D he Austrian GP comes after my three-pack Montreal- Le Mans-Baku. Fortunately with a weekend break in between. The breather is good. And Austria is one of the Grand Prix that one likes to drive to. It's the 30th time for me. For the second time, colleague Andreas Haupt is going to the race that was once called the Holiday Grand Prix.
This is how it goes with fresh vigor in the Audi A5 Sportback test car towards Styria. We leave Stuttgart in the morning with the best weather. We flow south via Munich, Landshut, Deggendorf, Passau and Linz. With the usual annoyances on the street. Vacationers produce a traffic jam on the Deggendorf-Passau autobahn, just because the two lanes are a little narrower due to a construction site. Of course, everyone drives on the left who doesn't dare to walk past the trucks. The truckies brake every now and then and with them the people who adjust the left lane without need. They don't make any faster progress there either, because they don't overtake anyway.
Spending the night in the Schlummerburg
In Austria, we notice that our car independently detects all stationary radar controls, and that too brakes without us having entered it. At some point we'll let the car drive alone. In fact, it stays on track for 20 seconds. Then the Audi warns us that we can no longer drive autonomously. Not yet. To be honest, I don't need that either. I'd rather go by train. That is also autonomous.
At 3 p.m. Andreas Haupt and I arrive in Spielberg. A downpour has just come down. We only see the black wall of clouds that is warping. Good for us. So colleague Haupt can still take pictures for themmake first photo show. We reward ourselves in the evening with a Wiener Schnitzel at the Bachwirt in Knittelfeld. Andreas Haupt dreams of it on the way there. Then it's off to our new pension. The outrageous prices in the vicinity of the route drove us there. On the recommendation of our colleagues from the FAZ, we quarter in the Schlummerburg. Only nine kilometers from the route. The name doesn't quite say it, but we don't want to complain. At least we live for a fair price.
What remains hidden from us until Friday evening is that Lewis Hamilton will collect a transmission fine. Hamilton did not show anything at Thursday's press conference either. This qualifies him for Hollywood. Only the FIA report at 6 p.m. on Friday brings the matter to light. Mercedes wanted to point out the small weakness to the competition as late as possible. So that their Friday program does not focus on Hamilton starting from 6th place. In the end he is only in 9th place. Valtteri Bottas and Sebastian Vettel are faster. Spielberg has never been Hamilton's favorite track.
No mud fight between Hamilton and Vettel
On Thursday, the sins of Baku will first be dealt with. The ten-day war between Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton ends disappointingly. There is no mud fight the first time they meet after the Baku collision. Vettel sees his mistake and Hamilton generously forgives him. Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon attack each other. Nobody wants to be to blame for the crash, which is estimated to cost Force India 15 points. Perez taunts: “Ocon caused the accident. He still has to learn how to race. ”The Frenchman strikes back, speaks of a 50/50 guilt:“ I've won more championships than Perez and I know how to race. ”Carlos Sainz annoys the Red Bull bosses with the Announcement that he will look for other options in 2018. “Has he forgotten that we still have a long-term contract with him?” Rumbles team advisor Helmut Marko and reminds Sainz of who pays the bills: “You don't bite the hand that feeds you. Sainz should concentrate more on driving than on politics. ”
The next day, Helmut Marko sits in the Porsche 917 as part of the legend show with which Hans Herrmann and Richard Attwood won the 1970 Le Mans 24 Hours . The winning car from 1971 is also on site, but not drivable. The magnesium frame would crumble when the 12-cylinder boxer engine was started. The picture around the Red Bull Ring is fun. The grandstands and tent sites are well filled again. If Red Bull had been as strong as at the end of the season, it would have brought another 10,000 more spectators. For once in the race, it's not Vettel against Hamilton, but Vettel against Bottas. Bottas wins. In the opinion of Vettel with an early start. The FIAdefends himself and explains the starting procedure. Bottas pulled up just before the traffic lights went out, but not far enough to punish him. Ferrari and Vettel don't want to admit it. They're messing around with the fact that the rules aren't right. Any athlete would be disqualified if he started like this.
Kvyat blackout costs Verstappen and Alonso
Red Bull consoles himself with third place for Daniel Ricciardo in the home game. The Australian masterfully fends off Hamilton's attacks. Max Verstappen has long been a spectator. The Dutchman can only go 400 meters. His Red Bull is parked exactly in front of a grandstand that is packed with fans in orange T-shirts with orange caps. Toro Rosso driver Daniil Kvyat has a blackout, brakes far too late and clears Verstappen and Alonso. Kvyat defends him: “From the outside it all looks so easy. But in the middle of a crowd with cold tires and cold brakes you can slow down. ”HaasF1 leads the field this time. The US team cannot explain Romain Grosjean's 6th place any more than Williams can explain the penultimate row. Despite the major aero upgrade, the front tires only come up to temperature during the race. It's going better in the race. Felipe Massa and Lance Stroll score three more points.
It will be another long night for us. First on the route, then on the way home. We are hardly in the car when a monumental thunderstorm breaks out in the mountains for two hours. With every flash, the Alps are brightly lit. Sometimes it only goes on at walking pace. From Linz it is dry. We can finally step on the gas again. Our Austrian Grand Prix ends at 4 a.m. The break is again only short until the next Grand Prix. On Wednesday we will continue to Silverstone. My colleague Bianca Leppert reports on this.