What did we learn from the Austrian GP?


Well, we learned that it is possible to have a great circuit, with gradients and curves, and allow spectators access and grassy fields in which to camp.  That is the true spirit of motor sport, involving the fans.  Not like the swanky ‘artificial’ and very boring circuits set in the deserts, with fancy hotels that the enthusiasts cannot afford.

And Mercedes did it again.  Another 1-2, with Rosberg scoring another victory over Hamilton.  It must be said that Hamilton’s first lap was simply sensational, and he did keep the pressure up, but was never going to wrest the lead from Rosberg, even with the pits telling him he could use knob number 3 or something similar.  Technology that is spoiling the competition.

Williams had their best results for many a year, and Valtteri Bottas enjoyed his first trip to the podium, though many had hoped Massa (the Brazilian dwarf – he really is amazingly small) would win.  However, in today’s F1 you can go into the pits in first place and end up fourth when the three behind you finish their pit stops.

It should also not be forgotten what an incredible investment Dietrich Mateschitz has made for F1.  His circuit and four of his cars competing.  He deserves every accolade, it was just a pity that the on-track results were so poor, with only Ricciardo (AKA The Teeth) finishing.  His German team mate, formerly known as The Finger, had an engine management problem and then almost took Ricciardo off when being lapped, and later in the race ran into another car and damaged his front wing and then retired.  Not the kind of performance expected from the current F1 Champion driver.

And talking about champion drivers, Fernando Alonso (Ferrari) shows just what a champion can do with a not very good car, bringing the uncompetitive Ferrari home in 5th.  Raikkonen in the sister car coming in 10th and 30 seconds behind Alonso.  Ferrari will not put up with these lack-luster performances.  Expect there to be a spare seat in a red car at the end of the year.

I have never been a great admirer of race stewards, and having had a couple of personal experiences with stupid decisions, this was really brought home with the penalty meted out to Esteban Gutierrez for an “unsafe release” in the pits.  In this situation, the driver waited for instructions before he can leave the pit and finally gets the “go” instruction, so he did.  Then got a “stop” because a rear wheel was not firmly attached.  Pushed back to the pits, wheel bolted on correctly and then he can go.  He had lost at least 20 seconds in that scenario, and about as many places.  Surely that is enough?  But no, the stewards apply another 10 second stop-go penalty on the driver, who is an innocent bystander in this case.  Penalize the pit crew if you must, but not the blameless driver!

In the Force India team, Perez drove well to 6th outright, avoiding all possible shunts with Massa, while his team mate Hulkenberg followed him in 9th.

McLaren still in the doldrums, though Magnussen in 7th left Button 20 seconds behind him in 11th.

The final noteworthy item was Muncher Maldonado in the “Lotus” did not hit anyone or anything.  Almost a new record.

The next race meeting is the British GP at Silverstone, 6th July.