Piastri takes victory despite McLaren team order issue

Oscar Piastri achieved his first Formula 1 victory at the Hungarian Grand Prix, following a series of radio messages from McLaren to issue team orders on Lando Norris throughout the final stint.

Piastri had led the entirety of the race after taking the lead into Turn 1, opening up a healthy lead over teammate Norris in the opening stint and through the first pitstop.

“In every condition we had the race under control to get the 1-2. I don’t remember when McLaren’s last 1-2 was!” Piastri said.

“The longer you leave [the team orders call], the more you get a bit nervous. But it was well executed by the team, it was the right call, I put myself in the right position at the start.”

Despite McLaren’s intention to manage the race, giving Norris the undercuts but with the express purpose of covering off the cars behind, the situation became interesting when Piastri lost time on the exit of Turn 11 to bring Norris within 1.5 seconds.

Oscar managed to stabilise that lead ahead of the final pitstops and, despite being aware Norris would undercut him in the final round of pitstops, Piastri was told “not to worry” about his teammate with the expectation that McLaren would switch positions.

Norris hence made his pitstop on lap 45 and started to turn in quick laptimes on the medium tyre, with Piastri calling in on lap 47 and – as expected – being undercut by Norris.

Told to switch track positions whenever he had an opportunity, Norris told the team that he would only consider doing so whenever Piastri caught up. Lando had extended his lead to six seconds, initially showing few signs of willingness to comply.

As the orders to Norris eventually became increasingly firm, the Miami race winner eventually relented and slowed down on the start-finish straight at the start of lap 68, giving Piastri the lead and assuming second place.

Lewis Hamilton collected third position after surviving a Turn 1 assault from an increasingly frustrated Max Verstappen, who seemed to be in an angry mood throughout the race.

Verstappen had first been annoyed by the decision to let Norris through after the championship leader ran wide at Turn 1 and stayed ahead, and then sounded off about a strategy that allowed Hamilton to undercut him for third position.

Hamilton had defended hard at the end of his second stint on hards, stymying Verstappen’s progress, and then undercut the Red Bull driver once again – as did Charles Leclerc, who finished fourth.

Although Verstappen got past Leclerc and once again applied pressure on Hamilton, the Red Bull driver struggled to find a way past and eventually resorted to a late braking dive into Turn 1 – which caught Hamilton as he was turning into the corner and sent Verstappen slightly airborne.

Leclerc thus got past once again as Verstappen recovered, while Carlos Sainz attempted to put the irritated Red Bull driver under pressure towards the end of the race – but eventually ran out of pace to challenge for fifth.

Sergio Perez recovered from his Q1 crash to finish seventh with a long stint on the hards, but held just enough over George Russell to ward off the Mercedes driver.

Yuki Tsunoda and Lance Stroll completed the top ten, Stroll once again beating Aston Martin team-mate Fernando Alonso into the points.

So congratulations to Oscar Piastri winning his first race following that sprint success at Qatar. The team orders situation between McLaren and Lando Norris will be a major talking point and yet this is racing. Oscar deserved this victory and yet Lando wants to reduce the points gap to rival Max Verstappen. In the end, the drivers did the switch and the team scored some solid points.

Hungarian Grand Prix, race results:
1 Oscar Piastri McLaren 1:38:01.989
2 Lando Norris McLaren +2.141s
3 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes +14.880s
4 Charles Leclerc Ferrari +19.686s
5 Max Verstappen Red Bull +21.349s
6 Carlos Sainz Ferrari +23.073s
7 Sergio Perez Red Bull +39.792s
8 George Russell Mercedes +42.368s
9 Yuki Tsunoda RB +77.259s
10 Lance Stroll Aston Martin +77.976s
11 Fernando Alonso Aston Martin +82.460s
12 Daniel Ricciardo RB +1 lap
13 Nico Hulkenberg Haas +1 lap
14 Alexander Albon Williams +1 lap
15 Kevin Magnussen Haas +1 lap
16 Valtteri Bottas Sauber +1 lap
17 Logan Sargeant Williams +1 lap
18 Esteban Ocon Alpine +1 lap
19 Zhou Guanyu Sauber +1 lap
Pierre Gasly Alpine DNF

Norris leads a McLaren front row at Hungary

McLaren duo Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri will start the Hungarian Grand Prix on the front row with Lando setting a time just 0.022 seconds faster than Oscar.

Norris slotted in his eventual pole time, with one minute, 15.227 seconds, on his first run in Q3 as an effort to extend that advantage was halted by a late-session red flag caused by Yuki Tsunoda’s Turn 5 crash.

Max Verstappen had earlier set the quickest time at the start of Q3 with one minute, 15.555 seconds on his opening run, although stated that he wanted more front wing for a follow-up lap with new tyres after losing time in the middle sector.

That shortfall was put into perspective as Norris found over three tenths of a second, promoting to the top of the order to claim provisional pole.

Piastri then beat Verstappen’s first time on his next run, 0.022 seconds off of his teammate’s initial effort, and this also put him clear of Max’s next effort with a time of one minute, 15.273 seconds.

Yuki Tsunoda then produced a red flag with just over two minutes remaining, getting on the astroturf on the exit of Turn 5 and smashing his RB into the outside wall.

The session was restarted, although Verstappen did not take to the track as Red Bull did not believe it could improve its time on used tyres. This proved to be the case for those who did run, ensuring a front-row lockout for McLaren.

Carlos Sainz starts alongside Verstappen on the second row, while Lewis Hamilton and Charles Leclerc collected fifth and sixth.

The Aston Martins of Fernando Alonso and Lance Stroll were seventh and eighth, while Daniel Ricciardo moved up to ninth after improving on his post-red-flag lap, leaving Tsunoda in a provisional tenth position.

Hamilton narrowly made the cut into Q3, as none of the late laps from the Haas duo and Valtteri Bottas proved enough to dislodge the Mercedes driver from the top ten.

Nico Hulkenberg had managed to get a lap in, despite being tight for time after struggling to find space in the pitlane. Regardless, the Haas driver was just 0.01 seconds shy of Hamilton to collect a Q2 elimination with P11.

Bottas was P12, stating that the lap was “all I’ve got” as he jumped the Williams duo in the order.

Neither of the Williams drivers was particularly impressed over their laps; Alex Albon felt he should have gone out later to benefit from track evolution, while Logan Sargeant was displeased by traffic on his final lap. Kevin Magnussen completed the top 15.

Although there had been rainfall between the earlier Formula 2 race and the start of Formula 1 qualifying, the circuit had dried enough for soft tyres at the beginning of Q1.

Light rain had continued to fall throughout, but not at a rate that could stop the cars from drying the track with continued laps in the opening ten minutes of the session.

With the majority of drivers either set to switch to a second set of softs, or already out on a new set, Sergio Perez suffered a spin on the entry to Turn 8 resulted in a crash. The Red Bull lost grip on a presumed damp kerb, hurling Checo into the barrier to bring his session to an end and produce a red flag.

The circuit was slightly damp on the restart, but the conditions began to improve throughout the remaining six-and-a-half minutes. George Russell went out too soon, however, and although he managed to move up to P10 with his next lap on new softs, he was vulnerable at the end of the session.

As such, the improving conditions were underlined by Daniel Ricciardo’s moving up from the bottom five into first, which hindered those who had gone early.

Russell had pitted in the meantime having not had enough fuel on board to keep running, and soon moved towards the bottom five. He was thus unable to take advantage of the improving conditions and came to rest in P17 – behind Perez, who was also eliminated.

Zhou Guanyu improved on his final lap but could not break out of the bottom five to start P18, while the Alpines did not go out at all despite the final series of runs, dropping into the bottom two positions by the end of the session: Esteban Ocon starts ahead of Pierre Gasly.

Hungarian Grand Prix, qualifying positions:
1 Lando Norris McLaren 1:15.227
2 Oscar Piastri McLaren 1:15.249
3 Max Verstappen Red Bull 1:15.273
4 Carlos Sainz Ferrari 1:15.696
5 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:15.854
6 Chalres Leclerc Ferrari 1:15.905
7 Fernando Alonso Aston Martin 1:16.043
8 Lance Stroll Aston Martin 1:16.244
9 Daniel Ricciardo RB 1:16.447
10 Yuki Tsunoda RB 1:16.477
11 Nico Hulkenberg Haas 1:16.317
12 Valtteri Bottas Sauber 1:16.384
13 Alex Albon Williams 1:16.429
14 Logan Sarganet Williams 1:16.543
15 Kevin Magnussen Haas 1:16.548
16 Sergio Perez Red Bull 1:17.886
17 George Russell Mercedes 1:17.968
18 Zhou Guanyu Sauber 1:18.037
19 Esteban Ocon Alpine 1:18.049
20 Pierre Gasly Alpine 1:18.166

Hamilton wins the British Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton achieved his ninth British Grand Prix victory in an exciting Silverstone race, which was affected by the typical UK weather. The Mercedes driver finished ahead of his old title rival and current championship leader Max Verstappen to win.

Hamilton took advantage on Mercedes’ initiative to switch to slicks after a period of rain across the middle phase of the race, which moved him above long-time leader Lando Norris as McLaren was slower to respond to the wet conditions.

Equipped with soft tyres, Hamilton sought to preserve his newly acquired lead over Norris, which was less than three seconds when the Miami Grand Prix winner emerged from the pits on the same red-walled Pirellis.

Although Norris started to set a series of quick laps to get closer to the Mercedes’ gearbox, it appeared that his pace was unsustainable; that ultimately proved true when Verstappen – who had been uncharacteristically slow throughout the race – came to the fore on the hard tyre.

Verstappen soon began to catch Norris, which helped Hamilton with his lead as the two cars behind him began to fight for second. Norris didn’t have the tyres to fight Verstappen and conceded second in Stowe at the end of lap 48, leaving Hamilton four laps to keep the lead from a rapidly catching Red Bull.

The two had to overcome traffic, but neither lost much time; Hamilton began the final lap with over two seconds in hand, which proved to be enough to secure his first Formula 1 victory since the 2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

“I cannot stop crying!,” Hamilton admitted after the race. “Since 2021, I just, everyday getting up trying to fight, to train, to put my mind to the task and work as hard as I can with this amazing team.

“This is my last race here at the British Grand Prix with this team, so I wanted to win this so much for them because I love them.”

Mercedes had ultimately nailed the crossover period after losing the lead to the McLarens during the initial drizzle. None of the front runners responded to the first bit of rain, as the slicks were able to hang on despite the greasy conditions, but the McLaren drivers had the better car in this stage.

Norris and Oscar Piastri hit the front over Hamilton and polesitter George Russell, who had been passed by Hamilton on lap 18 as the Mercedes driver struggled to contend with the first bit of rain.

When the second cell of rain arrived, Norris was followed into the pits by the Mercedes cars, while Piastri stayed out; this pulled Oscar out of the lead battle as he struggled on the extra lap on slicks.

Russell was then the next to lose position, as Verstappen undercut the Mercedes driver by stopping a lap sooner to collect third position. Although the polesitter was started to catch the Red Bull driver, he was asked to retire the car with a suspected water system issue.

Hamilton reported that the sun had come out at the start of lap 37 and, by the end of the next one, the circuit had dried significantly. Mercedes took the initiative and pulled Hamilton then, Lewis was followed by Max. The two diverged; Hamilton took the soft tyre and Verstappen taking the hard in anticipation of higher degradation.

McLaren made the decision to keep Norris out, but the race leader was adamant that he had to come in on the following lap – a move that ultimately cost the lead, and second position, as the soft tyres started to wear considerably versus Verstappen’s harder compound.

He had to console himself with third position, and his wearing tyres meant that he fell six seconds behind Verstappen at the flag. Piastri rescued fourth after dropping out of the victory battle through his delayed stop for intermediates.

Carlos Sainz, who had earlier battled Verstappen when the Red Bull driver struggled in the opening two-thirds of the race, pitted late to set the fastest lap on a set of used softs, as he had enough in hand over Nico Hulkenberg to call in.

Hulkenberg collected his second consecutive sixth-place finish to boost the Haas team’s aspirations of catching RB in the constructors’ championship, while Lance Stroll and Fernando Alonso finished seventh and eighth for Aston Martin.

Alex Albon overcame a difficult first-lap as Hulkenberg and Alonso checked up into Turn 4, but overtook Yuki Tsunoda to clinch ninth – Tsunoda completing the top ten with a 10-second advantage over Logan Sargeant.

So congratulations to Lewis Hamilton in winning his home race for a record ninth time and to achieve victory for Mercedes is just heartwarming after many years of struggle. Been a real challenge for the team and driver to recover the lost form and to see the seven-time champion back at the top is just beautiful. What a great drive in a wet-dry race too. Well done Lewis!

British Grand Prix, race results:
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:22:27.059
2 Max Verstappen Red Bull +1.465s
3 Lando Norris McLaren +7.547s
4 Oscar Piastri McLaren +12.429s
5 Carlos Sainz Ferrari +47.318s
6 Nico Hulkenberg Haas +55.722s
7 Lance Stroll Aston Martin +56.569s
8 Fernando Alonso Aston Martin +63.577s
9 Alexander Albon Williams +68.387s
10 Yuki Tsunoda RB +79.303s
11 Logan Sargeant Williams +88.960s
12 Kevin Magnussen Haas +90.153s
13 Daniel Ricciardo RB +1 lap
14 Charles Leclerc Ferrari +1 lap
15 Valtteri Bottas Sauber +1 lap
16 Esteban Ocon Alpine +2 laps
17 Sergio Perez Red Bull +2 laps
18 Zhou Guanyu Sauber +2 laps
George Russell Mercedes DNF
Pierre Gasly Alpine DNF

Russell takes British Grand Prix pole ahead of Hamilton and Norris

Following on from his victory at the Red Bull Ring a week ago, George Russell took pole position at Silverstone ahead of his Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton and McLaren’s Lando Norris.

It was a thrilling fight for pole which became a duel between the two Mercedes drivers. Neither Hamilton nor Russell had improved on their first sectors, but started to turn up the speed as their laps progressed.

Hamilton logged a lap time of one minute, 25.990 seconds to take the top spot and yet seconds later Russell picked up and set an one minute, 25.819 seconds to achieve his third Formula 1 pole.

Russell had earlier led an all-British top three after the opening runs of Q3 by just 0.006 seconds over Norris, as Hamilton and Oscar Piastri were both within touching distance in the battle for pole.

Max Verstappen was an outside bet, having been hampered by floor damage sustained during his Q1 off through the gravel at Copse.

Norris preserved his place in that top three, but was unable to improve on his final run and lost one position to Hamilton to lead the second row alongside Verstappen.

Although Verstappen had managed to dislodge Piastri from the top four, he was unable to challenge the top three and was ultimately four tenths adrift of Russell’s pole time.

Piastri beat an impressive Nico Hulkenberg, as the Haas driver claimed sixth thanks to the boost handed to him by new car upgrades. Carlos Sainz was seventh fastest from Lance Stroll, as Alex Albon beat Fernando Alonso to ninth on the grid.

High track evolution characterised Q2 as the Silverstone track continued to dry out, producing an ever-changing order throughout the 15-minute qualifying phase as the drivers fought until the final second to break into Q3.

Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc looked vulnerable in the final stages of the session, and Leclerc’s move up to seventh in the order sent Verstappen into the drop zone.

But the world champion recovered and pulled himself up to sixth to knock Logan Sargeant out of the top ten, and Lance Stroll’s final effort pushed Leclerc back into the bottom five which knocked the Monaco winner an early exit.

Yuki Tsunoda had spent the majority of the session in the bottom five, and was not able to lift himself from the drop zone on his final lap – although was just 0.7 seconds shy of Lando’s leading time from Q2.

Zhou Guanyu and Daniel Ricciardo were also knocked out in the middle phase of qualifying, both separated by 0.6 seconds from Tsunoda ahead.

Another big elimination was presented by Sergio Perez, who dropped out in Q1 after he produced a red flag halfway through changeable conditions in the opening stage of qualifying.

Perez suffered a snap on the entry into Copse on his out-lap on soft tyres after ditching his intermediates, and understeered into the run-off. With limited grip as the asphalt was still wet, the Red Bull driver slipped into the gravel and his car dug in. This left him stranded and a Q1 exit.

Unsurprisingly, the improvement on soft tyres after the restart ensured that Perez fall down the order, except from the slowest time by Pierre Gasly. The Alpine driver has a host of penalties for taking new power unit components, and thus will start from the pitlane on race day.

Valtteri Bottas had set the first lap on softs after the restart, but had been unable to improve on his time as a brief spurt of rain affected the final five minutes of the session. This also cost Kevin Magnussen, who took a trip across the gravel at Copse and retreated to the pits; the Haas driver could do no better than P17 as he was in the pits at the close of the session.

Esteban Ocon also dropped out, claiming over the radio that his sole push lap in Q1’s final phase came amid the interloping rain.

So a fantastic British 1-2-3 in qualifying at Silverstone. The trackside fans are loving this result and it will be fascinating to see which driver can achieve the win at home.

British Grand Prix, qualifying results:
1 George Russell Mercedes 1:25.819
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:25.990
3 Lando Norris McLaren 1:26.030
4 Max Verstappen Red Bull 1:26.203
5 Oscar Piastri McLaren 1:26.237
6 Nico Hulkenberg Haas 1:26.338
7 Carlos Sainz Ferrari 1:26.509
8 Lance Stroll Aston Martin 1:26.585
9 Alexander Albon Williams 1:26.640
10 Fernando Alonso Aston Martin 1:26.917
11 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:27.097
12 Logan Sargeant Williams 1:27.175
13 Yuki Tsunoda RB 1:27.269
14 Zhou Guanyu Sauber 1:27.867
15 Daniel Ricciardo RB 1:27.949
16 Valtteri Bottas Sauber 1:32.431
17 Kevin Magnussen Haas 1:32.905
18 Esteban Ocon Alpine 1:34.557
19 Sergio Perez Red Bull 1:38.348
20 Pierre Gasly Alpine 1:39.804

Russell takes victory following Norris and Verstappen collision

George Russell won a dramatic Austrian Grand Prix following long-time leader Max Verstappen collided with Lando Norris.

The Red Bull and McLaren pair made contact at the Red Bull Ring’s Turn 3 with seven laps of the 71-lap race after Norris had cut into Verstappen’s lead after the triple champion had suffered a long second pit stop.

Several times Norris attacked at Turn 3 all while collecting track limits strikes during his chase to get into Verstappen’s DRS range.

On lap 59, Norris dived to the inside and locked up as Verstappen moved across, which meant the McLaren slid off into the runoff and let the Red Bull by on the run to Turn 4.

This was not enough to stop Norris from getting a five-second time addition for track limits and yet, it did not matter as the pair came to blows.

On lap 54, Norris moved to Verstappen’s outside as Turn 3 approached and when the Red Bull moved left they touched and both went off with punctures.

Each had to pit, with Norris retiring with damage to this rear floor, which meant Russell, who had been third for all of the race behind the top two, inherited the lead as he continued on.

A short virtual safety car was required to clear debris from the track with Russell lapping a few seconds ahead of Oscar Piastri and Carlos Sainz, but in the closing laps the Mercedes driver maintained his lead to secure a second Formula 1 career Grand Prix win.

At the start, Verstappen made a good getaway from pole and easily ran clear of Norris in the first stint, where McLaren tried to reassure its charge his extra set of medium tyres would make the difference later on, as Red Bull looked set to use to hards after the mediums the whole field had started on.

But that appeared a faint hope as Verstappen simply clear across the first stint – his lead approaching six seconds before he pitted on lap 23 to take the hards.

Norris came in at the same time, with the Red Bull being released into his path and forcing the McLaren to brake as he approached his pitbox in an incident race control reviewed by decided was not worth referring to the race stewards.

In the second stint, Verstappen again pulled clear, although not as quickly in stint one, with his lead reaching a maximum of eight seconds just past half distance.

Here Norris started to take time back, with Verstappen struggling to keep the hards alive and even keep the lapped Haas cars behind him at this stage.

Red Bull kept Verstappen out for longer than he wanted before he was pulled in to take used mediums as his lead came down to 6.5 seconds – his pre-race extra set of hards – on lap 51 at the same time as Norris came in behind.

A slow left-rear tyre change and then a conservative release this time meant Verstappen’s previous lead was suddenly reduced to under two seconds, with Norris pushing hard to get into DRS and this kicked off all the drama that was to follow.

Behind Russell, Piastri finished 1.9 seconds adrift of a surprise victor, with Sainz third – having been overtaken by the McLaren when Piastri pulled a bold around-the-outside move at Turn 6 just after the Verstappen/Norris clash.

Lewis Hamilton finished fourth – his race featuring a five-second time penalty for crossing the pit entry line at his first stop, the seven-time world champion picking floor damage by hitting the Turn 8 kerbs too hard and Piastri passing him by late in the second stint.

Verstappen made it home in fifth, with a ten-second time addition for causing the collision with Norris in the stewards’ view.

Nico Hulkenberg beat Sergio Perez to sixth, with Kevin Magnussen eighth in a double points finish for Haas in a race where its drivers battled each other hard early on.

Daniel Ricciardo took ninth for RB and Pierre Gasly rounded out the top ten after prevailing in a close and hard mid-race scrap with his Alpine team-mate Esteban Ocon.

So a dramatic race in which best friends Lando Norris and Max Verstappen making contact while fighting for the lead. George Russell benefitted from this to take his second win of his career.

Austrian Grand Prix, race results:
1 George Russell Mercedes 1:24:22.798
2 Oscar Piastri McLaren +1.906s
3 Carlos Sainz Ferrari +4.533s
4 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes +23.142s
5 Max Verstappen Red Bull +37.253s
6 Nico Hulkenberg Haas +54.088s
7 Sergio Perez Red Bull +54.672s
8 Kevin Magnussen Haas +60.355s
9 Daniel Ricciardo RB +61.169s
10 Pierre Gasly Alpine +61.766s
11 Charles Leclerc Ferrari +67.056s
12 Esteban Ocon Alpine +68.325s
13 Lance Stroll Aston Martin +1 lap
14 Yuki Tsunoda RB +1 lap
15 Alexander Albon Williams +1 lap
16 Valtteri Bottas Sauber +1 lap
17 Zhou Guanyu Sauber +1 lap
18 Fernando Alonso Aston Martin +1 lap
19 Logan Sargeant Williams +2 laps
20 Lando Norris McLaren DNF

Verstappen takes pole at the Red Bull Ring

This was the perfect Saturday for Max Verstappen. Won the sprint race earlier and following that result, the triple champion achieved pole position for the Austrian Grand Prix.

Lining up on the front row is Lando Norris. Repeating the same result like the sprint qualifying with this front row. His McLaren teammate Oscar Piastri should’ve been third quickest but had the time deleted due to track limits. So George Russell got promoted to P3 for Mercedes.

After being put under much pressure from Norris and McLaren in sprint qualifying and Saturday’s first race of the weekend, Verstappen was in command throughout the qualifying session that sets the grid for the main event – particularly after he swept through Q2 with a time of one minute, 04.469 seconds that Norris could not get near.

In Q3, Verstappen led the leading pack around and went quicker still with a time of one minute, 04.426 seconds, with Norris chasing him at this stage 0.361 seconds slower but with an edge in the first sector.

On the second runs, Max still could not beat Lando’s session-leading sector one time and then did not better his personal best in the middle third of the lap, but a superb final sector improved the pole time to one minute, 04.314 seconds.

Norris shuffled his teammate Oscar Piastri back to claim second before the other McLaren had its best time deleted to running too wide at Turn 6 on the second Q3 runs.

Russell then moved into third with the final Q3 run, which was not spoiled by Charles Leclerc going off for Ferrari ahead.

The Scuderia’s post-sprint changes appeared to have made it much more competitive, with Carlos Sainz ending up fourth and one position better than he managed in sprint qualifying.

But Leclerc was its best hope in Q3 as he had been close to the McLaren drivers’ times despite being on used tyres in Q2 and then at the start of Q3, but on his single new tyre run Leclerc clipped the Turn 6 gravel and lost time, then went off dramatically at the final two corners.

Leclerc being able to drive through the runoff meant no yellow flags flew to interrupt the laps of the chasing Mercedes drivers, as Lewis Hamilton ended up fifth and Russell leapt up the order.

Leclerc finished sixth, promoted by Piastri’s fall to seventh, with Sergio Perez eighth after being left with no new softs to run in Q3 in the other Red Bull.

Nico Hulkenberg and Esteban Ocon rounded out the top ten for Haas and Alpine, as Hamilton too faces a post-session investigation for dragging a Mercedes jack out into the pitlane as he left his garage at the start of Q3.

At the end of Q2, several drivers set personal bests but failed to beat Ocon’s time – despite running behind him on the track that was still gripping up.

These were Daniel Ricciardo and Kevin Magnussen, while behind them Pierre Gasly lost his best time to track limits at Turn 6 that had the Alpine’s right-side wheels skating through the adjacent gravel trap.

Gasly losing his best time put him behind Magnussen, with Yuki Tsunoda P14 and Fernando Alonso P15 – the latter complaining he “nearly crashed” at Turns 7 and 10 on his run midway through Q2.

Also in that segment, Hulkenberg was clocked possibly joining the fast lane in the pits ahead of Sergio Perez, despite on having his front wheels over the white line as the regulations require, which followed the Haas driver being involved in a similar incident in Q1 and both instances will be investigated now qualifying had been completed.

In Q1, Alonso’s last-gasp improvement knocked out Alex Albon – despite the Williams driver doing a personal best on his last run in the opening segment, where he was the first to take the flag and so missed the last bits of track evolution.

Behind came Lance Stroll in the other Aston Martin, Valtteri Bottas – the only driver to fail to beat their personal best right at the end of the Q1 fallers – Logan Sargeant and Zhou Guanyu.

Austrian Grand Prix, qualifying results:
1 Max Verstappen Red Bull 1:04.314
2 Lando Norris McLaren 1:04.718
3 George Russell Mercedes 1:04.840
4 Carlos Sainz Ferrari 1:04.851
5 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:04.903
6 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:05.044
7 Oscar Piastri McLaren 1:05.048
8 Sergio Perez Red Bull 1:05.202
9 Nico Hulkenberg Haas 1:05.385
10 Esteban Ocon Alpine 1:05.883
11 Daniel Ricciardo RB 1:05.289
13 Pierre Gasly Alpine 1:05.359
14 Yuki Tsunoda RB 1:05.412
15 Fernando Alonso Aston Martin 1:05.639
16 Alexander Albon Williams 1:05.736
17 Lance Stroll Aston Martin 1:05.819
18 Valtteri Bottas Sauber 1:05.847
19 Logan Sargeant Williams 1:05.856
20 Zhou Guanyu Sauber 1:06.061

Verstappen wins Austrian sprint

Defending champion Max Verstappen won the Austrian Grand Prix sprint race after holding off an intense early attack from the McLarens of Oscar Piastri and Lando Norris.

After the sprint had been shortened to 23 laps as an extra formation lap was required due to photographers standing behind the barriers at the first corner posing a safety risk, Verstappen easily led away from pole ahead of Norris.

For the rest of the opening lap, Norris defended against Piastri, who had started third, while behind Carlos Sainz battled by George Russell’s Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton chased on in sixth.

With Verstappen unable to escape DRS threat from Norris in the early laps, the Red Bull driver was even moved to defend the inside lines at Turns 3 and 4, before Norris attacked hard at Turn 3 on lap five.

Having braked very late for the uphill right-hander, Norris and Verstappen went deep, which allowed Piastri to get amongst the action through the following DRS zone heading back down the hill to Turn 4.

There, Norris left enough space on the inside for Verstappen to hit back immediately and retake the lead despite locking up his right front, which sent Norris slightly wide and created a gap that Piastri surged into to take second from his teammate.

The battle at the front allowed the chasing pack to close in, with Russell fighting his way past Sainz to retake fourth with a DRS-assisted run around the outside at Turn 4 on lap eight – just as Verstappen was starting to pull away from the McLarens.

The triple champion finally dropped DRS to Piastri on lap ten and from there he simply eased away to take his second third sprint win of the 2024 season.

Norris, having fallen to nearly two seconds behind Piastri while Verstappen was steadily increasing his lead, closed back in on the lead McLaren and regularly got close using DRS.

But Piastri held on to finish second 4.6 seconds behind Verstappen and 0.7 seconds in front of Norris.

Russell dropped back from the McLaren pair over the race’s second half to finish three seconds behind Norris in fourth, with other gaps spreading out between the rest of the leading pack too.

Sainz was a bit back from Russell by the end and had to hold off the close attentions of Hamilton, while Charles Leclerc was 2.2 seconds behind the Mercedes in seventh and 3.9 seconds behind Sergio Perez, who completed the points positions in the other Red Bull, 17.4 seconds adrift of the winning one.

Leclerc’s sprint race was transformed with a brilliant opening lap when he climbed from his starting spot in 10th to run seventh almost immediately, while behind there was interest as Esteban Ocon held off Pierre Gasly to win an intra-Alpine scrap over P11.

Haas driver Nico Hulkenberg faces a post-race investigation for appearing to force Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso off the track at Turn 3 with a late, locked-up dive. The pair ended up P14 and P16, split by RB driver Daniel Ricciardo.

So an eventful sprint race with Max Verstappen resisting the challenge from the McLarens. Still not a fan of this gimmick from Liberty Media as this ‘race’ is just the first stint of the main Grand Prix and yet it is encouraging to see the race pace of the McLarens. Hopefully the Austrian Grand Prix will be exciting.

Austrian Grand Prix, sprint results:
1 Max Verstappen Red Bull 26:41.389
2 Oscar Piastri McLaren +4.616
3 Lando Norris McLaren +5.348
4 George Russell Mercedes +8.354
5 Carlos Sainz Ferrari +9.989
6 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes +11.207
7 Charles Leclerc Ferrari +13.424
8 Sergio Perez Red Bull +17.409
9 Kevin Magnussen Haas +24.067
10 Lance Stroll Aston Martin +30.175
11 Esteban Ocon Alpine +30.839
12 Pierre Gasly Alpine +31.308
13 Yuki Tsunoda RB +35.452
14 Nico Hulkenberg Haas +38.423
15 Daniel Ricciardo RB +39.397
16 Fernando Alonso Aston Martin +43.155
17 Logan Sargeant Williams +44.076
18 Alex Albon Williams +44.673
19 Valtteri Bottas Sauber +46.511
20 Zhou Guanyu Sauber +53.143

Verstappen edged out Norris by less than a tenth

Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen beat the McLaren pair of Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri to take pole position for the sprint race at the Red Bull Ring.

After the SQ3 drivers had waited for almost all the final qualifying segment to pass by before heading out on new soft tyres, the Mercedes duo led the pack out of the pits.

Lewis Hamilton posted a lap time of one minute, 05.270 seconds before he was immediately beaten by his teammate George Russell and then Piastri came through to shuffle them down.

Norris produced the fastest time in the middle sector to go ahead on a time with one minute, 04.779 seconds, but Verstappen’s leading pace in the first and final sector made the difference as he came through to top the session with a time of one minute, 04.686s seconds

Behind, Carlos Sainz slotted his Ferrari between the Mercedes drivers to take fifth position, with Sergio Perez, Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly ending up seventh, eighth and ninth and appearing to pay the price for being at the back of the traffic queue on the SQ3 out-lap.

Charles Leclerc ended up in tenth position without setting an SQ3 lap after he had pulled over from between the Alpines in the pitlane with an apparent technical issue.

The Ferrari driver fixed this and headed out, but did not cross the line in time to start a flying lap.

In SQ2, Kevin Magnussen produced the best first sector of this segment but lost time as his single run continued and he ended up in P11 – ahead of Aston Martin pair Lance Stroll and Fernando Alonso, plus Yuki Tsunoda and Logan Sargeant.

Stroll saved a massive moment at Turn 10 on his only attempt in SQ2, with those eliminated, plus the Alpine pair, having to complete an extra run on the mediums compared to the frontrunners getting out of SQ1.

In that, Hamilton had a nervy ride through after losing his first lap for going wide and dipping his right-side wheels in the gravel at Turn 6, then had a traffic-heavy second attempt before he progressed in P13 behind Alonso.

Logan Sargeant led Alex Albon from the off for the Williams and the former’s final improvement knocked Daniel Ricciardo out in P16 ahead of Nico Hulkenberg, Valtteri Bottas, Albon and Zhou Guanyu.

In the closing seconds of the opening session where the drivers are only allowed to run the medium tyres throughout, as those that made it also were in SQ2, Tsunoda spun off dramatically at the final two corners but was able to carry on without damage.

Austrian Grand Prix, sprint qualifying results:
1 Max Verstappen Red Bull 1:04.686
2 Lando Norris McLaren 1:04.779
3 Oscar Piastri McLaren 1:04.987
4 George Russell Mercedes 1:05.054
5 Carlos Sainz Ferrari 1:05.126
6 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:05.270
7 Sergio Perez Red Bull 1:06.008
8 Esteban Ocon Alpine 1:06.101
9 Pierre Gasly Alpine 1:06.624
10 Charles Leclerc Ferrari No time
11 Nico Hulkenberg Haas 1:05.806
12 Lance Stroll Aston Martin 1:05.847
13 Fernando Alonso Aston Martin 1:05.878
14 Yuki Tsunoda RB 1:05.960
15 Logan Sargeant Williams No time
16 Daniel Ricciardo RB 1:06.581
17 Nico Hulkenberg Haas 1:06.583
18 Valtteri Bottas Sauber 1:06.725
19 Alexander Albon Williams 1:06.754
20 Zhou Guanyu Sauber 1:07.197

Verstappen holds off Norris to win in Spain

Max Verstappen achieved his seventh victory of the 2024 season at the Spanish Grand Prix. The current championship leader finished ahead of Lando Norris while Lewis Hamilton is back on the podium.

The Red Bull driver stayed clear of a late-race charge from Norris to take victory at the Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona, having got ahead of the polesitter into Turn 1.

Verstappen held the inside line for the opening corner to take position from Norris, although George Russell snatched the lead from both, but the Red Bull driver easily cleared the Mercedes on the third lap thanks to DRS as Russell proved unable to clear off into the distance.

Despite coming under threat in a tactical race, with Verstappen’s gap to Norris rising and falling as McLaren pitted later on, the defending champion resisted the pressure to extend his championship lead.

“I think what made the race was the beginning; when I took the lead and then had to drive quite a defensive race, especially on deg,” Verstappen said. “I think we did everything well, we did quite an aggressive strategy which paid off at the end.

“I had to do a bit of rallying on the straight, got on the grass which lost me momentum. I got ahead of Lando at Turn 1 and wanted to get into the lead so i could look after my tyres a bit.

“It’s just managing the tyres, they get very hot around here with the high-speed corners. it was a management race throughout.”

With all focus on the start between Norris and Verstappen on the front row, it was Russell who claimed the best start from fourth on the grid. The Mercedes driver dived left to take the racing line into the corner while the cars ahead battle for the inside line.

This handed Russell the momentum to go around the outside of them both and into the lead.

Once Verstappen got by, McLaren stayed in the fight after creating a tyre off-set for Norris; the championship leader pitted at the end of lap 17 to trade his softs for mediums, but Norris decided to remain on track for another six laps to ensure his mediums were six laps younger.

The gap between the two sat at about ten seconds following the stops, but Norris began to extend out the gap – although the reducing margins faded as Norris had to clear the Ferrari of Carlos Sainz and the Mercedes duo.

Their delta reduced to five seconds before Verstappen pitted again at the end of lap 44, taking another set of softs to the end, and McLaren chose to pursue just a three-lap offset next time around to give Norris enough to push with to the end.

Although the gap between them went up, Norris spent the rest of the race closing Verstappen down – although time eventually ran out and the difference between them at the flag stood at 2.2 seconds.

Lewis Hamilton claimed his first podium position of the season after passing Russell with 15 laps to the flag, as the Mercedes duo are running different on strategy; Russell’s initial two stints were shorter and thus needed the hard tyre to go to the end, which George felt was not a particularly strong race tyre.

Hamilton’s stints were longer, and thus he could collect the soft tyre and benefit from a quicker pace at the end to overcome his teammate.

Russell finished fourth, despite under pressure from Charles Leclerc – who also took the soft tyre at the end in a bid to make progress. This put Leclerc over Sainz, who in turn finished clear of Oscar Piastri.

Sergio Perez finished in eighth with a three-stop strategy from P11 on the grid, while the Alpines completed the top ten in a vital boost to their constructors’ championship efforts – Pierre Gasly ninth and clear of teammate Esteban Ocon.

It was inevitable that Max Verstappen would win this race despite the qualifying highlight for Lando Norris taking his second career pole. A slow start for the McLaren driver was costly and yet the race pace plus strategy helped the triple champion to win in Spain.

Spanish Grand Prix, race results:
1 Max Verstappen Red Bull 1:28:20.227
2 Lando Norris McLaren +2.219s
3 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes +17.790s
4 George Russell Mercedes +22.320s
5 Charles Leclerc Ferrari +22.709s
6 Carlos Sainz Ferrari +31.028s
7 Oscar Piastri McLaren +33.760s
8 Sergio Perez Red Bull +59.524s
9 Pierre Gasly Alpine +62.025s
10 Esteban Ocon Alpine +71.889s
11 Nico Hulkenberg Haas +79.215s
12 Fernando Alonso Aston Martin +1 lap
13 Zhou Guanyu Sauber +1 lap
14 Lance Stroll Aston Martin +1 lap
15 Daniel Ricciardo RB +1 lap
16 Valtteri Bottas Sauber +1 lap
17 Kevin Magnussen Haas +1 lap
18 Alexander Albon Williams M +1 lap
19 Yuki Tsunoda RB +1 lap
20 Logan Sargeant Williams +2 laps

Norris snatches pole from Verstappen in Spain

Lando Norris snatched pole position for the Spanish Grand Prix from championship leader Max Verstappen by a tiny margin of 0.02 seconds on his final Q3 run to take his second career pole.

Verstappen looked set for his eighth pole of the 2024 season after setting a time of one minute, 11.673 seconds on his first flying lap to make a statement and following that upped the pace with a time of one minute, 11.403 seconds on his last effort thanks to a slipstream from teammate Sergio Perez.

His first effort had already proved unbeatable for the respective Ferrari and Mercedes duos, as qualifying was very competitive, and yet Norris delivered at the final moment to beat Verstappen.

“It was pretty much a perfect lap. It was so close, still, but I’m super happy. One of my best pole positions, not that I’ve had many! But it was just about getting a perfect lap, and that’s what we did,” said Norris.

“We’ve been quick the last two months, since Miami we’ve been strong. We’ve probably missed out on pole just by not having the perfect lap, but we did it today.

“[Winning] is our target, but it’s going to be tough against Max, against Lewis. But we’re here to win now.”

The Silver Arrows locked out the second row, as Lewis Hamilton outqualified George Russell by just 0.002 seconds to claim third position, displacing the Ferraris.

Charles Leclerc was fifth-fastest by 0.005 seconds over Carlos Sainz, while Pierre Gasly took a surprise seventh on the grid in a weekend Alpine expected to struggle.

Perez took eighth, which becomes P11 with the application of a grid penalty collected in Montreal, as Esteban Ocon and Oscar Piastri completed the top ten.

The McLaren driver was stranded in P10 as he was unable to set a time in Q3, aborting his only lap after understeering out of Turn 13 and clipping the gravel on the exit.

Fernando Alonso could not break into Q3 at his home race, despite improving on his final lap. The double world champion was initially P14 before he crossed the line, but this only lifted him up to P11.

Alonso thus starts Sunday’s race against Valtteri Bottas, who was P12 for Sauber.

Nico Hulkenberg also fell into the bottom five late on in Q2, joining Lance Stroll and Zhou Guanyu as the remainder of the drivers who failed to progress into the top ten shootout.

Kevin Magnussen was pushed into the drop zone at the end of Q1 by teammate Hulkenberg, as the Haas driver improved late on into the session to break into the next phase of qualifying.

Magnussen had managed to get free of the bottom five on his own final flying lap, but a series of late improvements ensured that he started to tumble down the order once more. In the end it became P16.

The RBs of Yuki Tsunoda and Daniel Ricciardo were both knocked out despite a series of new upgrades to the car, becoming victims of a tightly compressed field as they fell under a second shy of Hamilton’s Q1 benchmark.

Alex Albon and Logan Sargeant locked out the back row of the grid for Williams, as Albon attempted to run off-peak with his second Q1 effort and got up to P12, but dropped back as others improved.

So a very close contest in qualifying with Lando Norris coming out on top for McLaren. This is his second career pole following on from Russia in 2021. It will be interesting if Lando can go for his second victory on race day.

Spanish Grand Prix, qualifying results:
1 Lando Norris McLaren 1:11.383
2 Max Verstappen Red Bull 1:11.403
3 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:11.701
4 George Russell Mercedes 1:11.703
5 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:11.731
6 Carlos Sainz Ferrari 1:11.736
7 Pierre Gasly Alpine 1:11.857
8 Esteban Ocon Alpine 1:12.125
9 Oscar Piastri McLaren 1:12.011
10 Fernando Alonso Aston Martin 1:12.128
11 Sergio Perez Red Bull 1:12.061*
12 Valtteri Bottas Sauber 1:12.227
13 Nico Hulkenberg Haas 1:12.310
14 Lance Stroll Aston Martin 1:12.372
15 Zhou Guanyu Sauber 1:12.738
16 Kevin Magnussen Haas 1:12.937
17 Yuki Tsunoda RB 1:12.985
18 Daniel Ricciardo RB 1:13.075
19 Alexander Albon Williams 1:13.153
20 Logan Sargeant Williams 1:13.509
*Three-place grid penalty for dropping debris around the track at Montreal