For all the talk of Formula One being extremely boring this season, the Austrian Grand Prix would beg to differ. It was a fantastic Grand Prix, shrouded with excitement and controversy and it ended with Mercedes finally losing a race for the first time this season. Red Bull’s Max Verstappen came in first, followed by Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc while Mercedes’s Valtteri Bottas came in third.
However, the talking point of the race would be Verstappen taking on Leclerc to decide the fate of the race, which also possibly gave us a glimpse as to what to expect from Formula One’s next potential big rivalry in the next decade.
Verstappen’s finest moment yet…
Max Verstappen is one of the sports’ finest young talents and it is easy to see why he has built such a bastion of fans. In Austria, banking on home support, he secured a front-row grid spot in qualifying but during the race, the anti-stall kicked in, thus denting his aspirations momentarily as he dropped from second to seventh on the circuit. However, that inspired him to do some absolutely outstanding racing, as he overtook team-mate Pierre Gasly with precision at Turn 9. Lando Norris and Kimi Raikkonen were left biting the dust as well, and then executed similarly audacious moves against his Mercedes and Ferrari racers. His tiff with Leclerc, which was settled by the stewards three hours after the race was over fuelled further interest and gossip amongst the fans and pundits alike, thus making the Grand Prix the most memorable one of the calendar year so far.
Leclerc was thrilling as well…
Verstappen versus Leclerc will be Formula One’s next big rivalry, and we got to get a glimpse of that in Austria. The hills surrounding the track stood testament to the sheer talent and passion of the two racers, as they tried to outfox each other at almost every turn. However, lady luck has not been kind to Leclerc this season, as he has had two pole positions and has the second-most laps this year without claiming the podium. It was much the same in Austria, as the Frenchman could not defend his lead and was forced out wide by Verstappen on Turn 69.
Despite all of that, Leclerc has shown enough talent to justify Ferrari’s faith in him. He is most likely to finish as Ferrari’s best racer this season, ahead of the four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel in terms of points and he has a very exciting future ahead of him.
Speaking to the press after the final results were decided, Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner said,” It was hard racing between two guys that are the future. This is the kind of racing we need, drivers going wheel to wheel and fighting each other.”
Lewis Hamilton, the defending champion and winner of five straight races this season, coming into Austria said,” You guys have been begging for racing for ages and you got it. Ultimately what today (Sunday) shows is that you can’t just look at one weekend and complain, because that is what seems to happen. One weekend doesn’t go well and it’s like ‘Oh, the racing is boring”.
At the end of the day, Formula One, like all great sports has been built on iconic rivalries throughout the decades, be it Prost-Senna or Lauda-Hunt. To go into a new decade having two exciting 21-year-old talents battle it out amongst themselves, backed by two of the biggest players in the sport is a very enticing proposition for fans like us.