Red Bull Racing

Max Verstappen is on pole position for the Japanese Grand Prix tomorrow, after an incident with Lando Norris was investigated and the Stewards decided to give him only a reprimand rather than any penalty which would affect his qualifying position.

If the Formula 1 teams were looking forward to a more comfortable environment after hot and humid F1 round in Singapore, they have been drenched again at the Suzuka Circuit in Japan where Round 18 of the Formula 1 World Championship is being held this weekend. But at least it’s cooler (low 20s compared to Singapore’s 30s) and certainly less humid (57% in Japan, 88% in Singapore).

Like Singapore, the Japanese Grand Prix could not be run during the past two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. So instead of being the 38th Japanese F1 GP, it is the 36th time since 1976. Other than 2007 and 2008 when the Japanese event was held at the Fuji Raceway, the Suzuka International Racing Course (owned by Honda) has been the venue since 1987.


It’s Singapore, so rain was not unexpected and in the hours before the F1 race started, commentators were saying things like ‘buckets’ and ‘dumped with enough water to sail a small boat’. Due to the heavy rain, the scheduled 8 pm start was delayed for an hour to 9:05 pm. Even though the rain eased about 20 minutes before the start time, at least 24 mm of water had fallen on the track.

Heavy rain notwithstanding, the fans turned up in the biggest number in the 13-year history of the event, with attendance of 302,000 spectators. That was 2,000 more than the first F1 race in 2008 and according to Singapore’s Transport minister, about 50% were from overseas.


The starting grid for this F1 race did not follow the positions of qualifying as nine drivers had penalties that demoted them to other starting spots. While Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc – who clocked the fastest time in qualifying – was able to keep his pole position, Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen lost his second grid position which was taken by Mercedes-AMG’s George Russell. The Red Bull driver had to start from seventh, just ahead of Williams Racing’s Nyck de Vries who was taking the place of Alexander Albon who had appendicitis.

Leclerc got off to a great start but by the chicane, Russell had managed to position alongside the Ferrari as he had braked a bit later. However, Leclerc managed to hold his position and sped off after the near-contact.


As the drivers left the grid for the first of 72 laps, the home crowd filled the air with orange for their countryman – championship F1 leader Max Verstappen. Both Verstappen and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc got a good start but it was the Red Bull driver who had a slight edge. Further back, Mercedes-AMG’s Lewis Hamilton also sliced through the grid and had just a tiny bit of contact with Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz who had been one slot ahead of him on the grid.

With Zandvoort having very short laps, the cars raced across the starting grid again within a very short time. Haas driver, Kevin Magnussen, provided some drama in the opening lap as his car went wide into the gravel and although he bounced off a barrier, he managed to remain in the race but in last position. His team mate, Mick Schumacher, was not doing well either, having slipped two positions back from eighth on the grid.

Within the first 12 minutes, 6 laps had already been completed and Verstappen was already setting the fastest time. But just one lap later, Leclerc pushed hard and did an even faster lap, gaining a bit on the Dutchman. Hamilton was less than a second behind Sainz who was dropping back from the front two.

Tyre degradation was appearing and Scuderia Alphatauri’s Pierre Gasly went into the pits for new tyres, followed by McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo. They had started on softs which did not seem to be a good choice. Alpine F1’s Fernando Alonso also came in on lap 13 for tyres. Schumacher’s pit-stop was frustrating as it took a while before he could be released.

Lap 15 saw Sainz and Sergio Perez, the other Red Bull driver, pitting. It was messy as Sainz could not shoot back out straight away due to Perez coming past and the Ferrari driver was still for 11 seconds – which is a long time in the pitlane.

As Leclerc headed off to the pits, Hamilton inherited second place, 12 seconds behind Verstappen. When the Ferrari driver got back to the race, he was fourth with Mercedes-AMG’s George Russell ahead.

When Verstappen finally came in on lap 19, Hamilton took the lead, followed by Russell. Switching to mediums, the Dutchman had a very quick stop as usual, returning in third place and about 8 seconds behind Hamilton, and 5 seconds ahead of Leclerc. Up to that point, both Mercedes-AMG drivers were still on their original tyres – a one-stop strategy?

The Alfa Romeo ORLEN team must have been grateful that their cars remained in the race, Zhou Guan-Yu in 13th and Valtteri Bottas in 15th place. But Zhou picked up a 5-second penalty for exceeding the speed limit in the pit lane.

