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Formula 1

Formula 1 Austrian GP: Russell Clinches Dramatic Victory

Mercedes’ George Russell emerged victorious in the 11th round of the 2024 Formula 1 World Championship in Austria following a collision between Max Verstappen and Lando Norris.

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The benefits go to the third litigant between the two: The Austrian Grand Prix was won by George Russell. With his second career victory after the 2022 Brazilian Grand Prix, the Englishman capitalized on the intense duel between Max Verstappen and Lando Norris. After the Dutchman’s final pit stop, where he experienced an issue with his left rear tire and lost a significant amount of his lead, the fight broke out. While Norris utilized a fresh set of yellow tires on the same lap, giving him a performance edge. The world champion fitted a pair of old medium tires.

Red Bull Takes Flight in Austrian GP Free Practice 1

The Austrian Grand Prix weekend kicked off, and Friday’s sole free practice session. It offered a glimpse into the potential battles brewing for the rest of the race.

Max Verstappen, the reigning champion and fresh off his Canadian victory, wasted no time showcasing his comfort on the Red Bull Ring. He topped the timesheets in Free Practice 1, putting in a strong showing on his home track. However, his session wasn’t entirely smooth sailing. A suspected software glitch caused a brief red flag as his car came to a halt on the pit straight. Luckily, the issue was resolved quickly, and Verstappen was back on track with minimal disruption.

Max stopped due to a software glitch

Mclaren of Oscar Piastri showed a strong performance by securing 2nd place. Scuderia Ferrari had a decent showing, with Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz finishing third and fourth respectively. After a few positive weekends for the Enstone operation, Esteban Ocon led the Alpine assault in sixth place, finishing ahead of Russell, Yuki Tsunoda of RB, and Lance Stroll of Aston Martin, who struggled with a steering column issue the whole session.

Fernando Alonso made it two Aston Martins in the top ten. Pierre Gasly and Perez, drivers for Alpine and Red Bull, followed in 11th and 12th, while Lando Norris finished in 13th in his McLaren after a near-failure late lap on softs that was ruined by a tumble through the Turn 4 gravel.

Sprint Qualifying

The battle for the Austrian Sprint grid commenced with a flurry of activity in the sole practice session.

SQ Results

SQ1: As Sprint Qualifying got underway, the tension was palpable. After a quiet initial phase, drivers swarmed the pit lane around the three-minute mark, all sporting the mandatory new medium tires. Hamilton attempted an early lap but found himself facing a deleted time due to exceeding track limits at Turn 1. His teammate Russell, however, managed to snag the provisional P1 spot initially.

The early order saw big names like Ricciardo and Alonso teetering on the edge of elimination alongside Hamilton with his scrubbed lap. As the clock ticked down, most drivers returned to the track in a desperate attempt to secure a spot in Q2. While Alonso and Hamilton managed to improve their times, they could only climb to P11 and P12 respectively, highlighting the competitiveness of the midfield.

On the other hand, Logan Sargeant clawed his way out of the danger zone, reaching P14. However, several drivers weren’t so fortunate. Tsunoda scraped through to Q2 in P15 despite a heart-stopping spin on his final lap, while Ricciardo wasn’t as lucky, bowing out in P16. Similarly, Hulkenberg and the Sauber duo of Bottas and Zhou failed to progress beyond Q1, ending their qualifying runs in P17, P18, and P20 respectively. Albon initially seemed safe but was pushed back into the elimination zone, settling for P19 to round out the bottom five.

Key Eliminations: Ricciardo, Hulkenberg, Bottas, Albon, Zhou.

SQ2: Verstappen and his teammate Perez wasted no time in setting the pace as the ten-minute window for Q2 opened. Verstappen laid down an early benchmark with a 1:05.186s lap, putting him a tenth of a second clear of Russell in P2.

Only eight drivers managed to set initial lap times, all on the mandatory new medium tires. The remaining seven, including Sargeant, Alonso, Gasly, Magnussen, and Tsunoda, joined the fray in the final minutes, with those at risk needing a significant improvement to survive.

Gasly managed to climb to P10, just behind his Alpine teammate Ocon in P9. However, Stroll’s wild moment at Turn 10 saw him plummet into the elimination zone. Magnussen narrowly missed out on Q3, finishing P11 with a time less than a tenth off Gasly’s. Stroll’s misfortune continued as he exited in P12, marking a forgettable day for Aston Martin as Alonso also failed to progress, settling for P13.

Tsunoda (P14) and Sargeant (P15) couldn’t find the pace to advance either, although Sargeant can take solace in out-qualifying his Williams teammate Albon.

