The Austrian Grand Prix had everything today and spat out a surprise winner in Max Verstappen.Here he is above with the Red Bull team and heavyweights (from left to right in the front) Dietrich Matschitz (Red Bull owner), Christian Horner, Helmut Marko and your winner Maaaaaaax Verstaaaaaaaaaaapppppppennnn.
Some 7 hours prior to taking the above shot, I took the one below from our media centre 3 floors up. The drivers are required to walk the green carpet on either Saturday or Sunday but many drivers do it both days.Daniel was glowing thanks to a TV crew’s reflector and a short time later he was presented with a birthday cake to remind him it was his 29th today. Lewis rode his bike, parked it, signed autographs on the front row and then departed for the paddock.In the paddock we were on the lookout for celebrities but they were few and far between. I snapped ex F1 star Mark Webber, always in need of a decent shave. Renault drivers Nico and Carlos posed with this fella who can certainly ski. Thomas Dressen won the world’s toughest downhill ski race, the Hahnenkamm in Kitzbuhel, Austria this year. We had another local legend in attendance, Gregor Schlierenzauer. He’s a ski jumper and had a completely different build to Thomas above.Bernie Ecclestone was in attendance with his charming wife Fabiana, some 48 years his junior (nice work Bernie). Seb Vettel’s dad Norbert was enjoying the fine weather as he wandered the paddock.Ninenty minutes before the race start we were on the grid with the grid girls, yes they were back and warmly welcomed, for the drivers’ parade where the 4 Red Bull drivers wore lederhosen. I was one of several hundred people out on the grid 40 minutes prior to the start where I saw these things and more. An 8 minute walk put me on the inside of the first corner and as the cars rounded the corner it was Hamilton slightly in front of Vettel who ran wide with pole sitter Valtteri Bottas relegated to third. I stayed in that spot for a few laps shooting the cars with the crowd out of focus behind them.Then I hopped on the Mercedes shuttle bus for turn 3 where I saw a few overtakes and some close racing. For the last 20 laps I shot around the final corner where Brendon Hartley went off at one point. During the race there was plenty of drama with a virtual safety catching out Hamilton’s strategist and sending him from first to fourth after his pit stop but it didn’t matter in the end as his car had engine problems and failed to finish like Bottas and Ricciardo. Max Verstappen ran out the winner wtih Raikkonen 2nd and Vettel 3rd.
Parc ferme was on the track, something out of the ordinary and while the Ferrari drivers knew where to park, Max went into the pits thinking parc ferme was there which left none of the 20 or so photographers with me on the opposite side of the track with a shot of our winner getting out of his car so we settled for 2nd and 3rd. Luckily Max managed to find his way up to the podium. At that point the crowd invaded the track in front of the podium. And that endethed my 2018 Austrian Grand Prix. More from Silverstone in Britain next week.