On lap 28, Verstappen closed in on Russell and speeding along the main straight with DRS open, he easily slipped past the Mercedes-AMG into second as he powered his way around on the outside. One lap later, Hamilton left the lead to Verstappen as he rushed into the pits. While changing tyres, Russell, Leclerc and Perez passed by so he rejoined in fifth, 11 seconds ahead of Sainz.

It was Russell’s turn on lap 31 which gives second place to Leclerc, who has a 7-second gap to close with Verstappen. He’s comfortably ahead of Perez who has to keep an eye out for Hamilton sneaking up on him. It was hard to say which Mercedes-AMG driver might have a chance at winning the F1 race as Russell was faster than Hamilton at times.

Halfway through the F1 race, Verstappen looked steady in the lead with an 8-second gap from Leclerc, with Perez around the same time gap from the Ferrari driver. This meant his focus could be entirely on Hamilton who was in his mirrors. Hamilton gets past on lap 37 but Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel is in the way and the Mercedes-AMG driver cannot pull away from Perez quickly enough. Perhaps too focussed on Hamilton, Perez is caught by surprise as Russell slips past him as well into fourth place.

On lap 45, there was confusion when Scuderia Alphatauri’s Yuki Tsunoda pulled to the side as he seemed to have tyre problems. He was able to make it back to the pits where his wheels were checked. He rejoined and then had problems again after 3 laps and pulled over between Turns 4 and 5. but the Virtual Safety Car (VSC) was activated as the Japanese driver left his car.

This triggered a flurry of activity in the pits and on lap 49, Verstappen pit from the lead! The Mercedes-AMG drivers also did the same, but the Red Bull driver got back out and still kept his lead. Racing resumed on lap 50 as the VSC was deactivated. Hamilton was then 12 seconds behind Verstappen, with his team mate 3 seconds away. Instead of being able to keep the lead, Hamilton had been forced into working for the win again due to the VSC.

Alfa Romeo lost a car again as Bottas came to a stop on the main straight while he was in 18th place. The F1 Safety Car came out on lap 56 and Verstappen shot straight to the pits for softs. But the Mercedes-AMG duo did not do the same, so Hamilton was back in the lead with his team mate shadowing him. However, on lap 58, as the cars diverted along the pit lane because the marshals were clearing the Alfa Romeo, Russell did a stop and got soft tyres. That dropped him to third behind Verstappen.

The F1 Safety Car ended its duty after 3 laps. Mercedes-AMG had a buffer between Hamilton and Verstappen but lost it. They had a good chance of Hamilton winning but if he could not, then Russell was ready to take over. As the race started, the Dutchman pulled out and swooped past the Mercedes-AMG easily. The Dutchman regained the lead in the Dutch Grand Prix with 11 laps remaining.

Within a short while, Verstappen had already opened the gap to 2 seconds. As the cars charged through Turn 1, Russell passed Hamilton who was very frustrated at having mediums while his British team mate had softs that worked a lot better. From being in the lead, Hamilton now had to deal with a determined Leclerc who passed him on lap 66.

Verstappen had the speed to stay ahead no matter how hard Russell tried, while Hamilton struggled with his tyres to try to keep Sainz from also displacing him. How quickly his fortunes had changed.

Clocking a fastest lap, Verstappen again won in front of his home crowd which went crazy as their hero sped across the finish line. He had pretty much led from pole position on the grid and got it right again.

Last year saw the return of the Dutch Grand Prix after a 36-year gap – the longest in the Formula 1 championship. The reason it had dropped off the F1 calendar was due to financial difficulties that prevented the Zandvoort circuit from being modernized and upgraded as the sport evolved. It was only in 1995 that proper investment was made with a new owner and the circuit, which had its first race in 1948, was redesigned and redeveloped.

The last F1 race in 1985 was won by Niki Lauda when he was with McLaren, which also won the championship that year. Besides Lauda, the drivers of that era were men like Jim Clark, Jackie Stewart and Rene Arnoux, all retired (or passed away).

Formel 1 – Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport, Großer Preis der Niederlande 2022. Lewis Hamilton Formula One – Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport, 2022 Dutch GP. Lewis Hamilton

While the 4.3-km layout of today’s circuit for Round 15 of the 2022 championship differs greatly from the one that existed in the first 50 years, some of the drivers who raced in last year’s championship round were familiar with it from their Formula 3 years.

Race starts at 3 pm in Holland/9 pm in Malaysia

Zandvoort is a challenging track with 14 corners, many of them fast and sweeping with the ‘Tarzan Corner’ hairpin at the end of the start/finish straight. Undulating, rising and falling between the sand dunes, with a rollercoaster-like vibe similar to Portimao, it has an old-school feel, which many of the drivers like. “It’s definitely a unique challenge for the drivers and puts many aspects of an F1 car to the test,” said Mercedes-AMG’s Toto Wolff.

