By Jesus Coronel
After an impressive victory in France last week, Red Bull was looking to keep the momentum strong in their home track in Spielberg, Austria for the Styrian Grand Prix.
It was the first of two scheduled races in Austria.
The team has won three consecutive races over their main rival Mercedes and has put them under pressure to take the lead in the championship.
Championship leader Max Verstappen started on pole position after qualifying, with Lewis Hamilton not too far off in second.
Verstappen led the race from the first lap onward. He held his composure to keep his rivals as far as possible from him while maintaining an eight-second gap between him and Hamilton.
The Mercedes crew gave up an attempt to catch Verstappen and instead had Hamilton go after the fastest lap to get a point in the championship battle.
And Hamilton got that point on the last lap of the race, as Verstappen won the Grand Prix with a 38-second gap from him.
“It was a bit of a lonely race,” he said in an interview. “I was trying to keep up with those guys (Red Bull) but they’ve made some big improvements over the last couple of races. We got good points as a team today, and we’ve got to keep pushing.”
This result gave Verstappen his second win in a row, his third in four races and Red Bull’s fourth win in a row. His confidence has steadily been rising.
“Straight away I felt a good balance on the car,” he said. “We have to show it again next week. I’m looking forward to it. I’m confident we can do a really good job again.”
Bottas only managed to barely hold on to third amidst a late charge by Sergio Perez, who made a second pit stop to attempt a late pass. The gap at the end of the race was 0.5 seconds.
“I’m glad I could defend against Perez,” he said. “It’s good that we get to do this all again next week.”
Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc had the best performance in Styria, who went from 19th after an incident with AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly in the first lap that caused him to pit immediately, to finishing 7th in the race, earning the Driver of the Day honors.
They also had a stellar performance from Carlos Sainz as he finished sixth. As a result, the gap for third place between them and McLaren, who struggled with only Lando Norris scoring points, is now 12 points.
It was a race to forget for AlphaTauri, as Gasly’s encounter with Charles Leclerc in the first lap caused his rear left tire to pop and caused him to retire.
Even though teammate Yuki Tsunoda finished in the points, Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll finished eighth, compared to his 10th place result.
The gap between AlphaTauri and Aston Martin for fifth is now two points.
Red Bull is starting to pull a significant lead in the championship, putting pressure on Mercedes to close the gap soon.