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  • Reese Mautone

Race Preview: Styrian Grand Prix

Updated: Jul 18, 2021

The 5 key takeaways to acknowledge before lights at the Styrian Grand Prix

If this weekend's free practice and qualifying sessions have taught us anything, it's that you most certainly cannot make changes overnight - or in the case of the triple-header, a week-, however, gradual improvement are bound to pay off and reflect on the timing sheets.


The increase in the occurrence of a new name upon the timing board is always a welcome sight in this sport, with the young talents of Mclaren's Lando Norris and AlphaTauri's Pierre Gasly cementing their spots in the healthy end of the top 10 once again.

Norris' knowledge and trust in his car reflect in his ability to maximise every lap, resulting in the Briton qualifying P4, however, starting in P3 due to Valtteri Bottas' 3-place grid penalty. Less than 3-tenths of a second off pole position, Norris managed to out-qualify Red Bull's Sergio Perez, and teammate Daniel Ricciardo, whose luck had temporarily turned around this weekend when ending FP2 in P2, but the presence of this pace failed to make an appearance in qualifying.

Pierre Gasly alike has reaped the reward for his efforts as of late, qualifying within the top 10 for every race this season, but one. Continuing his campaign for P8 in the driver's championship, the Frenchman scored an impressive P3 in Baku, with the chance of another podium position in Austria never out of the question. after losing FP2, Gasly proved to himself and spectators that even with limited practice time, the AlphaTauri driver is able to perform well above the mark.

If coming down to a podium place, the battle between these two young and eager drivers is sure to provide a spectacle around the world.


Ferrari Drivers Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc struggled through another tough session for the Scuderia with only one car making it into Q3 on Saturday. This decreased performance comes after an equally frustrating race in France last week, which ended in a double dose of 0 point for the team, the worst result for the Ferrari pairing all season.

Carlos Sainz failed to make it out of Q2 for the second time this year, qualifying in P12 to start the race. Sainz, however, is confident in the race pace of his car, stressing the similarity between the speed of the Ferrari and their midfield competitors, to recover a healthy set of points in their fight for P3.

Charles Leclerc, qualifying in P7, exemplified an amazing effort to break into Q3 given the prancing horses' issues this weekend, despite déjà vu from starting in this position last week as well.

Again, points are well within reach for the Monegasque driver this weekend, however, maximising opportunities will determine the amount Leclerc is able to bring home to his team.


It's no surprise to anyone that the top 3 positions were originally occupied by the likes of Max Verstappen, Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas (prior to the application of the Fin's 3-place grid penalty), these rivals again taking the fight to each other for yet another race this season. despite a few surprise guests, the front rows have generally been occupied by the top two constructors, tussling for P1 in the constructor's championship week on week. With high stakes on the line as a team, and independently, a balance of patience and extreme risk-taking is well and truly needed to maximise points in such times.

Max Verstappen is starting on pole, a difference to his previous outings at the Red Bull Ring where he started P2 for his 3 previous campaigns, the Dutchman eyes off P1 to extend his lead in the driver's championship. Sharing the front row is Hamilton, determined to win his 8th world championship this season, followed by Lando Norris, and Verstappen's teammate Sergio Perez in P4. Bottas settles for P5 after a dangerous spin in the pit lane proving costly to his race and earning him a 3-place grid penalty.

At the wave of the checkered flag, fans could be treated to a tightened fight in the constructors' battle, or a gap wider than ever seen before for Red Bull in the turbo-hybrid era.


Two substantial penalties have been handed out this weekend to the like of Valtteri Bottas and Yuki Tsunoda, both resulting in a 3-place grid penalty.

Bottas' penalty was due to a spin in the pit lane during FP2 which was deemed 'dangerous driving' by FIA stewards. The Fin lost control of his Mercedes when pulling away from his pit box, ending up adjacent to the Mclaren garage. Thankfully, there were no injuries or persons in harm's way, however, this didn't stop the fin from being sanctioned, hurting his race, and his team's fight for the constructor's title.

An incident again involving Bottas saw Tsunoda handed a similar 3-place grid penalty for blocking the Mercedes driver during qualifying, bringing him down to P11. Tsunoda was not made aware of by his team of Bottas' whereabouts until already in the braking zone of turn 4, impeding on the Fin's timed lap. Explicit radio exchanges between driver and pit wall at Mercedes drew attention to the incident, with Bottas' referring to Tsunoda as a 'f---ing idiot'.

These penalties have thrown a spanner in the works for the original plans of these two teams, however, may lead to more opportunities for exciting overtakes for viewers.


George Russell, commonly termed Mr Saturday proved why he's been delegated that nickname in Saturday's qualifying session.

Missing out on Q3 by a slim 0.008 seconds, Russell made it into Q2 to qualify P11, his equal best and, by far, the most impressive result of the season. Looking to score his first set of points for Williams, Russell will be starting the race in P10 after the 3-place grid penalty of Tsunoda has been applied, most crucially with a preference on tyre choice.

Russell is a strong chance to earn what is now Valtteri Bottas' seat for 2022 at Mercedes, and having never been out-qualified by his Williams teammate Nicholas Latifi, makes a hard to ignore case. if all goes well for the young Briton, he'll be ending the Styrian GP with a healthy haul of points next to his name.


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