The elevation change is almost 8 metres and being located across the road from the North Sea, strong wind can be expected, sometimes blowing sand onto the track and affecting grip (an issue normally associated with places like Bahrain).

Zandvoort doesn’t feature many long straights and a lot of the lap is spent cornering. Due to this, it’s a track with low power sensitivity and engine duty, so the Power Unit has an easier time than at other tracks, where it is worked harder.

Because of the many high-speed changes of direction, where the mass of the car can work against you, Zandvoort has the highest mass sensitivity of the year – which means, carrying more fuel will be more penalising. But it’s below average for tyre duty and wear, because most of the corner speeds and loads sit in the middle of the. Many sequences are also very flowing rather than stop/start, which puts traction demand into the tyre.

“The most challenging parts for the tyres are the banked Turns 3 and 14, which are taken at high speed and place sustained combined forces on the car: downforce as well as lateral demands. Along with the other overall demands of the circuit layout, this is why we have nominated the hardest three compounds in the range for only the fourth time in 2022, after Bahrain, Spain and Great Britain,” said Mario Isola, Pirelli’s Motorsport Director.

Overtaking is challenging at Zandvoort due to the almost constant sequence of cornering, apart from the main straight (which leads into not a particularly big braking zone) and the back straight (which isn’t very long). This means qualifying performance and pace is vital and makes it one of the most important F1 qualifying sessions of the year.

“The new F1 car-tyre package this season should make overtaking easier on a track where it was hard to pass last year. The majority of drivers stopped just once to maintain track position but this time, there could be more of a focus on the softer compounds – which might lead to more two-stoppers and drivers pushing even harder,” predicts Isola.

There are two very different tarmacs at Zandvoort, which means the tyres behave quite differently on one relative to the other. There’s some new, smoother tarmac laid in 2020, and the rest of the track features an older, more aggressive surface. This makes it tricky to rebalance the car for all corners, because the surfaces can be different from one corner to the next.

Cornering speeds and gears used by Mercedes-AMG drivers.

Drivers experience 5.2g through the long, sweeping Turn 7 at Zandvoort, one of the highest lateral g-forces of the entire season. Of the 10 braking sections, two are classified as highly demanding on the Brembo brakes, six are of medium difficulty and the remaining two are light.

The most difficult one for the braking system is on the first turn because the cars come off a 1.1-km straight with no braking on the last turn. The single-seater F1 cars hit the brakes at 317 km/h and drop to 133 km/h in just 111 metres. To achieve this, the drivers brake for 1.99 seconds and sustain 4.8g of deceleration.

Because of the very long gap from the 1985 Dutch F1 GP, the most successful driver remains one from that era and it is Jim Clark who won 4 times in the 1960s. Max Verstappen won last year at his home race, and if he repeats his winning form for the next few years, he could replace Clark.

Scuderia Ferrari has been the most successful team in the Dutch F1 GP with 10 victories between 1952 and 1983. During that period, the team had drivers like Alberto Ascari. Juan Manuel Fangio, Mike Hawthorn, Phil Hill, John Surtees, Niki Lauda and Jody Scheckter.

With Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc – the two F1 championship frontrunners – starting near the back due to penalties for excessive changes to engines/components, a lot of ‘action’ was expected. They were not the only ones with those penalties as another 5 other drivers were also demoted from the positions they had qualified for.

Both of the Scuderia Alphatauris had issues and could not make it to the starting grid, so they had to start from the pits.

Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz, on pole, had a good start, pulling quickly away from Red Bull Racing’s Sergio Perez who was more occupied with preventing Alpine’s Fernando Alonso from sneaking past. But Alonso was quick enough and got through to second, followed by Mercedes-AMG’s Lewis Hamilton. However, in the scramble to slot into second, Alonso and Hamilton had contact and both ran wide.

The incident was noted by the Stewards and while Alonso grabbed fourth, Hamilton was getting a message from his team to stop as he entered Turn 16 – the damage was severe enough that he would have to retire. Later, the Stewards would not consider penalizing either driver for the collision.

Further back, Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas and Williams Racing’s Nicholas Latifi also had contact as the Williams driver went wide and spun into the Alfa Romeo. For Bottas, the race ended early as he got stuck in the gravel.


