How long will the winning streak last, however?
The Austrian Grand Prix once again proved how quickly things can change during an F1 season. Last week we had Ferrari, Red Bull, and Mercedes drivers on the podium, and this week it was the same result. Apart from Sir Lewis Hamilton, the drivers were completely different.
Following the Saturday sprint, a victory for Red Bull seemed to be in the bag. Verstappen outgunned Leclerc into the first corner and then pulled away, leaving the rest of the grid fighting for grid positions. He led every lap, which was not a first for him at the Red Bull Ring.
On Sunday, Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz hit back hard. The Ferrari duo was too powerful, and Red Bull did not have an answer. Uncharacteristically, Verstappen made it easy for Leclerc to pass him three times. After the race, SuperMax admitted that he knew that third was the best he could hope for during the race.
The battle between Verstappen and Leclerc seems more amicable than the battle between Verstappen and Hamilton last year. Verstappen has matured, and Hamilton seems to have been humbled by the poor performance of his car. We enjoyed seeing the seven-time champ on the podium for the second week in a row, even if he finished 40 seconds after Charles and Max.
The Austrian Grand Prix was the official halfway point for the 2022 season, and though Verstappen is far in the lead, we're still not close to making any championship predictions.
George Russell's shunt with Sergio Perez early in the race possibly cost Checo his second place in the driver's championship. But we don't deal in what-ifs as it's a pointless exercise.
Charles scored much-needed points in the Sprint Race and a victory on Sunday. He's currently on 180 points, trailed by Sergio Perez on 151. Max Verstappen became the first racer to breach 200 points, ending the weekend on 208 points.
There is still some concern, however. Carlos Sainz also lost out on valuable points after his car's engine blew up spectacularly near the end. It's evident that Ferrari still has reliability issues, and that it has already burned through the three major powertrain components the team is allowed to use during a season. Any significant changes to either car will result in a grid penalty going forward.
We suspect Red Bull has the same problem. After reliability issues early in the season, it also burnt through many components. Verstappen's car was not its usual brisk self on Sunday, so he might face a grid penalty soon.
As we alluded to in the preview, McLaren is at risk of losing its fourth place in the constructor's championship.
Lando Norris ended up in seventh place, while Daniel Ricciardo finished in ninth. It's only the second time this season that both McLarens scored points, with Norris doing most of the heavy lifting. Norris was also spotted in a brand-new Artura, making him one of the first people on the planet to own one.
Thanks to a strong performance from Ocon (fifth) and Fernando Alonso (10th), Alpine and McLaren are tied on 81 points. And given Danny Ric's poor performance this season, the battle between these two manufacturers is starting to look one-sided.
This could have massive repercussions for McLaren. The lower you finish, the less money you get. McLaren is already in trouble, and we hate to see one of the most successful F1 teams of all time in such a state.
Haas had a terrible 2021 F1 season. It was the joke of the grid, but not anymore. It's currently standing on 34 points, placing it ahead of AlphaTauri, Aston Martin, and Williams. The next season of Drive to Survive is going to feature Guenther Steiner swearing even more than usual, but out of joy.
The highlight for us was Mick Schumacher finishing in sixth place. He struggled for months to score those first F1 points, and now he's scored points twice in a row. Mick currently has 12 points, which puts him in 15th place. He's just three points behind his F1 father figure and four-time world champion, Sebastian Vettel.
With Sergio Perez and Carlos Sainz out of the race, the door was left wide open for Mercedes to take third and fourth place.
Mercedes is having an odd season. It's competing more on the midfield side, but there have been moments of brilliance. At least its cars are reliable, which is why it keeps scoring points. The vehicles may not be as fast as the Bulls or the Ferraris, but when it comes to issues, it's closer to the top-tier teams than the midfield.
Hamilton finished 41 seconds behind Leclerc, while Russell was 59 seconds behind. Considering Max and Charles were lapping at 1.07, Russell was around five laps away from being lapped.