2022 Austria Thoughts
THE BIG PICTURE: Can one be disappointed that the championship is getting closer? Yes, when it could be even closer. Ferrari continues to throw away points for Leclerc to close the margin to Verstappen. First, 13 points last week due to bad strategy. Now, three more points literally blown away due to Sainz's DNF who would have pushed Verstappen down a position for less points.
EVENT: The last few years, the Orange Army has rivaled the tifosi for passion. But when the Dutch fans bring in their soccer behavior, those assholes aren't wanted in F1.
TRACK: Drivers need to stop arguing they are not exceeding track limits. Cameras are placed right down the line and magnetic sensors are also used. This is no different than tennis' electronic line judge and soccer's VAR. It's cut and dry. If you are out of bounds, you are out of bounds. It's not wrong.
QUALIFYING: It came down to two minutes and one hot lap. Verstappen did not disappoint the traveling Orange Army, Ferrari kept them honest, Mercedes is stuck with an all nighter, McLaren is struggling, and Aston Martin sucks at qualifying.
SPRINT START: First Alonso couldn't start his engine. Then Zhou stalled his engine. Finally, the field got going. Verstappen fought off Leclerc, Sainz takes advantage and beats out Leclerc only to lose the spot a few turns later, and Gasly gets flown into an off by Hamilton.
SPRINT RACE: Verstappen cruises to victory, the Ferraris duke it out, Perez nearly recovers all his lost spots, Schumacher nearly holds off a frustrated Hamilton, and Albon gets crossed off many Christmas card lists.
RACE: Not what anybody, except Leclerc, expected. Then, the tension was unbearable for Ferrari, especially Binotto. But Leclerc hung on to take his first ever win when not starting from the pole position. The midfield battles were breathtaking.
START: Verstappen gets away perfectly, Russell has Sainz until Sainz illegally goes off track to keep his position, and Perez should have known Russell had nowhere to go.
LECLERC: Charles called it on Saturday, when he said he had the car to win on Sunday. Verstappen's incredulous smile listening to Leclerc say that now looks pretty silly.
SAINZ: That was quite an (rolling) inferno.
FERRARI: Let's give them credit. They had a strategy, stuck with the strategy, and executed it brilliantly. It should have been a 1-2, if not for their other bugaboo, reliability.
VERSTAPPEN: Where did all that speed go in just 24 hours?
PEREZ: Even when you are in the right, there's such a thing as self preservation and live to fight another day.
HAMILTON: Lewis sure was buoyant after the race. And looking forward to smooth Paul Ricard.
RUSSELL: Begins another top five streak.
OCON: Another happy camper.
SCHUMACHER: Mick's improvement in the past two races has been astounding. This time fighting with Hamilton, beating his teammate, and another solid points finish.
NORRIS: At least Lance finished, something he has never done in Round 11 of an F1 season.
RICCIARDO: Back to another perplexing weekend.
ALONSO: Rapidly becoming the unluckiest driver on the grid. But Fernando always has time for a scolding finger wag.
ZHOU: Brushed himself off and carried on this weekend.
GASLY: His wretched season is getting worse. If that was even possible.
FIA: Their battle with the drivers is ratcheted up a notch. It will soon be an all out war.
F2: In the feature race, the Stewards were handing out track limitation penalties and after race disqualifications like candy on Halloween. Richard Verschoor won ... or so he thought ... until he was DQ'ed. Second place received a time penalty. This handed the virtual win to American Logan Sargeant, his second feature win in a row.
F3: Once again, two entertaining races. The feature race was run in the rain as Frenchman Isack Hadjar took the win from pole.
WORD OF THE WEEKEND: Pedal.
STAT OF THE WEEKEND: 176 -- The number of consecutive laps Max Verstappen has led on the Red Bull Ring until Charles Leclerc passed him, ending the domination.
HISTORICAL STAT OF THE WEEKEND: Ferrari has now won seven Austrian Grands Prix, the most of any constructor, though one was a non-championship event (McLaren is second with six). The first came in 1964, the first year Austria was included on the World Championship calendar, held at the Zeltweg Airfield. Lorenzo Bandini took his only F1 win by 6.18 seconds. Richie Ginther (BRM) was second with Bob Anderson (Brabham-Climax) third, three laps down.
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND: The moment all Ferrari hearts stopped when Charles Leclerc said, "What's happening with the throttle?"
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND RUNNERUP: Toto Wolff's brutal message to the fans accused of abhorent behavior towards others, "We don't want you, fuck off!"
SCHEDULE: Off to the seizure inducing track, perhaps for the last time.
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