The incidents brought out the Safety Car on lap 2. Sainz was in the lead ahead of Perez while Mercedes-AMG’s George Russell third during the time that Alonso and Hamilton were clashing. But it was the two championship leaders that had attention and Verstappen had moved up to eighth (from 15th on the grid) while Leclerc followed him through to ninth (from 16th). Leclerc took the opportunity to switch to another set of tyres while the Safety Car was out.

The F1 Safety Car left the track on lap 5 and racing resumed, thus far with two cars out. Sainz didn’t have a big gap and Perez was keeping him on the defensive. Behind them, Russell was holding on to his third place as Alonso made efforts to displace him.

By lap 7, Verstappen had passed Alonso and was looking for Russell. And within one lap, he out-accelerated the Mercedes-AMG on the straight to take third place. Leclerc, however, did not make the same sort of progress up the field and his pit-stop had dropped him back to 16th.

The tyres were degrading faster than expected and Pirelli had been predicting a 2-satop strategy for the race. Sainz came in on lap 12, which gave Perez the lead and Verstappen just a second behind. Russell seemed to have dropped back a bit but still had a reasonable gap from Alonso.

When Sainz rejoined the race with medium tyres, he slotted into sixth, behind McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo. His team mate had reached ninth now and though he had taken on fresh tyres 10 laps earlier, the degradation would bring him in again at some point.

Lap 13 saw Verstappen easily pass Perez to take the lead. Behind the two Red Bulls was Russell and then Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel, followed by Sainz. Alonso had pitted and was trying his best to move back up from the 11th place he rejoined the race in.

Perez went in on lap 15 and when he rejoined, he was behind Sainz and more importantly, ahead of Leclerc. The Ferrari driver made a move to get past but Perez held his place going through a turn. A lap later, Verstappen was in the pits to get medium tyres. He rejoined in second, ahead of Perez but 4 seconds behind Sainz who had inherited the lead.

Lap 18 saw the Dutchman capture the lead as DRS propelled him past approaching Turn 5. Behind him, Sainz would be fighting to keep his place while Perez was snapping at him. Russell was too far back with a 7-second gap but there were still 26 long laps left. Leclerc too was 7 seconds behind him, and Alonso also had the same gap to the Ferrari.

At the halfway point in the race, Verstappen was in the lead with a 7-second gap to his team mate. Sainz was third and 10 seconds behind the leader while Russell was maintaining his fourth position without worrying too much about Leclerc who was fifth and 11 seconds behind.

Sainz left his position on lap 24 switches to the hard compound, while Leclerc took on mediums. Rejoining the race, Sainz was in fourth while Leclerc was behind Alpine’s Esteban Ocon in seventh. Alonso had also come in and took on hard tyres, dropping to 13th when he was back on the track. The drivers within the top 10 were spaced apart too far to make an effort to move up and risk an incident putting them out. But Leclerc was determined to work his way up further and slowly picked off one rival after another.

By lap 31, Leclerc was past Vettel and into fifth place, looking ahead for Russell. With 13 laps to go, the Mercedes-AMG driver was still working hard to try to get on the podium so it was taking a while for Leclerc to catch up with him.

Verstappen reported some shifting issues but his engineer told him not to worry. Having had almost certain victories snatched from him in the closing stages of previous races, he was understandably paranoid about mechanical failure. But he had a 13-second lead, which also meant that he did not have to push the car so hard. And Perez was just behind, ready to take over, if the worst happened.

The battle for that last point-paying position was still hotly-contested. Williams Racing’s Alex Albon was holding on, but Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll kept closing in and McLaren’s Lando Norris was watching from 12th to see if he could sneak past.

As 4 laps remained, Leclerc seemed to give up trying to catch up with Russell and was probably wanting to ensure that he could cross the line in fifth at least, or might try for an extra point at the end with a fastest lap. The finishing order seemed to be almost certain, barring any unexpected problems to the leading cars.

For the Alpine F1 team, things were looking good as both Alonso and Ocon (running in sixth and seventh) would collect points from the Belgian GP. It would give them a more comfortable position in the championship, especially as McLaren was unlikely to get any points this time.

As expected, Leclerc came in on lap 43 to quickly get a set of new tyres and rejoined right ahead of Alonso. He was a bit slow, and Alonso got past but the Ferrari driver managed to overtake the Alpine into Turn 5 and off he went to try to get the fastest lap before the race ended when Verstappen led his team mate across the finish line. Sainz had managed to stay ahead of Russell to be the one to stand on the podium in third place.

A new name was on pole position for F1 Round 13 – George Russell – and in his mirrors were two red Ferraris ready to outrun him to the first corner. But the young Mercedes-AMG F1 driver was ready and although Carlos Sainz was able to come up alongside as the cars moved off, Russell held on to his slight lead.

