Last weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix may not have been as exciting as some fans had hoped it would be, yet the ninth Grand Prix of the season still provided some key moments which ultimately pushed the best drivers in the world to their limits.
Valtteri Bottas was a great example, as he expertly resisted the immense pressure from Sebastian Vettel to take a stunning second career victory.
But, 19 other drivers also competed in this fan favorite Grand Prix, so just how did they get on? We break down the winners and losers in the 2017 Austrian Grand Prix…
Lewis Hamilton – 8/10
Mediocre would be how I’d describe Lewis Hamilton this weekend. Could he have done much more? In Hamilton’s eyes, his weekend was over with the gearbox penalty. His conscience would’ve been at a low point as well, considering Vettel seemingly got away with dangerous driving in Baku. His march to fourth in the race wasn’t mightily impressive, but when everything was going wrong for Hamilton, he at least got the car home safely and professionally.
Valtteri Bottas – 10/10
How impressive was Valtteri Bottas in Austria? His start was just one of those awesome things, when you’re running hot, you’re running hot I guess. From this point onwards, he controlled the race with confidence that I would’ve likened to a multiple World Champion. He comfortably managed the gap to Vettel in both stints, eventually taking home a stunning and deserved second career victory.
Sebastian Vettel – 10/10
When Ferrari completed their long runs on Friday in Austria, they were worryingly off the pace of Mercedes. I, personally, couldn’t determine if Mercedes were quick, or Ferrari were just slow. Either way, they clearly took a big step forward as the race pace in Austria was sublime. Vettel, who did struggle with the ultrasofts, ran a perfect second stint and unfortunately fell an agonizing seven tenths short of victory.
Kimi Raikkonen – 6/10
The Iceman looked uninterested in racing during the opening lap in Austria. On the opening lap, Kimi Raikkonen let Romain Grosjean and, more crucially, Daniel Ricciardo ahead of him at turn 3. This ultimately put Raikkonen out of sync and somewhat out of the podium competition too. For the following 70 laps, though, Raikkonen was quick and consistent, only making a slight mistake when lapping Jolyon Palmer on lap 56. Marchionne’s criticism of Raikkonen’s commitment is still justified, in my view.
Max Verstappen – No rating
After the disasters in Canada and Baku, I honestly thought it couldn’t get much worse for Max Verstappen. Well, I was clearly wrong. Through no fault of his own, Verstappen’s race was over on lap 1. Even without the spin, Verstappen and the team both implied the clutch would’ve still failed. Britain is now going to be that little bit more important for Verstappen.
Daniel Ricciardo – 10/10
Putting it out there now: Daniel Ricciardo was the Driver of the Day in Austria. Let’s remember, this is a circuit which strenuously demands power. The TAG-Heuer badged Renault in the back of the Red Bull RB13 is miles behind Ferrari on power, yet Daniel Ricciardo could stick behind Sebastian Vettel for the majority of the race. After analyzing the race pace of Raikkonen, it was also proved he was just as quick as Vettel, only adding credibility when remembering Ricciardo looked comfortable ahead of Raikkonen for the whole race. Very impressive pace mixed with a consistently strong drive.
Sergio Perez – 9/10
After coming together with Esteban Ocon in the previous two rounds, Force India and Sergio Perez were probably mainly focusing on keeping their nose clean throughout the Austrian Grand Prix. In doing so, the consistency brought him a well-deserved 7th place. Especially impressive was his overtake of Ocon in Turn 3 of lap 1, one of the more unnoticed parts of the Grand Prix. With the aforementioned history between the pair, Perez still had the authority to cleanly pass his team mate in one of the highest risk times. Good stuff Checo.
Esteban Ocon – 9/10
Similar thoughts with Esteban Ocon, actually. His goal would’ve been to keep it clean, and he successfully did this. Subsequently, he came home in P8, giving Force India another strong double points finish. He, however, wasn’t as happy with the result, saying the peculiar strategy of running long on the ultrasofts left him susceptible to an attack from Felipe Massa. Either way, a quiet race equalled a good race for the young Frenchman.
Lance Stroll – 8/10
Three points finishes in a row for the young Canadian, who would’ve thought after his woeful pace in the Australian Grand Prix? His P10 finish was an encouraging sign for Williams, considering their immense struggles on Friday and Saturday at the Red Bull Ring, a track which has historically suited them. Stroll beautifully resisted pressure from Magnussen early in the race and Palmer too, (in the closing stages). No mistakes from the Canadian, which was absolutely crucial for him to bring home this result.
