Austrian GP analysis: Mercedes implodes as Austria classic turns season on its head

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Social story of the Austrian Grand Prix (1:26)

Relive a thrilling Austrian Grand Prix through the eyes of social media. (1:26)

SPIELBERG, Austria -- ESPN rounds up the main talking points from a dramatic Austrian Grand Prix, where Max Verstappen claimed the win and both Mercedes drivers retired due to mechanical issues.

Shock: This was not in the script at all! Since its return to the calendar Red Bull has always fared terribly at the Red Bull Ring. Mercedes implosion and some great driving from Max Verstappen saw that end in brilliant style. All in front of a frenzied band of travelling Dutch supporters, too...

Shocker: Mercedes had a rotten, rotten race. Having locked out the front row it seemed like the only conversation was which of the two drivers would win -- that all changed as the race unfolded. Valtteri Bottas' early retirement was a shock, but what followed next was hard to explain, as Mercedes failed to bring in Lewis Hamilton for fresh tyres when the Virtual Safety Car came out.

As it turned out, Hamilton's car would also fail to make it to the chequered flag, meaning the team will not only face questions about its strategy and its reliability, but also leaves Austria having been replaced at the top of the constructors' championship by Ferrari.

Lewis meltdown: Hamilton did not do himself any favours over the radio. Mercedes clearly made a big error on strategy but his subsequent radio messages did not sound good. The world champion was constantly questioning the call not to pit and seemed to spend more time doing that than he did challenging the cars in front. On a good day, Hamilton is sublime, but this was a reminder that he still struggles with his temperament on a day when the race does not go his way.

Redemption for Haas: Gene Haas told me on the grid ahead of the race he would be content with a quiet race to seventh and eighth. With all the drama out in front that became fourth and fifth -- the same result the team seemed to squander with its pit-stop blunder in Australia. The team has left a lot of points on the table but, with a car now clearly back to being the fourth quickest in the pack, it looks set to have a very strong middle portion of the season.

F1 2018 is awesome: After a couple of dull races, doom and gloom had descended over the F1 paddock. People were suggesting cars couldn't overtake, Mercedes was going to waltz away with the title, etc, etc. That was all forgotten in a heartbeat as Austria produced an absolutely thrilling spectacle which has turned the season completely on its head.

Overtake: Earlier on, I was going to give this to Valtteri Bottas for his great pass on Kimi Raikkonen at Turn 4 on the opening lap. But, given the importance later in the race, it has to instead go to Verstappen for his race on the outside of the Ferrari driver a few corners later -- that pass ultimately proved to be the one which gave him the win ahead of Raikkonen later in the afternoon.

Alonso saves McLaren's blushes: Fernando Alonso is something else. For all the criticism of his recent string of bizarre statements to the media, he's still operating at the top of his game in a race car. The Spaniard managed to drag his McLaren to eighth position in a race where it appeared to have no right being anywhere near the points. Surely, McLaren cannot afford to lose him next year... whether the two-time world champion wants to keep producing these performances every week is another question entirely.

Ferrari avoids team orders: I'm genuinely surprised Ferrari didn't ask Kimi Raikkonen to move over for Sebastian Vettel at the end of the race. I'm glad they didn't, as a fan of racing, but with a championship this close those three points might well be pivotal later in the season.

Driver of the day: It's got to be Verstappen, hasn't it? A flawless race from a man who has spent most of the season defending his driving style under a barrage of questions and criticism. He's right back in the title fight.