Max Verstappen’s experience at the F1 Austrian Grand Prix was a whirlwind of frustration and missed opportunities. Despite appearing to be on track for a comfortable victory at the Red Bull Ring, a series of strategic missteps and execution errors left the three-time world champion ruing what could have been. This article delves into the details of Verstappen’s challenging race, Red Bull’s miscalculations, and the aftermath of the dramatic events on the track.

A Promising Start Turns Sour

Initial Strong Performance

Max Verstappen started the Austrian Grand Prix with confidence, his Red Bull Racing RB20 performing well in the early stages. He quickly established a strong lead, showcasing the dominance that has become synonymous with his driving style. However, as the race progressed, the first signs of trouble began to emerge.

Traffic Issues and Strategic Missteps

As Verstappen approached the end of his first stint, he encountered significant traffic on the track. This situation should have prompted an early pit stop to avoid losing valuable time. Unfortunately, Red Bull’s strategy team failed to act swiftly, resulting in Verstappen giving up crucial lap time.


“The first stint was quite good, then at the end of that I caught quite a bit of traffic – which we should have just boxed [to avoid], because I gave up free lap time,” Verstappen explained in his post-race debrief.

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Pit Stop Disasters

The First Pit Stop Fiasco

Pit stops are critical in Formula 1, often determining the outcome of a race. For Verstappen, the first pit stop was far from ideal. A slow stop cost him precious seconds, setting the stage for the challenges that would follow. Despite the initial setback, Verstappen managed to maintain his position and continued to push forward.

The Second Pit Stop – A Catastrophic Error

The second pit stop proved to be even more disastrous. An even slower stop left Verstappen vulnerable to attacks from McLaren’s Lando Norris. The additional time lost during this pit stop added up to a significant disadvantage, which played a pivotal role in the subsequent on-track drama.

“We basically did a lot of things wrong today. Firstly, it started with the strategy, then the pit stops were a disaster. The first one was already bad, the second one was even more of a disaster,” Verstappen lamented.

The Clash with Lando Norris

Building Tension on Track

As the race neared its final stages, the tension between Verstappen and Norris began to escalate. Norris, sensing an opportunity due to Red Bull’s pit stop errors, launched several attacks on Verstappen. The battle for position intensified, culminating in a dramatic clash.

The Collision at Turn 3

On Lap 64, the two drivers came to blows at Turn 3. The collision resulted in punctures for both Verstappen and Norris, forcing them to make unscheduled pit stops for repairs. While Norris was unable to continue and had to retire from the race, Verstappen managed to return to the track, albeit in a compromised position.

The Aftermath and Verstappen’s Fifth-Place Finish

Despite the collision and the need for repairs, Verstappen fought valiantly to salvage what he could from the race. He ultimately finished in fifth place, a disappointing result considering his strong start. Meanwhile, Mercedes’ George Russell capitalized on the chaos to claim an unlikely victory.

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Verstappen’s Post-Race Reflections

A Candid Assessment

Verstappen did not hold back in his post-race assessment, openly criticizing Red Bull’s strategy and execution. He expressed his frustration with the team’s decisions and the impact they had on his race.

“We did everything wrong that we could have done wrong,” Verstappen stated bluntly.

Highlighting the Pit Stop Errors

Verstappen was particularly vocal about the pit stop errors, emphasizing how they compounded the issues he faced on track. The slow stops not only cost him time but also created the circumstances that led to the collision with Norris.

“I’m complaining about the tyres, we didn’t pit. I was stuck in traffic, bad execution with the pit stops. So everything just went wrong,” he said.

Concerns About Car Performance

In addition to the strategic and execution issues, Verstappen also raised concerns about the car’s performance. He noted that the balance of the car changed significantly after the first stint, making it difficult to drive.

“Today was just very bad. I honestly have no explanation why. Suddenly the car just transformed from an OK balance in the first stint to just undriveable behavior afterwards, which normally indicates that something was also wrong,” Verstappen explained.

The Road Ahead for Red Bull Racing

Learning from Mistakes

The Austrian Grand Prix served as a stark reminder for Red Bull Racing of the fine margins in Formula 1. Strategic decisions and pit stop executions must be flawless to secure victories. The team will undoubtedly conduct a thorough review to understand and address the mistakes made during the race.

Verstappen’s Focus on Improvement

For Max Verstappen, the focus will be on bouncing back from this disappointing result. As a three-time world champion, he understands the importance of resilience and continuous improvement. Verstappen will be looking to work closely with his team to ensure that similar mistakes are not repeated in future races.

Red Bull’s Championship Aspirations

Despite the setbacks in Austria, Red Bull Racing remains a formidable force in the championship race. With Verstappen’s talent and the team’s technical prowess, they are well-positioned to challenge for the title. The lessons learned from the Austrian Grand Prix will be crucial in refining their strategies and executions for the remainder of the season.


Max Verstappen’s experience at the F1 Austrian Grand Prix was a rollercoaster of emotions. From a promising start to a series of strategic and execution errors, the race highlighted the fine margins that can determine the outcome in Formula 1. Verstappen’s candid reflections underscore the need for Red Bull Racing to learn from their mistakes and improve their performance. As the season progresses, both Verstappen and his team will be focused on bouncing back stronger and continuing their pursuit of championship glory.

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