Key Eliminations: Magnussen, Stroll, Alonso, Tsunoda, Sargeant

SQ3: The eight-minute Q3 session began with a cautious approach as everyone bided their time in the pits. With just three minutes remaining, the Mercedes duo of Russell and Hamilton broke the silence, heading out first. They were quickly followed by a queue of cars, all on the soft compound tires mandated for this segment.

The drama unfolded for Leclerc as he inexplicably stopped in the pit lane before managing to get his Ferrari going again. Unfortunately, he couldn’t reach the checkered flag in time to set a lap and missed out on the top-10 shootout altogether.

Norris put in a strong showing initially, setting the fastest time among those who had completed their laps. However, Verstappen stole the thunder with a phenomenal 1:04.686s lap on the softs, securing pole position by a narrow margin of 0.093 seconds over Norris.

“It’s great to be first here in front of, basically, my home fans, my home Grand Prix, It was a good day so far.”

-max Verstappen

The other McLaren of Piastri followed in P3, while Russell, Sainz, and Hamilton rounded out the top six. Perez started from P7, with Ocon and Gasly (Alpine) lining up in P8 and P9 respectively. Leclerc’s pit lane mishap left him with a disappointing P10 to start the Sprint race.

Sprint Race

Verstappen Holds Off McLaren Onslaught to Claim Austrian Sprint Glory!

The Austrian Grand Prix Sprint race was a spicy affair, packed with wheel-to-wheel action and a surprise early challenge from the resurgent McLaren duo of Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri. Max Verstappen, starting from pole, fended off a fierce attack from the young guns to secure his second Sprint win of the season.

The race was shortened to 23 laps due to a safety concern with an extra formation lap, but the drama unfolded right from the start. Norris held off a determined Piastri for second, while Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz got tangled up with a feisty George Russell and Lewis Hamilton.

Verstappen couldn’t shake Norris’ DRS early on, leading to some intense defensive maneuvers at Turns 3 and 4. On lap five, Norris lunged at Turn 3, forcing Verstappen deep. Piastri pounced, stealing second place from his teammate in the following DRS zone.

Despite a slight wobble, Verstappen managed to retake the lead from Norris. Meanwhile, the battle for second became a McLaren duel, with Norris relentlessly chasing Piastri. Russell capitalized on the McLaren fight to snatch fourth from Sainz.

By lap 10, Verstappen broke free from DRS range, putting his Red Bull into cruise control. Norris closed the gap on Piastri but couldn’t find a way past, settling for a podium finish behind his teammate. Russell finished a lonely fourth, with Sainz fending off a determined Hamilton for fifth.

Charles Leclerc’s race took a dramatic turn for the better with a stellar opening lap, jumping from tenth to seventh. Further down the grid, Haas driver Nico Hulkenberg is under investigation for a questionable maneuver on Fernando Alonso, potentially forcing the Spaniard off track.

Verstappen’s victory solidifies his dominance on Red Bull’s home turf. However, the real story of the race is the resurgent McLaren. Norris and Piastri’s early challenge and podium finish sends a strong message to the rest of the grid. With the Grand Prix looming, can McLaren continue to threaten Red Bull, or will Verstappen maintain his Austrian reign?

Main Race Qualifying

The Austrian mountains provided a picturesque backdrop, but the real drama unfolded on the sizzling Spielberg tarmac. Here’s the lowdown on the three-part fight for glory:

The lights went green, and the battle for a top-10 spot began. Early favorites like Verstappen and Ferrari’s Sainz lived up to the hype, setting the pace with blistering laps. However, the fight to avoid elimination was fierce. Shockingly, experienced veterans like Valtteri Bottas and Fernando Alonso couldn’t find the pace and were knocked out in Q1. They were joined by Logan Sargeant and Zhou Guanyu, along with Lance Stroll.

Q2 saw Verstappen flex his muscles, laying down a lap time over half a second faster than the rest. The fight for second was tight, with Russell and Sainz setting identical times. However, heartbreak struck for Racing Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo. The Australian driver, who has struggled this season, couldn’t find the pace and was eliminated alongside Kevin Magnussen, Pierre Gasly, and Yuki Tsunoda.

Q3 was briefly delayed as marshals cleared debris from the track. When the action resumed, Verstappen wasn’t done yet. He further improved his time, securing his fourth consecutive Austrian Grand Prix pole position. But surprise challenger Lando Norris stole the show, putting together a phenomenal lap to claim second on the grid, leaving the Mercedes duo of Russell and Hamilton behind.

Adding to the drama, Lewis Hamilton faces an investigation for a clumsy pitlane incident where he knocked over his rear jack. Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc also had a forgettable session, damaging his car after going off track at Turn 9.

