Were any further evidence required that this season’s Formula One world championship may come down to the last man standing, the Austrian Grand Prix was surely enough to silence any doubters? Max Verstappen may have won Red Bull’s home race but with Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas both failing to finish for Mercedes it dealt the team a body blow.
Hamilton’s title lead has disappeared and the British driver now faces the herculean task of refocusing and bringing his best to the British Grand Prix next weekend.
Nobody could deny Verstappen deserved the victory, the first time Red Bull have won at the Red Bull Ring; he ran the race to perfection. As he showed exemplary control, pace and skill while managing his tyres, others suffered from blistering that severely hampered their races.
Yet Hamilton’s retirement was the culmination of a race that his team had already given away. After taking the lead into turn one, the British driver looked to have it in his pocket. But Mercedes once again made the wrong call when the virtual safety car was used on Bottas’s retirement.