Glory at the Red Bull Ring belonged to Marco Sorensen who converted his pole position into an impressive win for the first race in Austria. He was joined on the podium by Nigel Melker and Kevin Magnussen.
It was an all Danish front row in Austria with McLaren Junior, Magnussen, sharing the honour with his compatriot not long after his drive in the Formula 1 car at the Young Driver Test in Silverstone. Melker qualified an impressive third whilst the ever consistent Arthur Pic and Will Stevens, he too fresh from his Caterham F1 commitments, completed the top five.
It was a day to forget for Fortec Motorsports’ Oliver Webb who could not qualify due to a cracked gearbox. Understandably the Brit, who has endured an unlucky season so far, admitted he was “disappointed”. He must hope his mechanics can restore his car or risk losing more, potentially valuable, points.
His team mate, Stoffel Vandoorne, was the pre-race championship leader but could not finish thus creating yet more drama for the British outfit. The Belgian’s engine overheated hampering any chances of maintaining his lead. His main rival, Magnussen, finished third to reclaim the top spot by twelve points.
Pietro Fantin, Mikhail Aleshin and Nikolay Martsenko were added to the list of retirements in a chaotic first lap; the lead switched between the top three.
Ricciardo Agostini, part of yet more driver changes at Zeta Corse, swerved on track following an attempted overtaking manoeuvre on Matias Laine, which in turn deployed the safety car on lap 10. The Italian had completed enough distance to remain classified. The safety car did not return to the pits for long; contact between Norman Nato and the new face of Sauber F1 in 2014, Sergey Sirotkin.
The Russian’s weekend thus far has produced mixed results; he was fastest during practice on Friday. He remained close to Antonio Felix da Costa, who was gifted with advice from Toro Rosso, Jean-Eric Vergne prior to the race. Felix da Costa finished seventh.
An unflappable, Marco Sorensen, remained calm amongst the chaos of the race to take his maiden chequered flag of the season. Zeta Corse’s William Buller was the highest place rookie in sixth after a last-minute overtake on Felix da Costa. Jazeman Jaafar charged to the finish to claim the final point after starting at the very back of the grid.
Speaking of his win, Sorensen reflected on his poor start to the season and looked ahead to the second half.
“I hope this victory can be the turning point for our season. We really didn’t have any luck at the start of the year. We need to finish the season in this vein, and work hard and do our best. I’m delighted with this win, which is my first since Spa last year.”
The first race in Austria proved that anything can happen and a dose of bad luck really can change the championship standings; Kevin Magnussen admitted post-race that “the championship is very tight.” It could all change again after race two.