His team mate, Lewis Hamilton, starting from was able to slip past both on the first lap to move from seventh to fifth. The two Red Bulls also moved up two positions before the first turn. However, further back, there was an incident between Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel and Williams Racing’s Alex Albon which brought out the F1 Virtual Safety Car (VSC) for a while. The moment the VSC was deactivated, Russell was able to take advantage of the lull to open up a gap with Sainz.

Haas F1’s Kevin Magnussen had contact with McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo and the former’s car sustained damage to the front wing. It was severe enough that Magnussen got the black and orange flag which required him to return to the pits to fix the damage.

By lap 11, Verstappen was up to fifth and taking on Hamilton for the position. McLaren’s Lando Norris was just ahead but both drivers were able to get past him and continued their duel for the fourth place Norris was displaced from. However, Verstappen was heard to be asking questions about an issue with his car which was alarming him. 8 seconds ahead, Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc was shadowing his team mate who was looking for a way past leader Russell.

Cars were being called in and on lap 17, Russell came in for mediums but Sainz, though called in, did not do so right away and stayed in the lead that the Mercedes-AMG driver had given up. But on the next lap, Sainz came in and Leclerc took over the lead with Hamilton in second and Russell in third, both not within striking distance. Hamilton too would come in on lap 20 for a change of tyres. The forecast for rain was 60% at that point.

On lap 22, Leclerc finally came in, and Russell was back in the lead. When the Ferrari driver rejoined, he managed to slot in ahead of his team mate, which can’t have been a happy moment for Sainz. Leclerc was around 2 seconds behind Russell, while Sainz was 5 seconds and having to watch out for a hard-charging Verstappen. At the back of the top 10, Ricciardo had passed two cars to get back into the points.

On lap 28, Leclerc was close enough to challenge Russell in each corner but the British driver remained calm and held his lines. It took 3 laps for the Ferrari to pass and take the lead but Russell did not give that up easily either.

Leclerc didn’t waste time pulling away and left Russell to be dealt with by Sainz, who was getting closer. Verstappen was still a threat to Sainz but the Dutchman did not have to worry about Hamilton who was some distance behind.

As the 70-lap F1 race passed the halfway mark, all 20 cars were still running which was not always the case. Rain was also coming down lightly and could change things dramatically for the remainder of the race.

Scuderia Alphatauri’s Yuki Tsunoda spun at the chicane on lap 36, bringing out the yellow flags. But he was not immobilized and continued going but was in last place. Pirelli was expecting who went from medium to hard to probably do a one-stopper while everyone else would have to stop again.

Although he was within reach of Russell, Sainz had to go from attack to defence as Verstappen came up behind him. The second position would have to wait first while he held on to his third place. And then Sainz got a break when the Red Bull team called Verstappen in to put on mediums. When he rejoined, he was down to sixth behind his team mate, Sergio Perez. It was still drizzling and heavier rain was forecast by lap 62.

Leclerc gave up his lead on lap 40 to pit, and Russell followed him off the track as well, giving Sainz the lead. With the fresh tyres seemingly warmed up, Verstappen thought he was ready to fight and went flat out – and spun. He was able to recover quickly before Russell could take advantage and held on to his fourth place as he headed in pursuit of Leclerc, whom he passed on lap 45.

Hamilton took over the lead on lap 48 when Sainz came in to switch to soft tyres. It remained to be seen if that was the right move for Ferrari. With Red Bull pitting so early, they should have stayed out and put the soft tyres on later.

It was now Verstappen going after Hamilton in the lead, trying to close the gap of 6 seconds. Leclerc was 3 seconds behind the Dutchman with Russell in fourth and Sainz in fifth. On lap 51, it was Russell’s turn to try to displace Leclerc but the Ferrari driver was making it very difficult.

Hamilton rushed into the pits on lap 52 to get onto softs, rejoining in fifth between Sainz and Perez. Verstappen was now in his more familiar position at the front with a 6-second lead over Leclerc.

The F1 Stewards had finally decided on the Ricciardo – Stroll incident and it was deemed that the Aussie driver was at fault and he received a 5-second penalty.

Leclerc finally had to give way to Russell on lap 53 and the Mercedes-AMG driver took over second, with the 6-second gap behind Verstappen that wasn’t going to be easy to close. Having lost his position, Leclerc came in on lap 54 to get rid of the hard tyres and run on softs for the rest of the race. At that point, the top 5 were spaced many seconds apart and the order was likely to stay till the end. Barring unexpected incidents, the only battle for positions was likely to be between Russell and Sainz.