Felipe Massa – 8/10
Twas’ a bit of a boring race for Felipe Massa. He was much the same to team mate Stroll: keep it out of trouble and slowly move up the order. Well it worked, Massa took his car from a lowly 17th all the way to an impressive P9, considering their circumstances. Massa’s jubilation at recovering such a result was clear post-race as he told media, “it was a fantastic race for me.”
Carlos Sainz – No rating
Although the Spaniard completed 44 laps of the Austrian Grand Prix, I’ve given him no rating because his engine firing problems reportedly began on the first few laps. His performance in the racing laps he did have backs this up; Sainz was back in fifteenth by lap 8, and was in the process of recovering what he could when he was finally told to retire the car.
Daniil Kvyat – 4/10
Daniil Kvyat finished the Austrian Grand Prix as the last classified finisher because his race was effectively over in the first corner of the race. A lazy and untimely lock up left Kvyat nowhere but the back of Fernando Alonso to slam in to. This action, which earned him a deserved drive-through penalty, cost not just his race, but that of Alonso and Verstappen too. Nando was rightfully critical of Kvyat in the media. Just pure stupidity from the Russian!
Stoffel Vandoorne – 7/10
Unsurprisingly, McLaren failed to score points in Austria. With a major dependance on power, at least the struggling Honda didn’t embarrass itself and still managed to carry Stoffel Vandoorne to the end of the race, albeit in P12. His race was marred by a controversial drive-through penalty, handed to him for ignoring blue flags. I say controversial because the penalty was considered harsh for such a small offense; Martin Brundle was just one pundit who labelled the decision questionable. Whether it was worth it or not, Vandoorne admitted post-race that it didn’t really affect his finishing position anyway.
Fernando Alonso – No rating
‘Wrong place, wrong time’ is the only real way to describe Fernando Alonso’s unfortunate and short Austrian Grand Prix. For once in recent history, his first lap retirement wasn’t virtue of his Honda power unit, instead a clumsy act of braking from Daniil Kvyat,which saw the Spaniard spun round at Turn 1. The car was retired and the race was over. Fernando labelled Kvyat’s move as too “risky.”
Nico Hulkenberg – 7/10
As mentioned previously, Austria’s Red Bull Ring depends heavily on a strong, efficient power unit. Unfortunately, Renault’s PU probably doesn’t fall under that banner. So, when Nico Hulkenberg had a terrible start, to the point where anti-stall kicked in, his P11 grid slot had quickly turned in to P15 by the end of the first lap. From this point onwards, it was recovery, and Hulkenberg fought back up to an underwhelming P13 finish.
Jolyon Palmer – 8/10
Last year, Esteban Gutierrez achieved five 11th place finishes without scoring a point for Haas. With the Mexican having exited the sport in 2017, he looks to have passed his ‘no points curse’ to Jolyon Palmer, who recorded his third 11th place this season in Austria. (Oh, and he is yet to score points in 2017, too). Despite the result, Palmer still raced hard and fought well with Williams’ Lance Stroll. I can’t fault his performance, the Renault RS17 just wasn’t a car capable of scoring points in this round.
Romain Grosjean – 10/10
For the first weekend in a long time, I haven’t heard Romain Grosjean complain about brakes. It seemed if everything was order for the Frenchman. And, he proved exactly what he’s capable of when things do work properly; Grosjean finished in P6, the highest place for Haas this season. He was elated post-race not just because he finished so high, but because, as he said, “today we were the best of the rest.”
Kevin Magnussen – No rating
I mentioned Grosjean’s bad luck above, and I don’t believe it totally disappeared. Actually, it appears to have simply grasped on to Magnussen. His car looked more than capable of taking double points for Haas today, something they’ve never achieved before in their short Formula 1 history. Sadly, an issue in qualifying yesterday meant he was already starting low, in P15. His luck in the race didn’t improve either, as on lap 30 Magnussen’s race was over with another mechanical issue. His uncensored “F**k this” that played over TV sets best optimizes the frustration he felt.
Marcus Ericsson – 7/10
I’d be lying if I told you I knew what was up with Sauber’s race. Because McLaren had their chassis working well, Sauber were just in a class of their own in Austria. Marcus Ericsson finished the race in P15, second-to-last of the classified finishers. Unfortunately he lost out in the most important battle, with team mate Wehrlein. He sighted poor tire warm up as the the instigator of his issues.
Pascal Wehrlein – 8/10
Last year, Pascal Wehrlein scored an unlikely point finish with Manor, but this year was sadly no repeat. He instead finished in P14, ahead of only his team mate and Daniil Kvyat. Having an older Ferrari power unit was the main cause of Sauber’s problems in Austria. Wehrlein admitted after the race, “this result was the maximum for today.”
Be sure to tell us in the comments whether or not you agree with our ratings!
By – Steven Walton