Dre’s Race Review – F1’s 2024 Austrian Grand Prix

George Russell steals the win as Lando Norris and Max Verstappen collide in Austria. Dre on that and why ableist slurs from Yuki Tsunoda aren’t okay.

Never miss a post

Sign up for our monthly newsletter so you don’t miss any posts or updates!

You can change your mind at any time by clicking the unsubscribe link in the footer of any email you receive from us. By subscribing, you agree that we may process your information in accordance with our privacy policy.

Dre Harrison Reviews



Read time: 10 mins

“The Results May Surprise You!”

Well… my original plan for this DRR post got thrown out with about 10 laps to go. And of course, I have to write this as England’s football team plays its first Knockout game. Woot. 

Well, we got another intense fight between Max Verstappen and Lando Norris after once again, Max seemed in control for most of the running. Only this time, they made contact and took themselves out of the running, clearing the path for George Russell to take his second Grand Prix win. Let’s untangle this web of nonsense.

Once again, for two-thirds of the running here, Max Verstappen had this one under control. The Sprint on Saturday gave us a hint of the pecking order. After a few weeks of McLaren having multiple chances of taking a win, they looked more on the back foot in Austria due to Red Bull’s incredible DRS system playing well into Austria’s straights. 

Max Verstappen had a comfortable seven-second lead heading into the final round of pitstops. But a slow final stop combined with Lando’s entry combined with Max’s exit meant most of his gap had evaporated. And what was left was gone after Max was put out on a used pair of Mediums for his final stint, when McLaren had saved Lando an extra fresh pair. 

Not enough people have spoken about this for obvious reasons I’ll get to, but Red Bull (in my opinion) hosed Max here. They already flirted with an Unsafe Release penalty on his first round of stops and got away with it, but a slow left rear tyre change led to the team being forced to wait for Norris to pass through, costing them five seconds. And given how powerful the undercut and fresh rubber were on this track, I don’t think used tyres were the play, especially when Max had an extra pair of hard tyres still to use. 

But it led to Lando being all over Max’s car as the laps wound down. With 10 to go, Lando had already tried a couple of risky lunges, both times running either himself or Max off the track, forcing him to relinquish the spot. The third time around? Well…

Lando tries the outside line to maximise his exit for a Turn 4 attempt, Max turns to the left in the braking zone to box Lando in… and they hit each other, with the contact breaking Lando’s rim and forcing him into retirement, while Max limps back to the pits and is able to change tyres, coming back out to eventually finish 5th, even after he copped a 10-second penalty for the contact. 

So what do I think? A lot of my thoughts circle around one big sentence: “It’s not that deep”. 

Lando called Max’s actions… “reckless”, and I struggle to agree with that one. I think Max’s defence was firm and largely clean up until the contact. Yes, I think he’s accountable for the big clash and the 10-second penalty was the correct call, but I honestly think Max just misjudged the gap on the outside. I remember when Sebastian Vettel passed Lewis Hamilton in the same fashion when the former was still at Ferrari, you can pin someone to the outside in those scenarios in a clean fashion. 

And while the incident itself was Max’s fault, Lando didn’t exactly cover himself in glory with his racecraft either. Some of his attempts to pass were leaning more towards “divebomb” on the aggression scale and contact could have easily been made there too. And on a personal level, hearing him complain over the radio beforehand isn’t going to help win over the people unconvinced about the Brits’ mentality if he’s so easily wound up over his minor mistakes (See the Sprint yesterday for more on that). Lando took a low percentage dive at Turn 3 when he was on a track limits warning, and was seconds away from that penalty mattering until the impact. He’d likely already cost himself the win even before the contact was made. 

You know what I really think? With all the comments I read about “Mad Max” coming back, and that 2021 was being referenced, I don’t think a lot of my last few paragraphs mattered. I think a lot of people were looking for a “Gotcha”, because Verstappen’s been so good for the last two years. 

