2023 Austria Thoughts
THE BIG PICTURE: If only we can remove Max Verstappen, this championship would be amazing with so many drivers and teams in the mix. But, that's not a knock against Max and Red Bull. They deserve everything they are earning, and we certainly don't want any sort of sudden rule changes or balance of performance. But...
EVENT: Still full of drunken, orange smoke spewing Dutch crazies.
TRACK: This year, this track produced some amazing action, and not just in the Sprint, but throughout the F1, F2, and F3 races. It just worked.
QUALIFYING: The drama was track limits, but Verstappen skirted through it for the pole. Ferrari's upgrades clearly worked ... at least for one lap pace. McLaren and Williams' upgrades also prove effective by witness to which teammate got through and which didn't. And Perez, Russell, and Ocon all fall afoul of the white line in Q2.
SPRINT SHOOTOUT: Verstappen repeats as Perez doesn't mess it up this time. Norris is fantastic again. Haas also does great. Ferrari barely gets out of Q1. Mercedes would just like to forget this session.
SPRINT: That was fantastic ... FANTASTIC ... wheel to wheel action. Say what you want about the Sprint format, but this time thanks to dodgy, difficult conditions, it was one hell of an entertaining hour.
SPRINT START: How in the world Red Bull didn't take each other out is a miracle, while Hulkenberg is having the time of his life. Meanwhile, Hamilton jumps seven spots in the one lap, and Bottas somehow survives on slicks.
RACE: Almost as good as the Sprint with intense battling throughout the field ... behind Verstappen.
START: Leclerc wouldn't give up, Hamilton is superb, Tsunodo goes off, Magnussen suffers damage, but despite a lot of bottling up, it was quite clean.
VERSTAPPEN: The only thing we're left talking about is how his 249 consecutive laps led streak ended when giving up the lead on lap 25 with an early pit stop.
PEREZ: Sergio is essentially the Bottas or Barrichello or Massa of number twos. Despite those wins that gets us excited, he can't hold a candle to Max's talent. He is not going to pull a Nico Rosberg.
RED BULL: Every opponent is making progress (some very good progress) on their upgrades, and it still doesn't matter to Red Bull.
LECLERC: Finally had a car whose tires could go the distance. Charles was happy.
FERRARI: The biggest takeaway from their upgrades isn't the speed, but their overall race pace.
SAINZ: But Ferrari's strategy still gets their drivers, in this case Carlos, teed off.
NORRIS: Also very happy with his upgrades.
ALONSO: Suddenly, the expectations of podiums for every race has been brought back to reality.
ASTON MARTIN: Time for some big(ger) upgrades.
MERCEDES: And just like that, Mercedes is back below Ferrari and Aston Martin and perhaps even McLaren.
SARGEANT: A much needed strong race performance. And he joined his teammate as the only penalized drivers not to lose a spot. Now, Logan gets the upgrades at Silverstone which Albon has been enjoying for the past two races.
OCON: The most penalized driver for track limits (30 seconds worth!) causing him to lose the most positions of anyone (three).
HULKENBERG: A very up and extremely down weekend.
FIA: If everybody gets a five-second track limit penalty, does anybody get a five-second track limit penalty?
F2: American Jak Crawford takes his first F2 win in the sprint race. Dutchman Richard Verschoor wins the feature, but the highlight was Ayumu Iwasa going from 16th to second.
F3: Changing, damp conditions made for a thrilling sprint race, won by Estonian Paul Aron. The feature race was also an exciting affair with Brit Zak O'Sullivan taking the victory.
TV: It's easy, and we all do it often, to criticize TV coverage. But the ability of the camera operators, director, and commentators to be able to keep up and catch all the frantic action up and down the field in the Sprint was extraordinary. Kudos!
WORD OF THE WEEKEND: Track limits.
STAT OF THE WEEKEND: 1,200 -- The number of potential track limit infringements that were registered in the race alone.
HISTORICAL STAT OF THE WEEKEND: Ferrari claimed their 800th Formula 1 podium. They took their first F1 podium in their first F1 race, though it was not the inaugural F1 event, the British GP. Ferrari skipped that race. Thus, it was the second F1 race when Alberto Ascari took second at Monaco, one lap down, after starting seventh. Raymond Sommer finished fourth, three laps down, and Luigi Villoresi was the last retiree with rear axle problems.
TWEET OF THE WEEKEND: Damon Hill reminding us that things have always been crazy with the FIA, tweeting this out: "There will be more time penalties applied to competitors in the Austrian GP. Thankfully not the top three. That results can be changed hours after the event's ending is disappointing. That said, I won the Belgian GP in 1994 when I was in the airport lounge in Brussels."
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND: Lewis Hamilton's "excuse" after being informed of a track limit penalty, "I can't keep it on the track, it won't turn." Seriously, dude? You are a seven-time world champion, and you produce an excuse which makes you look incompetent. If you know the car can't turn, adjust! It takes a number of infringements to get a penalty. You had plenty of time to deal with it. (Of course, we know that excuse was bullocks.)
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND RUNNERUP: Which required Toto Wolff himself to tell his driver, "The car is bad, we know it, just drive it."
SCHEDULE: An already sold out Silverstone is awaiting their British drivers. But which one will be the best: Hamilton, Russell, or Norris?
Copyright © 2023 by Deep Throttle. All Rights Reserved.