Formula 1 was the biggest winner when the Austrian Grand Prix produced an edge-of-the-seat thriller. It all culminated in Max Verstappen seizing Red Bull’s second victory in a row at the Red Bull Ring. Meanwhile, the likes of the perenially dominant Mercedes could only muster 3rd and 5th.
However, given that he and Charles LeClerc got too close for comfort, the incident was under investigation. Finally, after three hours, the stewards decreed that the move was legal. Thought-provokingly, Dutch former F1 driver Michael Bleekemolen believes that the situation surrounding the Mercedes’ lack of pace in Austria was odd.
“I find it a bit strange what’s going on,” the former F1 driver admitted to DAZN. “I just wanted to find the start of the Hungarian Grand Prix a few years ago. We had a period in Formula 1 when Mercedes was so incredibly dominant. At that time there was also such a deadline: ‘If it doesn’t change now …’. That was also the case in Austria.”
“In that fragment (Hungary) you see that Rosberg and Hamilton do not defend themselves in the first corner, they just let a few people go. Then I already thought: ‘Has it been said from above that they should take it slower?’ Maybe I suggest things that are not true at all, but I think they smell match-fixing, yes.”
“I think it’s weird. It is, of course, easy: You switch a button and it all goes a bit less. Still hard, but it just happened. Mercedes suddenly has to work for it again and Ferrari takes the lead.”
However, in spite of all his skepticism about the Mercedes case, Bleekemolen has massive respect for his compatriot’s skills that were laid bare for the world to see.
“Nothing to the detriment of Max Verstappen: What he did was just incredibly good. If these were equivalent cars, something that I assume, you will see how good Max is,” Bleekemolen added.