The narrative that no one’s had to challenge Max recently means the moment he’s under pressure, he cracks or runs someone off the road. And that’s simply not true. 

What happened in 2022, right from the off? Ferrari had the best car for the first half of that season. Charles out-drove Max in Bahrain before the latter’s car died. Max got one back in Saudi Arabia and won by less than a second. It was Ferrari’s poor reliability and management along with the porpoising directive mid-season that changed the tide of that season, but it was proof to me that 2021 was a lot more about Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton not being able to trust each other (And both parties were partly responsible for that), a lot more than Max being unable to race wheel-to-wheel. 

Hell, the Sprint yesterday had Max win despite pressure from both McLarens, where Lando was rueing another minor error that he reckoned cost him the win because he left himself wide open for a counter-attack at Turn 4. It was Max’s racecraft that weathered the storm, but we don’t give him the credit for that because y’know, “Dominant” car. And even that’s now up for debate with McLaren having chances to win multiple Grand Prix this season already. 

And even if you’re more cynically minded about the nature of Max’s racing, then fine. But I don’t blame Max so much for that… I blame the stewards who have largely left a lot of the rules of engagement down to interpretation. There’s a reason I started my hashtag #Nokwapi. Why? Because No One Knows What A Penalty Is. If you insist on going back to 2021, a huge part of why it ended as ugly as it did was down to Michael Masi favouring the entertainment factor and the team bosses telling him to “let ’em’ race”. Incidents like Brazil where Max ran Lewis off the road but faced no punishment for doing so, it left the door open for more aggressive driving to be put on the table, because there’s always a chance the stewards won’t intervene. Is it any shock we got the illegal overtakes and “brake test” in Saudi Arabia, or Lewis refusing to give up an advantage in Abu Dhabi when he got the chicane on Lap 1? A more rigid, understandable rulebook on where the line is eliminates a lot of this dialogue. Instead, we get this. 

And let’s not forget, this race is the fifth anniversary of what I’ve called “The Verstappen Amendment” where Max ran Leclerc four wheels off to defend the win, and the stewards waited hours to NOT give a penalty for it. And we wonder how we got here.

Yes, I know it’s a bit silly it’s taken me more than 500 words to explain why a crash “isn’t that deep”, but I don’t think the narratives and comments revolving around it match up to how the sport has been since the turn of the decade. Did Max go a bit too far? Yeah. But I need to see more before I start dusting off the 2021 Season Review Blu-Ray. 

And you know what’s amazing? Despite Max having an 81-point lead, it feels like have a title fight, it’s great seeing Max challenged and having to earn it on track. This is BRILLIANT action and we’re sitting here waiting to have our incorrect narratives proven right. It’s “Vettel can’t race wheel-to-wheel” all over again. Sit down and enjoy things. Have some dip. 

Pour one out for George Russell. It feels like Sepang 2015 in MotoGP when Dani Pedrosa won and no one cared because of the Valentino Rossi/Marc Marquez clash. He did a good job managing to stay ahead of Oscar Piastri and Carlos Sainz close by and he continues to outdrive Hamilton across the season. Sometimes it’s better to be lucky rather than good, and it always pays to be in the right place at the right time. 

During the Qualifying session, Yuki Tsunoda described his competitors as “fucking r*****s” in frustration. A few hours later, he was called up to the stewards for a potential breach of the FIA’s International Sporting Code. He was found guilty and fined 40,000 euros (Half of which was suspended) for using the ableist slur. 

When in said meeting, Tsunoda was said to be “horrified” when he learnt the true meaning of the word, and said that his second language was a hurdle, as he had a different meaning of what that word meant. He’s profusely apologised since, including a sincere one publicly on Instagram. 

Now, I was very vocal about this on social media on Saturday. If you’re reading this, you’ve probably already seen and known my thoughts. This being called an ableist slur is correct, I’m glad my fellow peers in this industry have described it as such and on any level, it’s completely unacceptable. No one is saying you can’t be angry or frustrated driving a race car at 200mph, but you can express your anger without offending a large subsection of humanity.  

