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Next Event Starts in:
3hrs 24min - MotoGP Qualifying
Jul 3, 2024
Brendan Burns

Round 11 of the Grand Prix turned out to be a dramatic shuffle of the front of the pack, as we saw some great battles and stellar driving throughout the racers today, with highs and lows across the teams.

The Fight for the Lead

While the race began with the familiar sight of Max Verstappen in pole position, it would not remain that way, as a rare slow pit-stop from Red Bull would allow McLaren’s Lando Norris into striking distance during the latter part of the race. They would spend several laps locked in a heated battle, until lap 64 when the two drivers made contact, causing both to make their way to the pits. Verstappen would return to the field to finish in 5th, despite a ten-second time penalty. Norris however, was not as lucky, as McLaren decided to retire the car, marking Norris’s first DNF of the season.

However, Mercedes ended up capitalizing on the chaos for pole, as George Russell - who had been running in third - managed to take the lead, defending from McLaren’s Oscar Piastri and Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz, and securing the win for the Silver Arrows. Piastri recovered some points for McLaren with a P2 finish, followed by Sainz. Lewis Hamilton finished 4th, and had a relatively tame race, compared to the rest of the field. 

The same could not be said for the other Ferrari driver, Charles Leclerc. His race started with some contact with Piastri and Red Bull’s Sergio Perez, forcing him to pit and fall to the back of the field. He would go on to make 4 pit stops and finish in P11, despite Ferrari’s predicting that he would return to the points. As for Perez, he finished the race in P7, sandwiched between both the Haas drivers.

Haas finished Austria with a landmark performance for the season, as Nico Hulkenberg and Kevin Magnusson gave a stellar performance in this race. In a race dictated by chaos, they managed to capitalize on the shifting positions, bringing both drivers into the points and solidifying their claim on the midfield. Austria was certainly a great weekend for the team. 

Backmarker Struggles

As for the latter half of the field, it was a difficult race for some of the other teams that we expected to see in the midfield. Aston Martin struggled for pace, with Lance Stroll leading the team in P13 and Fernando Alonso in P18, despite Alonso setting the fastest lap during his final tour. His placement was negatively impacted by a penalty for kicking Kick Sauber driver Zhou Guanyu off the track earlier in the race. 

Team RB managed to claim some points from the race, as Daniel Riccardo finished in P9, ahead of his teammate Yuki Tsunoda who finished P14. Despite the lackluster finish, this is likely a solid reminder of Riccardo’s ability, as it has been called into question several times this season.

Alpine was the final team to claim points in this race, as Pierre Gasly finished in P10 and Esteban Ocon in P12. While certainly not the largest attraction of this race, we did see a nice battle between the two teammates around the middle of the race. 

As for Kick Sauber and Williams, they seem to still struggle to find opportunities this season. Kick Sauber continued their scoreless season, as Valtteri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu finished in P16 and P17 respectively. Williams did not finish much better, as Alex Albon placed in P15 and Logan Sargeant in P19. 

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