5 Takeaways from the 2022 Austrian Grand Prix

This year, for the Austrian Grand Prix, there was qualifying on Friday, a sprint race on Saturday, and the actual race on Sunday. I was out of town for all of it and did a good job avoiding spoilers until I could get home and watch the recordings.

I’ll be honest, it was a lot of Formula 1 to catch up on all at once and I did utilize the fast-forward button more than usual.

However, I still came up with five takeaways. Lucky you.

Results

1. Charles Leclerc – Ferrari
2. Max Verstappen – Red Bull
3. Lewis Hamilton – Mercedes

4. George Russell – Mercedes
5. Esteban Ocon – Alpine
6. Mick Schumacher – Haas
7. Lando Norris – McLaren
8. Kevin Magnussen – Haas
9. Daniel Ricciardo – McLaren
10. Fernando Alonso – Alpine

11. Valtteri Bottas – Alfa Romeo
12. Alex Albon – Williams
13. Lance Stroll – Aston Martin
14. Zhou Guanyu – Alfa Romeo
15. Pierre Gasly – AlphaTauri
16. Yuki Tsunoda – AlphaTauri
17. Sebastian Vettel – Aston Martin

18. Carlos Sainz – Ferrari (DNF)
19. Nicholas Latifi – Williams (DNF)
20. Sergio Perez – Red Bull (DNF)

Takeaways

1. I Still Don’t Like Sprint Races

Austria hosted the second of three sprint races this year, and despite wanting the concept to grow on me, it has not. I find the current qualifying process to be entertaining enough. Moving it to Friday, though, makes it less fun.

For me, qualifying is a Saturday tradition. Putting it on Friday is inconvenient as a viewer.

The sprint race still feels like we’re watching a spoiler for the actual race, rather than watching two separate races.

Maybe it’s because I’m swimming in a water bed of negativity right now, but the medals they give out to the top three finishers in the sprint race don’t seem to fit the aura of F1. They feel like a participation ribbon you receive in elementary school.

2. Ferrari on Fire

On Lap 57 of 71, Carlos Sainz retired from the race with an engine failure. He was sitting in third place and had the fastest lap of the race. He pulled off the road and the back of his car caught fire.

As a viewer, I’m thinking to yourself, “Okay, if some marshals could show up right now with fire extinguishers, that would be great. Right now. Where are they? NOW. HURRY UP, THE CAR IS ON FIRE AND IT’S ROLLING DOWN A HILL AS SAINZ TRIES TO GET OUT.”

The TV broadcast had to cut away from the scene for a few moments because – as I just yelled in all caps – Sainz was getting out of a burning car, that was rolling down a hill, and help had not yet arrived.

It was an unfortunate result for Ferrari, as both their cars looked extremely fast.

This was Charles Leclerc’s first victory when not starting on pole position.

3. MICK SCHUMACHER

A week after scoring his first points-finish in Formula 1, Mick Schumacher was back in the points again. This time, in sixth place. I’m happy for him and the team. Sixth!

4. Orange Flares

The orange flares in the crowd, that create a giant smoke across the track, are starting to jump the shark for me. I know they are done in support of Max Verstappen, but are they necessary? Bring a sign.

Flares are banned at some tracks, but not at others, it seems.

If I were a spectator sitting in the bleachers, I wouldn’t want a bunch of flares to be the reason why I can’t see anything. There are videos that have been posted on social media of fans who can’t see the track because of the giant orange clouds surrounding them.

That’s not cool. Imagine being a child in that atmosphere. It’s bad enough when a tall person sits in front of you.

5. The Cooldown Room is Cool

When the race ends, the podium finishers head to a cooldown room, where they can sit, drink water, gather their thoughts, talk with each other, and watch highlights of the race on a TV, before heading out for the podium presentation.

It may only last about two minutes, but it’s fun to eavesdrop on the drivers as they talk to each other about the race.

And to see their reactions to the race highlights on screen? Perfect. I’ve always wondered what it’s like to be a professional athlete, and then go home and watch replays from the game they just played. On some level, it must feel strange, though I’m sure they get used to it.

It’s probably easier for say, baseball players, to watch highlights because they witnessed the whole game.

Formula 1 drivers, on the other hand, view the race from the cockpit of their car, with a halo restricting their vision. They don’t really know what else is going on, or what “highlights” have transpired, unless it happened in front of them.

It must feel like they’re putting a puzzle together after the race, even though they experienced it first-hand.

The next race was the French Grand Prix and it took place on Sunday, July 24. I am catching up.

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