A rainy and Windy Austria
After an impressive race from Windy last time out in France, the MouseOne Pro League headed to Austria. Qualifying proved a challenge for the drivers as a lot of rain fell upon the circuit. Drivers were forced to use the blue-wall wet tyres for the first half of qualifying, and set-ups had to be considered for both qualifying and the race, which was forecast to hold changeable conditions throughout the entirety of the race.
Drivers began to set times on the wet tyres as Windy took provisional pole, however that didn’t last as lap times tumbled due to the standing water moving away, meaning drivers could begin to set their times on intermediate tyres. An enthralling end to the session saw Haze take pole position from Windy by only one thousandth of a second with a 1:11.911, with Spicey in P2 and Johan Enberg in P3, a race after his qualifying ban.
A dry start to the race saw split strategies across the grid, with some drivers opting for the harder soft tyre, whilst others went for the supersofts. A hectic lap one saw a good start from Windy, jumping Haze in to turn one, but that was just the beginning of a bad start for Haze as contact from Johan Enberg saw the Renault driver spin out and off the track on the exit of the corner. This wasn’t it though, as Thyge and Jensen make contact in to turn one, causing the latter to spin on the exit of turn one, causing havoc for the rest of the grid. This saw R4nce and Brawli get caught in the crash, yet none of them retired.
Windy managed to run away from the rest of the field, creating a gap of 2 seconds before the first lap had ended. Haze found himself in P7 and was eager to cut through the field and regain time and positions after what had happened at the start.
Dragonarium dived in to the pits at the end of lap one, along with Woty, Brawli and a limping R4nce, after all of them were caught up in lap one collisions, forcing them to repair their cars. Haze breezed past Spicey who was struggling on the opening laps, as GetOwned capitalised on this, moving himself up ahead of the Ferrari driver.
Lap 2 saw a brilliant battle between Thyge and Haze, with Thyge holding Haze back with brilliant moves. Yeltnebamus fell back in to the battle, as Thyge breezed past the Toro Rosso on before turn 3, however Haze could not do the same. Haze had to wait until lap 5 to overtake Yeltnebamus to move up in to P5.
A huge train of eight drivers from P2 to P9 saw many of the drivers trading positions for the majority of the early stage of the race. It took until lap 10 for Haze to make his way through this train and regaining P2, with a 7 second gap to Windy in P1.
As the clouds drew in, rain began to pour on lap 13, with the first drivers pitting to intermediate tyres on the end of lap 14. The following lap saw another six drivers head in to the pits, with the remaining few drivers pitting on lap 16. The next few laps were all about getting used to the unpredictable conditions for the drivers.
Lap 17 saw the first retirement of the race, with Sever making a mistake in the challenging conditions. The drivers began to get used to the wet conditions, with Windy extending his lead to 10 seconds to championship leader Haze. A mistake from Dragonarium almost saw him lock up in to Duxy, however he avoided the Mercedes car just in time, however he tapped the wall in doing so, causing him a small amount of front wing damage.
Eiersmijter was the first driver to pit on to wet tyres on lap 22, sending him to the back of the grid. TNMO was the second retirement on lap 24 after making a mistake in the now full-wet conditions. The following lap saw R4nce retire after a difficult race for him as he was unable to recover from the lap 1 incident.
GetOwned and Jensen were the next drivers to pit on to the full-wet tyres on lap 26 with just over 10 laps to go. Brogan spun on the following lap, causing him to retire. This planted thoughts in to the drivers’ heads as they were now unsure whether it was safe on the intermediate tyres anymore, as the wets seemed to be a better compound at this late stage of the grand prix.
Eiersmijter was the next to get caught out in the now monsoon conditions on lap 30. The final retirement came on the penultimate lap with a colossal crash from Yeltnebamus.
Windy dominated the entire race and took home his second victory in a row, with a commanding lead of 18 seconds to Haze in P2, who also had an amazing race considering the lap one crash he was involved in. Johan Enberg rounded off the top three with his first podium of the season. Spicey’s fourth place finish wasn’t enough to keep second from Windy in the driver’s championship.
Next time out it’s the British Grand Prix, home to many of the field. With a rampant Windy closing in on Haze on the championship, and many drivers hoping to climb up the table, who knows who will come out on top next week in the MouseOne Pro League.