The 2020 Styrian Grand Prix answered a number of questions as far as the pecking order in the Formula 1 circuit is concerned. Namely, Mercedes is the team to beat, Ferrari is in major trouble and McLaren is back!
When F1 returned to the Red Bull Ring there were a number of interesting strategies, especially since qualifying was soaking wet. Carlos Sainz and Max Verstappen pitted twice like most of their rivals, but the difference was the timing.
To be precise, both drivers left it later that everyone else before gunning for the fastest lap and the extra point.
In the end, Sainz Jr. won the battle of the fastest car around the Red Bull Ring. The 25-year old set a lap time of 1m05.619 to bag the one additional championship point.
As an added bonus, he also broke the lap record that Kimi Raikkonen held at the circuit.
Meanwhile, Max Verstappen’s attempt at the fastest lap ran into a small hiccup. Even though he was on the same tyres, he picked up front wing damage, which cost him some speed.
Carlos Sainz was actually having a decent race until the team botched a pit-stop and sent him down the order. Although he qualified third, McLaren’s race pace dropped him to fifth behind the Mercedes and Red Bull cars.
Speaking about the initial bungled pit stop, team boss Andreas Seidl told GPFans, “We went through a bit of a roller-coaster during the race, especially during the pit stop of Carlos’s car where we destroyed his race.
“It didn’t look that great at some points during the race, and then sending Carlos out into heavy traffic where he ruined his tyres, there was no chance for him to fight back, and obviously, I am sorry.”
It got worse for the Spaniard as he dropped to ninth, while teammate Lando Norris mounted a late charge. In spite of the misfortune, Carlos Sainz put his head down and charged. Eventually, he snatched the extra point for the fastest lap.