Starting off, we have to mention E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. Er, hang on. Sorry! Wrong list – this isn’t about Steven Spielberg’s best movies – but the 2015 Austrian GP. Easy mistake to make, I’m sure you understand. Let’s rescue this (Schindler’s) list from the Jaws of defeat and go on one Last Crusade. I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.
As far as Ferrari reunions went this weekend, Berger and Alesi was always going to be hard to beat, which is perhaps why Alonso and Raikkonen went ‘over the top’ in their efforts to upstage them.
Raikkonen’s wayward Ferrari collected Alonso as the pair came out of turn 2, and the McLaren ended up perched on the the red car and the barrier in equal measure. Gladly though, they were both okay, and in a true mark of sportsmanship (and general human decency) the very first thing Fernando did was jump out of his wrecked car and check to see if the Iceman was okay.
Sadly, the McLaren was probably better off in terms of speed while it was sideways on top of Raikkonen’s car, something indicated when Jenson Button in the sister McLaren retired moments later.
Second on our list of top Austrians in F1, but first to interview the drivers after the Austrian GP, Gerhard Berger chuckled his way through the podium interview with one of the most light-hearted and relaxed podium interviews we’ve seen, with Lewis Hamilton even commenting on his enthusiasm.
He dropped a naughty swear word within the first thirty seconds of taking to the rostrum when talking about Nico Rosberg’s tyres, called Massa an old man, and chortled uncontrollably the whole time. What’s not to like?
Pastor Maldonado’s renaissance continued in Austria with another impressive race, following his decent outing in Canada, which was his third-best points haul to date. He equaled that feat at the Red Bull ring with another 7th place.
In fact, this marks Maldonado’s most consistent spell in his entire career. Thus far, he had only managed to score points twice in a row on one occasion – at the tail end of 2012 when he finished 5th in Abu Dhabi and then 9th in the USA.
Maldonator breezed past Ricciardo on lap 51, and on the penultimate lap pulled a cracking move on max Verstappen, despite nearly colliding with the youngster when coming out of his slipstream:
The car control shown here is marvelous, and you have to think that the Pastor of last year might have chucked it in the wall.
Whatever has gotten into him, we applaud it! (image via WTF1)
The Valtteri Bottas Show
It’s hard not to admire the driving of #BOTTAS sometimes – he went on an overtaking rampage in Austria and checked out in the three syllables or more line at the till, passing Verstappen, Maldonado and Hulkenberg on his way to fifth place.
His move on the incredible Hul was perhaps the best of his afternoon, going round the outside at turn 3, though his move on Verstappen was equally as daring.
The new new new Flying Finn doesn’t need to prove his credentials any more, really, but he absolutely flew on his second set of tyres and livened up the middle of the race, where not much had happened since the start.
VETMAS does sound like some sort of Pagan festival where animal doctors receive gifts, but it’s actually what we’re calling that titanic battle for the podium between Felipe Massa and Sebastian Vettel with the bit between his teeth.
Seb dropped behind Felipe thanks to a sticky wheel gun on his right-rear wheel during his pit stop, but come the end of the race he was hard charging, pressuring and harrying Massa for an extra three points. In spite of the quad-champ breathing down his neck for the last five laps of the race, the ‘Old Man’ (See above) held his nerve and ensured that it was he who took his first podium of the year.
And of course, this prompted the cameras to turn to his son, Felipinho. How sweet!