‘Austrian results hints at brilliant future for F1’

Date published: July 4 2019

Max-Verstappen-and-Charles-Leclerc-PA

With two 21-year-old drivers on the Austrian GP podium in Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc, F1 has a “brilliant future” according to sporting boss Ross Brawn.

Formula 1’s stars of the future shone at the Red Bull Ring this past weekend with Leclerc claiming pole position in the Ferrari before Verstappen won the race for Red Bull.

Joined by Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas, 29, the average age on Sunday’s podium was 24 years and 156 days.

It was the second youngest podium ever witnessed in Formula 1.

“I’m particularly pleased that the top two finishers make up the youngest pairing ever to come first and second in a grand prix,” Brawn said in his post-race column.

“Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc both deserved to win and if they had finished in reverse order it would have been equally laudable.

“Max drove an amazing race, particularly when one considers that his start, to use a word that’s popular in this sport was ‘sub-optimal’.

“He produced some superbly aggressive passing moves, drove some very fast laps on tyres that had done more than 30 laps, and his race pace management was pretty much perfect.

“The young Dutch driver really put on a show, to the delight of the spectators at the Red Bull Ring, many sporting red caps as a tribute to Niki Lauda, but mostly a sea of Dutch orange.

“Charles also put in a superb performance, dominating the opening sessions and delivering great pole laps. However, for the second time this year he saw his chances of winning evaporate almost within sight of the flag.

“Despite the disappointment, it’s clear that the Monegasque driver is getting better and better, showing great maturity in how he races and how he dealt with a far from simple post-race situation.

“These two kids are definitely promising a brilliant future for Formula 1 in the coming decade.”

The race, though, wasn’t only an encouraging sign for Formula 1’s future but also Ferrari.

The Scuderia had pace throughout the weekend with Brawn believing that their first win of this season is just around the corner.

He added: “It turned out to be another disappointing weekend for Ferrari, after the team had shown it was a more than a match for Mercedes.

“But there were some encouraging signs for Mattia Binotto and his crew, and hats off to them for thinking of the greater good of the sport by saying that the team would not appeal the stewards’ decision.

“The car is certainly more competitive now than in Barcelona, Leclerc is getting better all the time and (Sebastian) Vettel produced a determined drive after a reliability problem in qualifying meant he had little chance of winning the race.

“There’s still some work to do, but the team is on the right road and I’m sure the Scuderia will be rewarded soon.”

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