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05 July 2018, 01:39 | Susie Olson
The F1 season returns to Austria and the Red Bull Ring
Birthday boy Daniel Ricciardo has had to pull out of the Austria Grand Prix due to engine issues, but his Red Bull teammate Max Verstappen took advantage of a disastrous double no-finish for Mercedes to win the event. "Red Bull Ring, Red Bull auto, and Max driving an unbelievable race and it was absolutely nailed in the first lap".
Max Verstappen has been a new man since his incident-filled campaign hit rock bottom at the Monaco Grand Prix.
After a torrid start to 2018, which drew stinging media criticism, Verstappen is now fifth in the world championship but still over 50 points behind leader Sebastian Vettel in the standings.
F1 2018's second-youngest driver claimed his fourth career win on a day the whole field suffered with unexpected levels of tyre blistering after temperatures rocketed on Sunday in the Styrian mountains.
"Shortly after that we began to see an exhaust crack that was causing gearbox damage, forcing his retirement".
"A special word to our pit-crew, again executing a faultless stacked pit stop on our route to victory, as they had done previously this year in China".
"I'm obviously happy with the podium - I think it was a great race - but equally I think there was more up for grabs, so a bit mixed..."
Despite still being hampered by its Renault power unit, which has failed to close the gap to Mercedes and Ferrari, Red Bull has still been able to stay competitive this season. "We are all delighted for him".
It was an important victory for Verstappen, who had been heavily criticised in the opening six races of the year for a string of messy crashes that cost him points and a potential victory in China.
"I think what's concerning for us, Mercedes and Ferrari recently look like they've made a good step as well".
Red Bull looked to be third-best in terms of race pace based on the long-run data gathered on Friday, but the warmer weather brought them into the mix come race day and their good reactions with regards strategy were crucial. But still, the blister could open up and you're really in trouble.
Despite Ricciardo's unhappiness, Verstappen did not think the situation between them would be too hard. "I think after Silverstone then we can start to go to a few tracks, I think especially Hungary, that's a track where we should aim for".
Asked by Autosport about dealing with the closing laps, Horner added: "Well, the old lederhosen started to overheat, but Max seemed pretty much in control, bar reliability". That's where Max was really good today, backed off through those two right-handers and made up his time in other parts of the circuit. "It was a very disciplined and mature drive".
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