Verstappen continued his Austrian dominance by securing his fifth consecutive pole at the Red Bull Ring, a first for him at any track. Joined on the front row by Lando Norris, mirroring the Sprint race results.

Behind them, the grid saw several interesting stories unfold. George Russell secured his best-ever qualifying at the Red Bull Ring with P3. Carlos Sainz finally out-qualified Charles Leclerc after a seven-race drought. Lewis Hamilton, struggling this season, managed a P5 finish, a rare top-six showing. A mistake on his last lap dropped Charles Leclerc to P6. The Ferrari driver is yet to get a top-four start since his Monaco victory.

The Race

The Austrian Grand Prix 2024 was nothing short of a thriller, filled with intense battles, strategic gambits, and unexpected twists that kept fans on the edge of their seats. George Russell emerged victorious, seizing his second career win amid a race peppered with drama and collisions.

A Frenetic Start and Early Drama

Polesitter Max Verstappen led the charge into Turn 1, quickly establishing a gap over Lando Norris and George Russell. Behind them, Lewis Hamilton and Carlos Sainz engaged in a fierce duel. Oscar Piastri forced wide at Turn 4 by Sergio Perez, dropping him to seventh. Charles Leclerc’s race took an early hit as he required a new front wing after contact with Piastri.

As Verstappen pulled away from Norris, Hamilton overtook Russell for third at Turn 3 on lap three, only to be repassed by Russell. Sainz then overtook Hamilton for fourth on lap seven, following team orders. Piastri impressed by passing Perez around the outside at Turn 6 a lap later.

The pit stops added another layer of complexity to the race. Hamilton was the first to pit but received a five-second penalty for crossing line at the pit entry. Perez was also penalized for speeding in the pitlane. Alonso’s race took a downturn as punted Zhou Guanyu off at Turn 3 on lap 20, earning a ten-second penalty.

Verstappen and Norris pitted simultaneously on lap 30, with Verstappen narrowly avoiding a penalty for an unsafe release. This momentarily handed the lead to Piastri, who pitted a few laps later, rejoining in sixth. Verstappen then sprinted to a seven-second lead, but a slow second stop due to a stubborn left-rear tire put Norris right on his tail.

With fresh mediums, Norris closed the gap to Verstappen, and their lead battle exploded on lap 59. Norris lunged ahead at Turn 3 but ran wide and had to give the position back. Four laps later, they collided at Turn 3, resulting in punctures for both and Norris retiring from the race. This incident handed Russell the lead under a virtual safety car.

Russell drove impeccably to maintain a gap over Piastri and Sainz. Hamilton, who had been battling various penalties and challenges throughout the race, managed to hold onto fourth. Verstappen, rejoining in sixth after his collision with Norris, received a ten-second penalty for causing the collision but clawed back.

Russell inherited a 2.6-second victory over Piastri, who impressed with a strong performance. Sainz completed the podium, with Hamilton and Verstappen rounding out the top five. Nico Hulkenberg outperformed Perez in a battle for sixth, followed by Kevin Magnussen, Daniel Ricciardo, and Pierre Gasly completing the top ten.

This dramatic race at the Red Bull Ring showcased the unpredictability and excitement of Formula 1, leaving fans eagerly anticipating the next round. As the championship battle intensifies, every point and every position counts, promising more high-octane action in the races to come.

Championship Standings

Verstappen extended his championship lead at the top while Leclerc scored 0 points allowing Norris to close the gap to Max. 

Final race of the Tripe-Header

The next race in the 2024 Formula 1 season is the British Grand Prix, set to take place at the iconic Silverstone Circuit. The action-packed weekend will run from Friday, July 5th to Sunday, July 7th. The race promises to be a thrilling homecoming for the British drivers. A crucial battleground in the ongoing championship fight. Fans can look forward to practice sessions on Friday, qualifying on Saturday, and the main race on Sunday. All the drivers will push their limits on one of the fastest tracks in the calendar.

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Formula 1

A Three way Battle in Budapest: The 2024 F1 Hungarian Grand Prix Preview.

Formula One returns to the historic Hungaroring, a tight twisty and unpredictable race track. Read DRC’s race preview here.

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As Red-Bull and Mclaren pull away from the field, Mercedes joins the party. With three race winning cars on track, all three will look to bag good points, while Ferrari will be hopeful for a better result. Welcome to DRC’s F1 Hungarian Grand Prix Preview.

Read the British Grand Prix Review here.


Know the Hungaroring

The tight and twisty Hungaroring track is located in Mogyorod, 11 miles west of the Hungarian capital, Budapest. Described as an enlarged go-kart circuit, it is one of the most technically challenging circuits on the calendar.

