Ferrari hesitates, McLaren breathes

Tire degradation may decide the fight for third place in constructors. Austria hosts the World Cup with Red Bull at the helm.


Schnitzel territory and the most famous energy drink on the planet, Spielberg plays host to the Grand Circus of Formula 1 for two weeks. The tension of the past French GP has not yet been fully digested, with Verstappen and Red hitting the table Bull, and neither did the Ferrari debacle due to questionable tire management. In this section, apart from the problem itself, the lack of answers is concerned. At Maranello it is not entirely clear what went wrong for Sainz and Leclerc's SF21 to destroy the Pirelli without extracting performance in return. And it is also not clear that it will not happen more times throughout 2021.

The Red Bull Ring will be a kinder track on the tires, it only has six short corners (the circuit has eleven, but roughly there are half a dozen) and none of them are high-speed. But the weather will continue to play a fundamental role, because a storm threatens throughout the weekend that will alternate with intense heat. Extreme situations, in any case.

Because, apart from the fight for the World Cup, the tension also increases in the fight for third place in the constructors' classification. It is an honorary title, given the superiority of Mercedes and Red Bull, which McLaren and Ferrari, the two great manufacturers of always in F1, compete. Sainz knows well the advantages of each car: the Woking car is strong in the middle and fast corners and has improved a lot on the straight thanks to the Mercedes engine; Maranello is the benchmark in slow turns. One lap, Ferrari wins; in the race, McLaren sweeps. At Le Castellet, the English unbalanced the table and have 16 rental points.

AS has consulted several voices from the orange garage, who celebrate the level of both and are surprised by the superiority of the SF21 on Saturdays, although they are not able to maintain that level on Sundays. Says Norris: "They're better overall in corners. Maybe one of the best cars in slow corners." The Englishman did not expect, far from it, to assault the top-5 that Sainz virtually occupied on Paul Ricard's grid. "With several tenths of difference on the lap ... it is impossible," he hinted, but a few hours later both he and Ricciardo led the competitive middle zone. "We were surprised to be so strong in the race compared to our direct rivals. We suffered on Saturday and we have a good car on Sunday compared to Ferrari because of tire degradation, it is a trend," says the boss, Seidl.

Hobby. At this weekend's Styrian GP there will be 15,000 fans every day. For the Austrian GP on July 4, however, the promoter intends to fill the circuit and receive 140,000 fans on Sunday. Among them, the aroused Dutch campers with their gallons of beer in tow. Most of them will come to get drunk and they don't care about the result, but they will go home much happier if Verstappen wins. And Helmut Marko, the host, too.

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