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We thought that Max Verstappen, with his three world titles, current championship lead, numerous victories, and pole positions, had finally matured and left behind his "bully on the wheel" behavior. Recently, in some races, the Dutchman has shown a calmer management, avoiding excesses and even accepting positions off the podium without taking unnecessary risks. Even in the sprint race on Saturday, in the duel with Lando Norris, he did not display particularly risky behavior.

However, it seems that the old habit has not entirely disappeared. In the final laps of the Austrian Grand Prix, Verstappen reverted to some of his most questionable behaviors. He changed his line while braking three times in a row as Norris attempted to overtake, and even nudged the McLaren when Norris had completely pulled alongside on the left. This maneuver didn't go well for him as his Red Bull's left rear tire locked up, and when Norris tried to overtake again, Verstappen pushed him onto the grass, forcing him to brake abruptly.

But why did this happen? Verstappen was comfortably leading until the second pit stop when a rare error by the Red Bull team during the tire change cost him precious time. As he re-entered the track, Norris, who had been trailing by 6-7 seconds, found himself only a few hundred meters behind and immediately went on the attack. Unlike the sprint race, Verstappen reacted poorly, perhaps feeling that his car couldn't withstand the McLaren. Instead of settling for second place, which wouldn't have affected his championship lead much, he chose to fight unfairly.

The race officials penalized Verstappen with only a 10-second penalty, a punishment too lenient for what had happened. Norris, also penalized for track limits, retired due to a problem with his right tire and now faces a potential penalty at Silverstone, which would be entirely unjust.

The friendship between Verstappen and Norris seems compromised. Lando stated he would continue to respect Verstappen only if he admitted to being wrong. Verstappen, for his part, claimed he was attacked by Norris. We'll see if there's a resolution in the coming hours.

Meanwhile, we welcome Norris to Verstappen's world, a world where drivers like Kimi Raikkonen, Carlos Sainz, Sebastian Vettel, Lewis Hamilton, and George Russell have had similar experiences in recent years.

So how did the race end? George Russell won, bringing Mercedes back to victory for the first time since the 2022 Brazilian Grand Prix. An unexpected win, but one that brought some peace to Toto Wolff. Russell had an excellent race, being in the right place at the right time.

Oscar Piastri finished second, keeping the McLaren-Mercedes on the podium with a remarkable recovery from the fourth row. A spectacular overtaking move on Sergio Perez will be remembered. This is Piastri's third second-place finish in his career after Lusail 2023 and Monaco 2024. Carlos Sainz, with a gritty performance, finished third, surpassing Hamilton in an exciting duel. This is Sainz's fifth podium of the season, consolidating his fourth place in the overall standings. Hamilton, penalized for not respecting the pit entry line, finished fourth.

Charles Leclerc had a difficult start, ending up in the back of the field after a collision with Piastri that damaged his Ferrari's front wing. He climbed back up the standings with determination but finished eleventh, out of the points.

Notable was Nico Hulkenberg's sixth place with the Haas-Ferrari, with Kevin Magnussen in eighth. An extraordinary result for the American team, which collected 12 points and surpassed Alpine in the constructors' championship. Pierre Gasly had a disappointing tenth place for the Renault team, while Daniel Ricciardo, with the Racing Bulls-Honda, finished ninth. It was a dark day for Aston Martin, Williams, and Sauber.

© Cavalieri Garage & Co.


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