton which has now ended.
HISTORICAL STAT OF THE WEEKEND: This is as close to a home victory Austria can get right now in F1 with the team owner winning at his own track in his home country. Of course, the only Austrian driver to win at home is Niki Lauda. He did it once in 1984 when it was the original Österreichring circuit, driving a McLaren-TAG from the fourth grid position. Only 12 of the 26 qualifiers finished.
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND: Helmut Marko on his outfit and their team's home victory, "The Lederhosen worked for the first time!"
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND RUNNERUP: Daniel Ricciardo being philosophical after his crushing DNF on his birthday, "There's no point being upset. I know what I signed up for with this sport as a kid and sometimes it does this. I don't think I'll celebrate too much for my birthday but you know, maybe a cognac to get over these sniffles!"
SCHEDULE: The frantic three weekends in a row ends in Silverstone, which itself should be a frantic race.
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