There were some fantastic drives throughout the field in today’s Austrian Grand Prix, but it was a race where many of the outcomes were decided on strategy.
So who stood out for you? Who was your Driver of the Day?
Started 3rd on the grid, had a go at passing Bottas on the opening lap then bided his time in the opening stint. Passed both the Williams drivers at the first stop using an aggressive undercut that Williams were reluctant to cover. Made a mistake, running off the road just before half distance but from then on managed a small brake problem to the finish for his third win of the season.
Made life hard for himself with a poor qualifying session where he made errors on both his laps in the final Q3 session. Starting 9th on the grid he made an amazing start and was fifth in the opening turns, then passed Alonso for fourth, leaving him right behind his team mate. Couldn’t mount a challenge though as his brake problem was highlighted by the team.
Breakthrough result for the Finn, who had recorded his best ever qualifying result the day before in 2nd. Looking at the strategy it’s conceivable that he should have finished second ahead of Hamilton. Instead Mercedes undercut him at the second stop and Williams chose not to react, as they were worried about the tyre lasting to the end. But Bottas’ tyres were in fine shape in the closing laps, so he may well have been able to keep Hamilton behind for the final stint if Williams had chanced it.
Took his first pole since 2008 on Saturday, but again suffered a reversal in the first stops, as in Canada, this time with a slower in lap and a much slower out lap than Bottas. He dropped from first to fourth where he finished.
Alonso cleverly extended his middle stint, running in clear air in the lead of the race and knowing he wasn’t under threat from behind, with some very strong laps after the stop it allowed him to use the offset to get ahead of Perez and put Massa under pressure for P4. He got within 2 seconds or so of the Williams but didn’t have the pace in the car to pass.
The Mexican did a superb job on a counter strategy starting on the soft tyres, where most others started on the supersoft. He played himself into contention with a long first stintg in which he passed Button, who was on a similar plan. Hulkenberg let him through, which was important and from there he executed the plan perfectly to make up for some of the disappointment of Canada.
Kevin Magnussen outperformed Jenson Button this weekend, finishing four positions and 18 seconds ahead. He was seventh ahead of Ricciardo’s Red Bull. Jules Bianchi was the highest placed driver who made a one stop race work. He managed to extend the opening stint on soft tyres so that his first stop was on lap 40.