As 10 laps remained of the 13th F1 round, Verstappen looked comfortable in the lead and if rain came down, he could even benefit from it. It was an achievement coming into the lead from tenth at the start, and he did not have to worry about Russell being an immediate threat.

No more distractions for Hamilton as he pushed forward past Sainz and moved into third and a place on the podium right behind Russell. Now the question was whether Russell would let his team mate past but it did not seem to be so, although it would be Hamilton eventually finishing second. With two Mercedes-AMGs chasing him, Verstappen could not afford to make any mistakes – and also pray his car would not fail.

As 5 laps remained, rain slowly started coming down. At the end of the top 10, Vettel had managed to take over the last points-paying position from his team mate, Lancer Stroll.

And then on lap 68, Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas went off on Turn 11 as his car lost all power. The yellow flags came out, followed by the VSC. It was active for just 1½ laps and then it was a rush to the finish. The rain was heavier and Verstappen was doing his best not to lose it. And he didn’t, taking the eighth chequered flag of the F1 season at Hungaroring.

With no risk of rain and a hot sunny day, almost all the drivers chose to start on mediums, except for Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz, Scuderia Alphatauri’s Pierre Gasly and Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas.

Poleman Charles Leclerc got his Ferrari off to a clean start and already had a slight lead ahhead of the two Red Bulls chasing him into Turn 1. While Max Verstappen was able to grab second position, it was a quick-moving Lewis Hamilton who got ahead of Sergio Perez in the first few seconds. His Mercedes-AMG team mate, George Russell, was also right on the Red Bull’s tail but then, as he eased off, Alpine’s Fernando Alonso suddenly shot past.

Scuderia Alphatauri’s Yuki Tsunoda, who had started from P8, spun and by the time he recovered, the rest of the cars had pulled away and he was right at the back. But a closer look at Tsunoda’s spin showed that Alpine’s Esteban Ocon might have caused it and the Stewards gave him a 5-second penalty. But it would be little comfort for Tsunoda as the damage was great and he had to retire eventually.

Sainz, who started from the back, had moved up 4 places by lap 4 and was prepared to be in ‘overtaking mode’ for much of the race. While Hamilton was having a tough time with Perez, Russell was able to get past Alonso and grab back fourth place.

Verstappen was right up to Leclerc’s tail and determined to capture the lead early, even to the extent of seeming to ignore the need to manage his tyres. His crew, avoiding distractions, only suggested to him to control his pace.

Up to lap 10, the battles at the front saw no changes in positions, with Leclerc staying just ahead and Verstappen not able to find the right opening to make his move. Likewise for Perez who was duelling with Hamilton while Russell was just waiting for the Mexican to make a mistake.

By lap 13, Sainz had entered P10 and was 29 seconds behind his team mate, who was still in the lead. Verstappen’s gap seemed to open up a bit and it appeared that the Red Bull driver might be easing off to hold on to his tyres.

On lap 17, Verstappen pulled off to the pits, stood still for 2.4 seconds to get hard tyres fitted and rejoined in 7th, behind McLaren’s Lando Norris. Alonso was still at 6th, after having passed a few cars early in the race.

And then disaster struck for Leclerc as he crashed into the barriers on lap 18 at Turn 11. He was unhurt and came out of the car as the Safety Car began its duty. It seemed that the car had lost rear traction in mid-corner and at the speed he was doing, he could not recover fast enough. As his car was not obstructing, the Safety Car was able to come in after 2 laps.

By then, Verstappen has moved into the lead and the pressure was on Sainz to get up as high as possible and maximise the points to take home for the team. On lap 23, he was 6 seconds from the leader.

Turn 11 seemed to be a bad corner as Alfa Romeo’s Zhou GuanYu collided with Haas F1’s Mick Schumacher (damaging his rea wing) and the Chinese driver was given a 5-second penalty.

Hamilton was second, 2 seconds behind Verstappen, and the Mercedes-AMG driver had to keep an eye on Perez just behind while trying to close in on the Dutchman. The Ferrari team was also informed that Sainz had picked up a penalty for an unsafe release as he left his bay just as a Williams car was approaching.

As the race reached itsd halfway point, Verstappen had set a number of fastest laps and created a gap of 3 seconds from Hamilton. Both cars were on hard tyres but those on the  Red Bull had 2 more laps than the ones on the Mercedes-AMG, so was that going to be a deciding factor? In 2021, Hamilton had done a 1-stop in the race.

