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The Formula 1 double header in Austria certainly did not disappoint as it had plenty of drama and entertainment. The Red Bull Ring is such a fun track due to the tight turns and long straightaways, prime for overtaking opportunities. Strategy also plays a huge part because some teams planned for a one-stop race, but the flow of the race pushed for a lot of two-stops.
The driver that seemed to be the epicenter of all the headlines and action was Red Bull’s Sergio “Checo” Pérez. He was in hot pursuit of a podium in the Styrian Grand Prix (race one) and came up just short to Valtteri Bottas. In the Austrian Grand Prix (race two) he tried an outside over-take of Lando Norris, who ended up dumping him into the gravel, receiving a time penalty.
Though Perez wasn’t able to secure that desired podium in either race, even with his strong recovery in race two, his teammate and points leader Max Verstappen had a stellar weekend. Verstappen added to his record of dominant performances in Austria by sweeping both races. This helped him stretch his lead out to 32 points over Mercedes rival and seven time champ, Lewis Hamilton.
As for the Constructors Standings, Red Bull didn’t put as much space between themselves and Mercedes as they would have liked, but the lead was still expanded. Going into Austria they had a 37 point gap on Mercedes. After the double header they lead 286-242, which is now a 44 point spread. If Perez hadn’t risked the early pass in the Austrian Grand Prix, it’s likely he would have snagged a podium and made the lead even larger.
Going into the two final races before the summer break, Red Bull will try to at least maintain that gap. Verstappen had great success at the British Grand Prix in both 2020 races, coming home with a second place finish and also a win. Even though teammate Perez has made risky choices in his first season with the crew, the car he’s in is an absolute rocket ship and should propel him to at least a top five finish.
For the Hungarian Grand Prix which takes place on August 1st, Hamilton will likely be the man to beat. He’s been so dominant at that track, winner of a track record eight races, and is sitting on a three-peat. If Perez and Verstappen can grab podiums behind him, and maybe even a fastest lap point, then it’ll negate any big gains in both standings.
As mentioned in our piece before the Austrian double header, this is a battle that will definitely head into the second half of the season. Mercedes knows they need to have a rebuttal for Red Bull’s dominance these past few weeks. Two good showings from both drivers, and even a win or two before the break will really set the stage.