The Hungaroring Circuit.
The Hungaroring circuit. Photo credits: F1

The 14 corner track is also called Monaco without the walls, owing to it’s high downforce requirements. Even though overtaking is very difficult here, the track has undergone only one major revision, which was in 2003. The main straight was extended another 200 meters to make it 900m long, and the first corner was tightened to promote overtaking.

The track contains two back-to-back DRS zones, followed by a technical middle sector full of chicanes and esses. The final sector is a short one, only featuring two hairpins that feed back into the main straight. A good middle sector is crucial here.

Historically, Hungary has been a circuit full of firsts. It was the first and only circuit to host a race beyond the Iron Curtian. It is also famous for giving drivers their first wins. Jenson Button, Fernando Alonso, Heikki Kovalainen and most recently, Esteban Ocon have taken their first wins here. Max Verstappen took his first pole back in 2019 at the Hungaroring too.

The 2024 F1 Hungarian Grand Prix will consist of 70 laps around this 4.381 kilometer circuit, with a two stop strategy as the norm.


Red Bull look to fight back blow for blow

Over the last few races, Red Bull has fallen off the pace and is slowly falling into the clutches of McLaren, and even Ferrari. Right now, Red Bull lead Ferrari by 71 points, closely followed by McLaren. With both McLaren cars consistently finishing in the top 5 in the last races bar Norris’s retirement in Austria, and Checo only scoring 8 points in the last five races, it has become difficult for Max and Red Bull to outscore the Papaya clad team.

McLaren’s last upgrade has significantly improved their performance, while Red Bull is still struggling to find and mend the issues with the RB20. Verstappen recently tested the RB18 at Imola, in an attempt to figure out the problem with the new car. As Red Bull work hard to rectify their problems, McLaren seems to be getting better and better. And now with Mercedes back in the fray, a new challenger is rising to take their throne.

Max Verstappen testing the RB18 at Imola.
Max Tests the RB18 in Imola. Image cradits: Autosport

Another factor is the two on one that Max has to face. With Checo qualifying poorly, Max has to take on the McLaren, and sometimes the Mercedes pair alone. Two cars in the mix would greatly help Red Bull, and Checo will be motivated to improve his Qualifying and Race records.


Mercedes on the up as Hamilton eyes another record

The Hungaroring has always been kind to Mercedes. They have the most wins here in the Turbo-Hybrid era. Russell and Hamilton snatched pole here in 2022 and 2023 respectively. Hamilton has also won eight races here, and his first victory with Mercedes came here in 2013.

Mercedes usually nail the set-up here. With the team riding high after back-to-back victories in Austria and Silverstone, they would love to go for a treble. Lewis Hamilton will also eye a record equaling nine victories. After his win in Silverstone, he now holds the record for most wins at a single circuit with 9.

George Russell also has a fantastic track record here, finishing in the points every year since 2021, where he came eight for a struggling Williams. A podium and a top 5 finish followed in 2022 and 2023.

Mercedes will want to secure a large bag of points here, to reduce the 152 points defecit they have to the leaders Red Bull and to catch up with McLaren and Ferrari.


A Ferrari Renaissance on the Horizon?

Ferrari seems to have dropped off after their excellent performances in Melbourne and Monaco. This year, Ferrari seem to be a heavily down-force reliant car, with podiums for Charles and Carlos in Sakhir, Jeddhah, Melbourne and Suzuka, all tracks which require downforce. Of course their victories on the streets of Melbourne and Monte-Carlo confirms this.

Charles Leclerc Wins in Monaco.
Ferrari have dominated the Downforce heavy circuits. Image Credit: Anonymous

Their struggles at the more balanced tracks of Canada and Barcelona, along with power heavy tracks like Austria and Silverstone have cost them dearly. It is also evident that the Ferrari is one of the more draggy cars on the straights and struggle with straight line speed.

As the Hungaroring is a heavy-downforce track, it seems like Ferrari have a shot at victory here. This might be one of the few chances for them to get points during the European Leg of the season, along with Zandvoort and Baku. Consequently, Ferrari have bought new floor upgrades to make most of this valuable chance. A huge points haul in the Hungarian Grand Prix will solidify their chances against McLaren, Red Bull and even Mercedes who look threatening.


Dark Clouds loom over the race

An alarming video was shared by Mikey Brown, a mechanic at Aston Martin, shows the Pitlane flooding in what he described as “a HUGE storm” . McLaren, having barely repaired their motorhome in time for the British GP after the fire in Catalunya, have suffered another issue. The repaired motorhome has lost it’s roof multiple times over this week, thanks to the speedy winds.