On lap 32, it was still more of a Perez-Hamilton battle than a Hamilton-Verstappen duel.  Pushing hard, Sainz got past Russell into fourth place but it may have taken a toll on his tyres. Behind the top five, Alonso was holding on to his reasonably secure 6th place.

With 15 laps remaining, the teams were trying to guess each other’s strategies and whether or not to try to last till the end. Pirelli was expecting Sainz to come in to get new tyres. Verstappen was 7 seconds ahead of Hamilton and having minor tyre issues but still able to keep going.

On lap 39, Williams Racing’s Nicholas Latifi left the track at Turn 2 after coming into contact with Haas F1’s Kevin Magnussen. Both drivers had to return to the pits as their cars sustained some damage, the Williams seeming to be worse off than the Haas.

Sainz was getting concerned about his tyres and wanted to come in but was told to remain out. And one lap later (lap 42), he was told he could come in just as he had come up alongside Perez and got past into third. But it was short-lived as he came in, finally got new tyres – but had to serve his 5-second penalty – and dropped to ninth. Back to work, while Perez was safely back in third.

The battle between Russell and Perez heated up and at one point, they came in contact. However, there was no attention from the Stewards. The battle was good for Hamilton who could be less concerned about Perez bothering him while he figured out how to get closer to Verstappen who was 9 seconds away.

Sainz, on fresh tyres, was flying and intent on getting onto the podium at least. He was sixth with 6 laps remaining and had Alonso to clear before chasing after a distant Russell. At this point, it looked like the only change would be between Russell and Perez as Hamilton was too far and running out of laps to catch Verstappen.

On lap 49, Zhou again had the frustration of his Alfa Romeo stopping before the end of the race. The Virtual Safety Car (VSC) was activated as the marshals pushed his car off the track.

Just as the VSC went off, Russell made his move and shot past Perez to claim third place with 3 laps remaining. He had timed his surge perfectly but the Red Bull driver was not giving up easily. Sainz was too far back to get any further forward after passing Alonso but might get an extra point for his fastest lap.

While Verstappen comfortably took the chequered flag to win the French GP again, his team mate worked hard all the way to the finish line, trying to regain third from Russell. But time ran out and Russell stayed ahead although the Mexican still didn’t want to accept his place, suggesting that Russell may have exceeded the track limits at Turn 6 and should incur a penalty.

Race starts at 3 pm in Austria/9 pm in Malaysia

After the dramatic British Grand Prix at Silverstone last week, the F1 teams crossed the English Channel to head to the Red Bull Ring for the Austrian Grand Prix, Round 11 of the 2022 Formula 1 World Championship. For this round, a Sprint Race has been included which will be run on Saturday. This is the second Sprint race of the year, following the one at Imola in April.

Red Bull Ring

The short race with a 100-km distance proved popular with drivers and spectators when it was first run at the British GP last year. Being run over a shorter distance, drivers will be flat out from start to finish, with no pit stops needed during the 24 laps. The best effort will be necessary as the finishing order will determine the starting positions for the main race (not the positions in Qualifying), so there is a chance to improve on the position gained in Qualifying. There are also points for the top three finishers of the race. There are also points for the top 8 finishers which are added to the overall championship points.

Although Austria has had a World Championship Grand Prix 35 times since 1964, it has not always been held at the Red Bull Ring. The Red Bull Ring was originally known as the Osterreichring and hosted the Austrian GP continuously from 1970 to 1987, as well as from 1997 to 2003. It was later bought over by Red Bull’s co-founder Dietrich Mateschitz and, after being renovated, renamed as the Red Bull Ring in 2013. From 2014, F1 rounds were held at the track as the Austrian GP and last year, the Styrian GP was also held there.

Each lap of the 4.318-km circuit is covered in two distinct sections. The layout has just 10 corners, so it is short and sharp and also a rollercoaster as it is on a hillside with constant elevation changes. Though it is not the shortest track, the Red Bull Ring has the shortest lap time of all the circuits in the 2022 calendar. The faster drivers will be crossing the start/finish line in just over minute. This allows them to do more laps, both in the practice sessions and in qualifying – provided they have enough sets of tyres.

“The asphalt at the Red Bull Ring offers reasonably low grip on a low-severity circuit, which makes it possible to bring the softest tyres in the range. This helps us in putting the focus on entertainment, at a venue that has often delivered exciting races in the past, thanks to a busy and compact lap that’s essentially a series of short corners. Our tyre nomination makes a variety of different potential strategies possible,” said Mario Isola, Pirelli’s Motorsport Director.