Now I could be harsh on Yuki’s explanation of his second language being the reason he did it, but instead, it speaks of a large societal problem with us as English-first or English-only speakers, because the fact of the matter is it’s still far too socially acceptable to use that term. I was called the term multiple times today without hesitation when I called out the problems with it. It was a term strongly defended when Max Verstappen was called out for doing the same at the 2021 Portuguese Grand Prix. 

It’s not as bad as it used to be but in our lifetime it was an accepted thing in multiple forms of media, from films to music, to YouTube videos and general social conversation. Yuki as well as many, MANY other people who have taken the time to learn English have picked it up via said forms of media, so it’s hardly a shock that as a second language you’re not going to pick up the nuances and context of words like us English speakers have. We have to do better for everyone’s sake because we’re setting an example, more than we often acknowledge.

This word has to be phased out of modern-day society. It hurts people. Using that word is exclusionary. It’s built with prejudice. It’s used to label anyone with an intellectual disability as “dumb” or “stupid” when it’s not as simple as that. There’s no positive connotation or nuance that comes with that word, whatsoever. I was bullied via the term as a child when I was in school. When I was in the gambling trade, I had bad faith customers use that slur to describe me because I grew up with a speech and language disorder. I had members of staff on my side of the counter who had it in their vocabulary and I had to threaten to file grievances before it was finally taken seriously. 

People who think this is just a keyboard term and that we’re all “snowflakes” who are easily offended are completely wrong and either ignorant of the real world, incapable of empathy, or both. And the worst part is, so many people are so fragile and insecure about someone being hurt by words that’ll tell you how you should feel instead because nothing says “get over it” like a stranger on the internet telling you your feelings are invalid. 

I’m glad Yuki apologised. By all accounts, it seems genuinely sincere. I don’t think he had the intention to hurt anybody, he was just venting his frustration like any elite athlete does. But he needs to do better, unlearn that word from his vocabulary and handle himself better in the heat of the moment. 

Remember, he lost his head in Bahrain earlier this season and nearly ploughed into teammate Daniel Ricciardo after the chequered flag. This is a man who has a reputation for having a short temper even by racing driver standards and it’d be wise that he doesn’t taint his otherwise great season further with more poor behaviour. 

We all have to do better. And for those who think I’m being over-the-top or overly sensitive, a reminder of what I said with Max when he used a similar slur in 2021 – The Oxford Dictionary reckons there are roughly 170,000 words in English use today. Most sensible people will tell you to not use about 20 of them. Is that so unreasonable? 

So at what point would it be okay to say that Lewis Hamilton has given up and NOT get obliterated on the Internet? Asking for a friend.

Another missed opportunity for Ferrari, who look like they’re treading water in this fight, with McLaren and seemingly Mercedes continuing to be in front. It didn’t help that Charles did the right thing and backed out of a three-wide at Turn 1 only to get clipped, but more opportunities are being left on the table.

Delighted for Haas to pick up a brilliant P6 and P8 finish at their best track. 12 priceless points and 8 in particular for Nico Hulkenberg, who I still think has been the most underrated driver of 2024 so far. Has been rock solid all day long and when the opportunity was there, he cashed in big. Brilliant job holding off Sergio Perez at the end too. Could be priceless for Haas in the fight with Alpine for P7 in the Constructors.

Sergio Perez is cheeks. I will say this in every Lightning Round until further notice. 

Good bounceback for Daniel Ricciardo to get back in the points after the sharks were circling about him losing his job mid-season again. Needs a few more of those.

About the Author:

Dre Harrison

Somehow can now call himself a Production Coordinator at the Motorsport Network, coming off the back of being part of the awkward Johto Era at WTF1. All off a University Project that went massively out of hand. Weird huh?

Motorsport101 uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Click here to read more.


What are you looking for?