What the Austrian F1 GP revealed

Two reveals by Max Verstappen

So, Max can make mistakes. First time he's under pressure in a couple of years and voilá, big mistake made. Secondly, he also showed his ugly side. He had already (incorrectly) moved under braking a couple of times as Norris came close. He did it one time too many and one time too severely. He was clearly at fault and correctly got a 10 second penalty by the stewards. To make matters worse for Lando Norris, he was forced to retire the car whereas Max could continue to drive and collect good points for finishing fifth. I'm not against Verstappen, he will likely be remember as one of the best drivers F1 has ever seen, and it's amazing how he can perform at the level he is over and over. The few mistakes he makes tend to be small enough for him to recover from. Not this time.

For those who've watched Verstappen during his F1 career probably remembers his fierce, rule breaking driving in his first years. He dive bombed into others, consistently moved under braking and generally causing havoc, and he was unapologetic about it.

But let's not forget that beyond this rare, although severe mistake, Verstappen is driving like a god. He only came under pressure due to a mistake (or faulty equipment) by a mechanic on his last pit stop. That extra second meant he needed to wait until Norris had past before he could drive to the pitlane's fast lane. This cost him about 4 seconds, giving Norris the chance to catch up. Before that, Max had the race in the bag.

One reveal by Norris

McLaren is showing great pace, allowing the abilities of Lando Norris to shine through. He is clearly capable of taking the fight to Verstappen if only he can catch up.

One reveal on only way to beat Verstappen

Bar a pit stop error, it looks like the only way to beat Super-Max is to be before him in the first corner of a race, and then manage to keep him behind for a couple of laps. If that happens, Verstappen might overdrive his tyres and struggle from the dirty air. That might (!) just prove to be the rare possibility to beat him. For that to happen, it will require another driver to take pole position, make a faultless start and be smart in keeping Verstappen behind in the first corner. Even then,it will probably take two drivers from another team to take him down. Either both in front of Max or one ahead and one keeping Verstappen busy by being right behind. That's how good Verstappen and the Red Bull car he is driving at the moment.

Paraphrasing Verstappen's 2024 Monaco radio message; "I almost need a pillow" in most races. Race Sundays usually looks like this; Max takes pole. He makes a clean start and keeps ahead in the first corner, only to then speed away from everyone else all the way across the finish line. I need to remind myself to enjoy the superb driving that Verstappen is giving us. However, as most people I tend to root for the underdog. As I rooted for Verstappen in 2020 and 2021, I now find myself rooting for any driver that can challenge him in a race.