The track puts huge demands on a car’s handling while, at the same time, demands good mechanical grip at low speeds and excellent performance at high speed. Ultimately, the engineers have to find a compromise when setting up the racing car and dial in the right amount of downforce.

Gear positions and cornering speeds of Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS cars.

There are 3 very hard braking zones in succession on the approaches to Turns 1, 3 and 4, and the brakes are unable to cool down sufficiently over the rest of the track as the lap is relatively short. This impacts the maximum pressure and general wear and tear experienced. For that reason, teams have to apply as much cooling as possible to the brakes, so the front tyres hardly get warmed up at all.

The Red Bull Ring is also notorious for its aggressive kerbs and is considered to be one of the toughest tests for the suspension. This applies especially to the kerbs at the exits of T1, T6 and T7, which take an exceptionally high toll on the cars because of their frequency (ie the gap between the highest and lowest points of the kerbs) and the speeds at which they are taken.

There was a bit of confusion as the race was about to start and there was a short delay which meant another formation lap for the cars. In that time, Alpine’s Fernando Alonso had his car pushed back to the pits and he would not race, while Alfa Romeo’s Zhou GuanYu had engine problems that saw him having to start from the pitlane.

So 18 cars were on the starting grid when the lights went out, and Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen – starting from pole position, got ahead of the rest. In the first few corners, the two Ferrari drivers exchanged positions with Carlos Sainz taking second initially and then losing it to team mate Charles Leclerc.

Sergio Perez, the other Red Bull, had cut through traffic to move 5 positions up from starting at 13th place. Mercedes-AMG’s Lewis Hamilton had a poor start and dropped back to 11th behind Williams Racing’s Alex Albon. However, the other Mercedes-AMG driver, George Russell, was taking on Sainz.

By the 7th lap, Verstappen was pulling away, taking advantage of the duel between the two Ferrari drivers for second place. Russell was watching and watching for a chance to slip past as well. On the same lap, at TuRn 3, Albon caught the attention of the Stewards as he pushed McLaren’s Lando Norris off the track and he was given a 5-second penalty.

Perez was working very hard to move forward, passing Hass F1’s Kevin Magnussen to get to sixth and having Alpine’s Esteban Ocon in his sights.

On lap 11, Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel slid into the gravel at the exit of Turn 6 after coming into contact with Albon’s car. Fortunately, he was not stuck and was able to get back onto the track but had dropped way down to 19th.

Down in ninth place, Hamilton was trying hard to overtake Michael Schumacher’s son, Mick, was who in the Haas F1. But the young German driver was able to hold off the 7-time world champion who must be finding it a new experience having to challenge youngesters.

With 3 laps remaining, Hamilton was still stuck behind Schumacher and complaining about it. Finally on lap 21, he managed to take over Schumacher’s position but the race was nearing the end anyway. But at least he would get one point at the end of the race which saw Verstappen taking the chequered flag.


Red Bull Advanced Technologies (RBAT) will build and sell a hypercar which uses much of what they have learnt making and racing Red Bull Racing F1 cars. The Red Bull 17 (RB17), as the model will be known, will also use some of the technologies that have been disallowed in the sport.

It will be very exclusive, of course, and only 50 people in the world will get to own one. They will have to be very rich to afford the expected pricetag starting from £5 million (around RM26.8 million) for each car. The RB17 will be supported directly by the factory, with servicing and maintenance support tailored to each owner and their usage profile for the car.

Ownership includes more than the hypercar, bringing a close association with the Red Bull Racing team through access to simulators, vehicle program development and on-track training and experiences.

Red Bull Racing has been among the top F1 teams and has developed many advanced technologies which will be used in the hypercar.

‘RB17’ creates a direct link to the F1 cars which began ‘RB1’ in 2005 when the team entered Formula 1. It has reached ‘RB18’ in 2022 and ‘RB17’ actually was never used because last year’s racing car was designated ‘RB16B’ as it was fairly similar to the RB16.

The 2-seat RB17 will have the typical hypercar specs and a twin turbo V8 hybrid powertrain will develop over 1,100 bhp. Designed around a carbonfibre-composite tub, the RB17 features the most advanced ground effect package available in a series production car.

RBAT plans to build 15 cars a year from 2025 so new RB17s will be coming up till the end of the decade. “The RB17 marks the first time that a car wearing the Red Bull brand has been available to collectors,” said Christian Horner, CEO of Oracle Red Bull Racing and RBAT.

“The RB17 marks an important milestone in the evolution of Red Bull Advanced Technologies, now fully capable of creating and manufacturing a series production car at our Red Bull Technology Campus,” he added.


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