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GP Week : Issue 223
the first phase of qualifying to race into the points deser ves mention. Attrition contributed to his performance, but he still beat two Red Bulls and two Saubers to get there. The ten points Perez and Hulkenberg gained in Austria could prove to be worth many millions of dollars come seasons end, so it's little wonder the team left Spielberg in a good mood. There are still serious questions to answer at Lotus. Austria was another missed opportunity for strong points with Romain Grosjean retiring. Since Pastor Maldonado finished seventh, there's no reason to suggest that the sister car couldn't have been eighth, which would have pushed Force India down the list a little and protected its position in the constructors championship. Maldonado's race was scrappy. His move on Max Verstappen late in the race was clumsy. That he got the position owed more to a mistake from Verstappen than Maldonado's own performance but for the team it was only a job half done. It's been the story of Lotus' season; plenty of promise and a fine car only for problems to beleaguer the team. What it needs more than anything else is weekends like Canada where it got both cars home, and in the points. It has the car to do it. McLaren does not. It barely has the car to finish a race with yet another double retirement. It was Fernando Alonso's fourth in a row, the worst run of his career. That was not McLaren's fault, and who knows how far the Spaniard would have got had he remained in the race, but Jenson Button's mystery retirement hardly filled the teams boots with confidence. Despite the hyperbole, there has been no visible improvement from McLaren in recent races despite an influx of development parts. While it's positive that work is ongoing on the chassis side it's not there that really needs the attention just now. Red Bull was left red faced in Austria after an embarrassing state of affairs saw the senior team beaten by it's little brother once again. Max Verstappen should have been seventh but for a mistake which gifted the place to Maldonado. He'd been under pressure, but at the level expected of any Red Bull driver it was an error that won't be viewed kindly by Helmut Marko. Still, he managed eighth, Daniel Ricciardo in the highest finishing Red Bull was only tenth. Early race contact hurt Daniil Kvyat, though that strikes as a useful excuse and easier to digest than the fact the car was uncompetitive. Ricciardo climbed to tenth after starting towards the back and taking a five second penalty. Ricciardo's was a positive performance, realistically the most he could have expected from the race. Tp be brutally honest it was probably more than was expected as had Grosjean and Raikkonen stayed in the race it's fair to suggest they'd have both finished in front of the Australian. Instead he walked away with points after a weekend the team will want to forget which if nothing else puts a feather in his own hat. The drivers championship battle has now closed to just ten points with Rosberg having won three of the last four races. The German has been slowly building momentum in recent weeks but with the British Grand Prix next, home soil for Hamilton, the championship is entering an important phase. 22 GPWEEK.com // 22 GPWEEK.com // F1 >>> AUSTRIA PARTNERS: