Dominant Verstappen victorious again at the Red Bull Ring

Max Verstappen produced a dominant display in the Red Bull by winning the Austrian Grand Prix with a solid drive in the RB16B. The championship leader finished ahead of Valtteri Bottas and Lando Norris, while Lewis Hamilton dropped back after picking up damage.

Verstappen’s advantage was so great that he had enough time to pit for a second time and put the fastest lap bonus point target out of sight for the rest, while Bottas benefitted from being allowed by Hamilton in a Mercedes team order and Norris got by too to claim a podium despite picking up a penalty for an early incident with Sergio Perez.

At the start, Norris got a slightly better getaway, which forced Verstappen to swing across from pole and cover the run to the uphill right of Turn 1, where he consolidated first place and shot clear.

In the pack behind, Hamilton pressured Perez for third position at the long, downhill right of Turn 4, shortly before racing was suspended as the safety car was called out due to Esteban Ocon stopping with a broken right front on the run between Turns 3 and 4 after he was caught between Mick Schumacher’s Haas and Alfa Romeo driver Antonio Giovinazzi at the tight uphill right of Turn 3.

The race restarted on lap four of 71, where Verstappen waiting until he was well clear of the final corner before firing back up to full speed allowed Perez to get a run on Norris of the outside of the first corner.

The Mexican driver took to the run-off exiting the turn and dropped back behind Norris, with the Mercedes cars swarming as they shot back up to Turn 3.

Perez attacked Norris around the outside of Turn 4 but was edged out wide and into the gravel, for which the McLaren driver was later given a five second time addition, as the Red Bull fell to 10th and Hamilton and Bottas powered by.

Verstappen was 1.9 seconds clear at the end of the first full lap of racing and he quickly extended his lead to almost 10s with a string of fastest laps in the low 1m09s, as Norris repelled Hamilton’s attentions until lap 20.

The Mercedes driver had closed in again after Norris initially kept him at bay despite McLaren’s concerns that his pace in the mid one minute, 09 seconds was hurting his left rear tyre, and Hamilton got by using DRS to blast ahead on the run down to Turn 4, after initially attacking at the outside of Turn 3.

Verstappen continued to extend his lead to over 12 seconds by the time Hamilton pitted at the end of lap 31, where the Mercedes switched from the mediums to the hards, which Red Bull did for Verstappen the next time by.

After emerging comfortably in the lead, Verstappen continued to build his gap at the start of the second stint, which quickly became a considerable advantage as Hamilton began to struggle for rear grip as a result of damaged sustained to the left-rear aerodynamic surfaces of his car, which Mercedes suggested to Bottas was due to running over the kerbs exiting the final corner.

As Verstappen stroked clear to a lead of over 23 seconds, Hamilton came under pressure from Bottas, who had jumped ahead of Norris when the McLaren driver served his time penalty when the pair stopped for hards the lap before Hamilton.

Mercedes initially ordered Bottas not to attack his teammate while the situation was reviewed, but as the final 20 laps began, Valterri was told he was free to race, with Norris looming just over a second behind.

Then Mercedes decided it would swap the order of its cars, with Hamilton allowing Bottas to the inside of Turn 3 on lap 52, while Norris closing on the world champion as Bottas ran clear.

Norris attacked Hamilton two laps later with a look to the outside of Turn 4, but was repulsed there before he nipped ahead at the inside of the fast, sweeping left of Turn 6 to rise back to a podium position, with Hamilton then pitting for a second time at the end of that tour.

Red Bull called Verstappen in for a second stop at the end of lap 60, with the Dutchman taking them to the fastest lap on a 1m06.200s, having already held the accolade even before his second stop during a brief exchange of times with Carlos Sainz and Hamilton just before coming in for his second set of hards.

Norris chased Bottas to the end, but wound up 2.0 seconds behind, with Verstappen enjoying a final winning margin of 17.9 seconds.

Hamilton came only a lonely fourth, ahead of Perez, who took fifth on the road but ended up sixth after picking up a pair of 5 seconds penalties for twice clashing with Charles Leclerc in similar circumstances, and on the first occasion at the same place, as his incident with Norris.

The second incident between Perez and Leclerc happened with the Ferrari attempting to go by around the outside of Turn 6 before he was edged into the gravel, after which Perez ran clear and passed Daniel Ricciardo.

Perez tried to build enough of a gap to hold onto fifth despite his time additions come, running reasonably close to Hamilton by the finish, but Carlos Sainz’s late charge after running long on the hards from P10 of the grid meant he was just within the 10s margin to claim fifth at the flag.

Sainz had been allowed past Leclerc after the Monegasque driver had failed in several bids to pass Ricciardo, with the McLaren driver taking seventh and Leclerc eighth.

Pierre Gasly was the lead two-stop runner in ninth, while Fernando Alonso took the final point to deny George Russell, who had lost several places on the opening lap having started eighth.

Russell resisted for several laps in a thrilling duel before Alonso got by with three laps left – using DRS to get the inside of Turn 4 after going deep defending at Turn 3.

On the final lap, Russell’s 11th place was also under threat from Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel, who was also charging on a two-stopper.

When Russell and Raikkonen locked up at Turn 4, Vettel brought his Aston Martin alongside and ahead of his former teammate, who ran into the German’s left-hand side as Russell ran clear.

Both Raikkonen and Vettel speared off into the gravel behind Turn 5, where they retired.

So congratulations to Max Verstappen with this commanding victory at the team’s home track. Red Bull Racing are on a roll with wins and leading both championship is a bonus. Silversone is next and it will be interesting if Mercedes can strike back.

Austrian Grand Prix, race results:
1 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Honda 1:23:54.543
2 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 17.973
3 Lando Norris McLaren-Mercedes 20.019
4 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 46.452
5 Carlos Sainz Jr. Ferrari 57.144
6 Sergio Perez Red Bull-Honda 57.915
7 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren-Mercedes 1:00.395
8 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:01.195
9 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri-Honda 1:01.844
10 Fernando Alonso Alpine-Renault +1 lap
11 George Russell Williams-Mercedes +1 lap
12 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri-Honda +1 lap
13 Lance Stroll Aston Martin-Mercedes +1 lap
14 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo-Ferrari +1 lap
15 Nicholas Latifi Williams-Mercedes +1 lap
16 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo-Ferrari +1 lap
17 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin-Mercedes DNF
18 Mick Schumacher Haas-Ferrari +2 laps
19 Nikita Mazepin Haas-Ferrari +2 laps
– Esteban Ocon Alpine-Renault DNF

4 thoughts to “Dominant Verstappen victorious again at the Red Bull Ring”

  1. Austrian Grand Prix race review as reported by

    For the second time is as many weeks, Red Bull’s Max Verstappen enjoyed a serene drive to victory at the Red Bull Ring, leading every lap of the Austrian Grand Prix from pole position – much to the delight of the thousands of orange clad fans who flocked to cheer him to a third victory in a row.

    In contrast to the Styrian Grand Prix, Verstappen faced no real threat from behind, even having enough time to take an extra pit stop with 10 laps to go to ensure an extra point for fastest lap – and a first ever ‘grand slam weekend’, with pole, fastest lap and victory, having led every lap.

    Behind him, championship rival Lewis Hamilton worked his way up to second place from P4 on the grid before aerodynamic damage, picked up by running over exit kerbs, slowed his progress, allowing both Mercedes team mate Valtteri Bottas and McLaren’s Lando Norris to get past.

    Despite heavy pressure from Norris, who was awarded Driver Of The Day honours, Bottas held on for P2, with the McLaren driver taking a third podium finish of the season in P3. Hamilton held on for fourth, but slipped from 18 to 32 points behind Verstappen in the championship standings.

    Red Bull might have had an even better day, had Sergio Perez not had such an eventful race from third on the grid. After an early safety car, called on Lap 1 when Esteban Ocon was forced to park his Alpine with damage sustained bumping Antonio Giovinazzi’s Alfa Romeo at Turn 3, Perez attacked Norris for P3 at Turn 3.

    Going around the outside, Perez was forced off track, with Norris given a five-second penalty as a result. However, Perez would later ease Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari off the road at exactly the same place and pick up an identical penalty, before doing the same thing to Leclerc at Turn 6 and getting one further time penalty.

    That meant that while Perez crossed the line in P5, he was classified in P6, with Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz – who propelled himself up the order with a brilliant late charge after running a long opening stint – taking fifth.

    McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo, Leclerc, AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly and Alpine’s Fernando Alonso completed the top 10, the latter taking the final points-paying position from George Russell on the penultimate lap, denying the Briton a first point with Williams.

    Further back there was drama on the last lap as Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen collided with Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel as they disputed P12. But for the majority of fans around the track, it was all about the man who finished in P1…

    Amid warm temperatures and cloudy conditions, the race got underway with Verstappen leading into Turn 1 as all the front runners got a clean start – that is apart from George Russell who, seeking a first points finish for Williams, immediately dropped from P8 to P12.

    However, no sooner had the drivers got up to speed than the Safety Car was called, with Esteban Ocon forced to park his Alpine with damage to complete a second successive weekend to forget. The Frenchman, who started a disappointing P17, was caught between Mick Schumacher’s Haas and Antonio Giovinazzi’s Alfa Romeo as the pack exited the Turn 3 hairpin, with contact from the latter’s rear wheel instantly breaking his front suspension.

    Racing got back underway on Lap 4, with Perez in third wasting no time in attacking Norris for P2. After an initial look around the outside at Turn 1, the Mexican tried his hand around the outside again at Turn 4. However, Norris held his ground and eased Perez off the road, the Red Bull driver complaining he’d been pushed off as he returned from the gravel down in P10.

    Amidst the drama, Bottas briefly passed Hamilton for P3, but the Briton pushed his way back ahead before setting after Norris, whose team mate Daniel Ricciardo had given himself a great chance of a haul of points by jumping up to P9 from P13 on the grid.

    By lap 10, Verstappen had opened his lead to 3.6s over Norris and 4.5s over Hamilton, as the seven-time world champion radioed to say he was struggling to follow the McLaren. He’d remain behind until lap 20 when he finally forced his way past at Turn 4, Norris remarking that Hamilton’s brakes were on fire as he drove past, with Hamilton taking the time to tell his team what a “great driver” Norris was.

    In a double whammy for the McLaren man, no sooner was he passed by Hamilton than he was handed a five-second penalty for the Perez incident – though his team chose to wait until lap 26 to inform their driver, who was typically nonplussed saying: “what did the guy expect going around the outside?”

    By this stage, all the drivers who had started on softs – both AlphaTauris and both Aston Martins – had stopped for fresh rubber, though Yuki Tsunoda blotted his copybook by straying over the white line in the pit entry and earning himself a five-second penalty. He’d repeat the mistake later in the race to end any hope of points, and no doubt earn himself a telling off from Red Bull top brass.

    On lap 30, Norris decided it was time for fresh rubber, with Mercedes instructing Valtteri Bottas – running behind Norris on the road in P4 – to follow the Briton in, knowing he’d have to serve his time penalty before his tyres could be changed. Bottas thus had time to take on new tyres and emerge ahead comfortably ahead of Norris – much to the McLaren driver’s chagrin.

    A lap later and Hamilton made his stop for hard tyres, his team telling him to look after his rubber, with Red Bull – who stopped Verstappen for the same tyres a lap later – telling the Dutchman that his title rival was set to run to the end of the race.

    That would prove a fallacy as it soon became apparent after his stop that Hamilton was struggling for pace, his team quickly diagnosing that he’d suffered “damage to rear aero surfaces” running over an exit kerb.

    As Bottas and Norris homed into view, it was all action behind as Gasly, Ricciardo, Perez and Leclerc continued their running battle. On lap 41 Leclerc dived around the outside of Perez into Turn 4, much as the Mexican had done to Norris in the early stages. The result, however, was the same, with Leclerc running into the gravel and Perez quickly handed a five-second penalty, to be added to his time at the end of the race.

    No sooner had that been issued, and Gasly had pit again, Perez lined himself up for another penalty – this time for running Leclerc off the road at Turn 7.

    As the race moved into the final stages, Bottas and Norris arrived at the rear of Hamilton’s car, with Bottas initially told to hold station. But fearing the threat of Norris, Mercedes had no choice but to let Bottas attack Hamilton, with an instruction to ‘invert the positions’ coming soon after and Bottas moving ahead on lap 52. A lap later and Norris was also by, Hamilton stopping for fresh rubber shortly afterwards as he focused on holding onto fourth and limiting his championship damage.

    Up front, there were no such issues for Verstappen, who had so much margin in hand he could afford to stop for a second time and emerge 7.2s ahead of Bottas, with the fresh tyres needed to guarantee fastest lap.

    The action wasn’t over though. Having started on hard tyres and been the last to stop, Sainz was on a charge on fresh mediums. He quickly got onto the back of team mate Leclerc and was ushered past, before taking Ricciardo for P6 on the road with one lap to go.

    The other Spaniard on the grid, Fernando Alonso, was on a similar charge, passing George Russell for P10 late on to extend his points scoring run to four races and deny the Williams man a first point. In no mood to lose any further places, Russell then held off Raikkonen, who had similarly run a long opening stint, with the Finn then getting involved with former team mate Sebastian Vettel as they exited Turn 4 on the final lap.

    The duo clashed wheels and both ran across the gravel, with the stewards announcing an immediate investigation.

    But the day belonged to Verstappen, who declared his victory “even better than last week” and affirmed his status as championship favourite.

  2. Race winner Max Verstappen “amazed” after “pretty insane” Austrian Grand Prix win. has the full story.

    Max Verstappen labelled his Austrian Grand Prix victory as “pretty insane” as he admitted even he was amazed by how quick his Red Bull Formula 1 car was.

    The Dutchman extended his advantage at the head of the F1 drivers’ standings with a crushing win at the Red Bull Ring, leading every lap from pole position.

    After cruising home 17.9 seconds clear of Mercedes rival Valtteri Bottas, Verstappen had nothing but praise for his Red Bull team and the car it had given him.

    “Incredible to be honest,” he said. “The car was on rails. I mean on every tyre set that we put on, it was really enjoyable to drive. Pretty insane.

    “I’m a bit amazed myself how today went. I didn’t expect it to be like this. Yeah, incredible job by everyone to deliver something like this.

    “Of course, when you go into the weekend everyone sees you as the favourite but it’s never easy to always deliver what we did today. So, yeah, a great effort by the whole team and also by Honda. I think the whole package, these two weeks, especially here, has been incredible.”

    Verstappen’s only headache was needing to manage a safety car restart early on. But, despite leaving his getaway late, he was able to build up an instant buffer over the pursuing Lando Norris.

    “I just had to be awake at the start, that I had a little bit of a gap,” he said. “I knew that if I could go fast on lap one or the restart, I could do my own race. You always have to do that first, but today it’s been incredible.”

    Verstappen’s main title rival Lewis Hamilton came home in fourth place after being slowed by car damage, with runner up Bottas conceding that Mercedes was no match for Red Bull.

    “I think as a team we got some decent points considering the gap we have to Red Bull in terms of pure pace,” said Bottas. “It’s nice to be on the podium again in second place. I think we really maximised it with what we did today.”

  3. McLaren’s Lando Norris frustrated by Formula 1’s penalty for defending ‘stupid’ Sergio Perez move. has the details.

    Lando Norris felt frustrated not to finish the Formula 1 Austrian Grand Prix in second place after receiving a time penalty when defending a “stupid” move from Sergio Perez.

    Norris started a career-best second on the grid in Austria on Sunday, but was hit with a five-second time penalty after the stewards adjudged that he forced Perez off-track early on.

    Perez tried passing Norris around the outside of turn 4 on lap 4 following an early safety car period, only to be squeezed out on the exit of the corner and end up in the gravel, dropping back as a result.

    Norris was surprised when he was informed by his McLaren engineer of the penalty on team radio, saying: “What did the guy expect, going around the outside?”

    Norris kept Lewis Hamilton behind him for 20 laps before being passed into Turn 4, and then lost third to Valtteri Bottas when he served his penalty in the pits.

    But Norris reclaimed third place after passing Hamilton with 19 laps to go as the Mercedes driver struggled with rear damage, and crossed the line just two seconds behind Bottas in P2.

    While it marked Norris’s fourth F1 podium finish, the McLaren driver was frustrated not to have taken second place as a result of the penalty.

    “It was exciting, but I’m disappointed, because we should have been in second place,” Norris said. “I thought that lap 1 was just racing really. He tried to go around the outside which is a bit stupid, and he ran off the track himself. I didn’t even push him, so I don’t know.

    “I’m frustrated but also happy with P3. We had very good pace.”

    Norris was given the call to try and attack Bottas in the closing stages, having gained time when Mercedes initially instructed the Finn not to race team-mate Hamilton in second before waving him past.

    But Norris explained that it was always difficult to try and catch the Mercedes as he ran in dirty air behind.

    “I think we had good pace, I could keep up with him a lot, even in the dirty air but not enough to get into the DRS,” Norris said. “As soon as I got close to one second, I started struggling too much.

    “It’s nice to know that we can be there and we can race them, it’s probably the first race in many years of actually racing a Mercedes and the Red Bull.

    “But yeah, hopefully we can keep it up next time.”

  4. Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton says “lot of damage” cost him “easy second” in Austrian Grand Prix. has the story.

    Lewis Hamilton was left frustrated after sustaining “a lot of damage” to his Mercedes Formula 1 car that cost him an “easy second” in Sunday’s Austrian Grand Prix.

    Hamilton started fourth for Mercedes at the Red Bull Ring, but managed to move up to second in the first stint after seeing Sergio Perez drop back and then overtaking Lando Norris.

    But shortly into the second stint, Mercedes informed Hamilton that he had sustained damage to the left-rear of his car, costing him downforce.

    Mercedes initially told teammate Valtteri Bottas not to race Hamilton, only to swap the cars around with 20 laps to go before Norris overtook as well one lap later.

    Hamilton took a free stop for a set of hard tyres, and crossed the line in fourth place, 26.4 seconds behind Norris in third place.

    The result saw Hamilton lose more ground on championship leader Max Verstappen, whose third successive win saw his advantage in the drivers’ standings grow to 32 points.

    “I already said before the race that it would be very hard to beat Max of course,” Hamilton said.

    “But obviously it’s frustrating to lose so much downforce on the rear of the car and not be able to hold on to second place. So a lot of points lost today.

    “I would have been second. I was in second when all of a sudden it obviously broke. It would have been an easy second, generally. But obviously not able to catch those guys ahead.”

    Replays showed Hamilton running wide over the big sausage kerb at Turn 1 during the race, but the seven-time world champion remained unsure where he had picked up the damage.

    “I wasn’t going over the kerb more than anyone else, so I have no idea where it happened,” Hamilton said. But there’s a lot of damage.”

    It marked Hamilton’s fifth race in a row without winning, leaving him one shy of his most recent longest winless streak from 2017-18.

    Red Bull has managed to pull clear of Mercedes for pure performance in recent weeks, with Hamilton saying his team is “miles away” and again calling for an upgrade ahead of the British Grand Prix at Silverstone.

    “We’ve got a lot of work to do, Hamilton said.

    “We need all hands on deck, which I know they already are. And they’ve brought a lot of upgrades over these last few races, and we haven’t brought any.

    “So we’ve got to bring some, find as much performance as possible, otherwise this will be the result most often.”

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