Even though Meteorologists predict a dry weekend, a small rain shower, combined with the high humidity in Hungary this time of year can put the Hungarian Grand Prix weekend in doubt.


Championship Standings

This is how the championship looks as we head into the race weekend:

The 2024 Formula One world championship standings as of 18/07/2024.
Credits: F1

Race Weekend Schedule

All events during the weekend are available to watch on F1TV and Fancode. The times given below are in IST(GMT +5:30).

DRC's Hungarian Grand Prix Race weekend schedule.

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Formula 1

Toyota rumoured to partner with Haas in an exhilarating return to F1

Toyota rumoured to partner with Haas to back a sensational return to F1.

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As the F1 silly season continues, a rather surprising bit of rumour is that the world’s largest automaker, Toyota, is set to return to the F1 grid as early as 2025 with the Haas F1 team.

Credits: Haas F1 team

The partnership is said to start out with a sponsorship deal, possibly with a renaming on the cards. A deal akin to that of Alfa Romeo and Sauber. With the possibility of a future technical partnership on the chassis/engine development. Toyota will likely join Dallara in assisting Haas for the chassis. Other talks suggest that Haas will use Toyota’s facilities for development and manufacturing. While this means Toyota won’t be directly involved in the construction of the F1 car, it means Haas gets a huge boost in infrastructure, experience, etc; and Toyota gets a new source of income.

Toyota’s history in F1

The Japanese manufacturer has seen immense success in WEC, taking 5 consecutive 24 hours of Le Mans victories from 2018 to 2022 and WRC, clinching the manufacturers’ championship in 2018, 2021, and 2022, and the championship for drivers and co-drivers every year since 2019. It wasn’t so for its time in F1, or at least according to Toyota’s standards and ambition.

Credits: Toyota-europe.com

Toyota made their debut F1 in 2002. The team scored 17 podiums, and 3 pole positions but never achieved a victory. Only securing 2nd place as their best finish till they dropped out of the sport in 2009, midway through the development of the 2010 car.

What does this mean for Haas, Toyota, and F1?

Toyota’s failure was blamed on a lot of factors, this deal gave the Japanese manufacturer a second chance to right their wrongs. Haas has been on a consistent upward trajectory throughout the 2024 season. With Nico Hulkenberg scoring back-to-back P6 finishes at the Austrian and British GP, and Kevin Magnussen backing that up with commendable performances. The deal could help Haas gain the brute force of employees, resources & financial aid. Something that they have been lacking to make a meaningful impact in the sport.

F1 would most certainly benefit from having a Japanese Manufacturer in the sport. The Japanese GP attendance and the growing popularity of F1 have been steadily increasing in the country. Toyota’s return could also provide F1 with a boost to their competitiveness and financial gains.

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Formula 1

GIFT City’s Formula 1 Racetrack Plans Hit a Roadblock

GIFT City’s ambitious plan to build a Formula 1 racetrack has stalled due to structural issues and high costs, sources reveal. Initially flagged off with a feasibility study, the project now faces uncertainties.

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Gujarat’s GIFT City’s ambitious plan to build a racetrack for holding Formula 1 (F1) races has come to a grinding halt just four months after initiating a feasibility study and selecting consultants, according to sources familiar with the matter.

Earlier this year, on March 11, the Gujarat Sports Authority announced that top international F1 racetrack designers were invited to present the feasibility of constructing an F1 racetrack at GIFT City. The project saw intense competition among global designers, with the consortium of renowned German designer Hermann Tilke and India’s Arcop architects emerging as the frontrunner for the feasibility study.

GIFT City (Photo: Amit Dave/Reuters)

However, GIFT City’s plan has been halted, insiders revealed. “Designers had given feedback that given the layout of GIFT City, it may be difficult to build a racetrack that conforms to F1 standards due to structural issues,” said one source.

The financial implications also pose a significant hurdle. Estimates place the cost of building such a racetrack between Rs 5,000 and 10,000 crore.

R.S. Ninama, Director General of the Gujarat Sports Authority, and Hermann Tilke have not responded to inquiries from ET. Another source indicated that the project might be integrated into a larger plan for developing infrastructure for the Olympics. “So, you may get a racetrack, but not one that can host F1 races,” the source added.

GIFT City, located in Gandhinagar, has been developed as a financial hub. The city is aimed at attracting international businesses with various tax incentives. The government is focusing on enhancing the city’s livability by developing entertainment and leisure infrastructure. Notable projects include an underwater aquarium, water sports facilities, and a retail zone featuring a 158-meter-high Ferris wheel.

This story has been derived from a story reported by Economic Times.

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