Charles Leclerc blew up Max Verstappen’s Oranje party on the Red Bull Ring, Mick Schumacher was able to celebrate the next points after another great drive. The 23-year-old German raced to a strong sixth place in Leclerc’s Ferrari in front of Verstappen on Sunday. After his premiere points a week ago in eighth place, Mick Schumacher achieved his best career result so far in his 32nd Formula 1 race – eight more points were the reward for the Haas driver.
Leclerc proved to be unbeatable to the chagrin of tens of thousands of Dutchmen who had traveled there, despite the jammed accelerator pedal in the final phase. His Scuderia team-mate Carlos Sainz, triumphant winner of Great Britain seven days earlier, retired on course for the podium. It was only with difficulty that he was able to save himself from the backwards rolling and burning Ferrari. In addition to Mick Schumacher, record world champion Lewis Hamilton, who surprisingly made it onto the podium in his Mercedes as third, benefited from this.
Verstappen lost only six points in the classification. His advantage over the new second-placed Leclerc is 38 points. Third is Sergio Perez, who retired in the second Red Bull at the home Grand Prix of billionaire Dietrich Mateschitz’s racing team.
Already on the formation lap, orange-colored smoke was blowing along the only 4.318 kilometers long track. The mood makers from the Netherlands have been transforming the Grand Prix weekend in Styria into a non-stop party since Thursday – albeit with extremely unpleasant background noise. According to reports, especially from female fans, there were racist, homophobic and sexist insults, Formula 1 wrote of “completely unacceptable comments”.
In the race, the Verstappen fans in their orange T-shirts had to tremble quickly. The world champion and championship leader took pole position on Friday and won the sprint race on Saturday. “I can’t hold it for long,” he quickly radioed to the pits after the start. Leclerc put a lot of pressure behind him.
In the twelfth lap, Monegasse squeezed past the inside. Two laps later, Verstappen had the hard tires put on and initially fell back a bit. Leclerc and Sainz set the pace in front. The second Red Bull with Perez initially bobbed at the end of the field after colliding with George Russell at the beginning. The Mercedes driver also received a five-second penalty for this, from which Mick Schumacher also benefited.
After scoring in the points for the first time last Sunday, the son of record world champion Michael Schumacher confirmed his very good form in Austria and fought another duel with Hamilton, just like in the sprint race. “Their speed on the straight is amazing,” commented the 37-year-old Briton.
It quickly became a bit confusing on the short distance after some of the field had new tires fitted, others not. Because the pilots only need a good minute for the lap, smaller groups kept gathering. And Schumacher asserted himself splendidly there too, passing, among other things, the two-time world champion Fernando Alonso in the Alpine, then his teammate Kevin Magnussen, who had not necessarily helped him the day before – to the great frustration of the German, whose buddy Vettel his depressing days in Austria also in the Couldn’t save the race, collided with Pierre Gasly’s Alpha Tauri in the meantime and only drove behind as 17th.
Quite different Leclerc, once his team partner at Ferrari times. The Monegasque ended his weeks of frustration with bankruptcies, bad luck and controversial decisions by the team management. In 2019 Leclerc won two races, in 2020 none at all, this year the opener in Bahrain and on April 10 in Melbourne. Within a few laps after his tire change, he caught up with Verstappen and effortlessly overtook him.