AUSTRIAN GP – Max Verstappen dominates to take third win in a row ahead of Valtteri Bottas

Testing & Race Reports

Max Verstappen put in another dominant drive to take his third win in a row at the Austrian Grand Prix. The Red Bull driver looked in utter control of the race leading every lap from pole position to take victory by fifteen seconds and extend his lead over Sir Lewis Hamilton to thirty-two points.

Verstappen won the start keeping the McLaren of Lando Norris behind him throughout the race as the Englishman delivered another strong race to finish second. The dutchman’s performance in the race saw him secure the first grand slam of his career as he built his lead throughout the race.

Verstappen’s victory gives him a thirty two point lead over Hamilton at the halfway mark in the season just a few races time. He said, “The car was on rails on every tyre. Incredible, guys. That was just amazing, let’s keep this up.” Verstappen’s victory could have been bigger if he hadn’t pitted late in the race to go after fastest lap.

Norris got the better start but couldn’t get past Verstappen at the start of the race after the Red Bull driver covered him off into the first corner. Mercedes Valtteri Bottas was second after the team decided to switch him with Sir Lewis Hamilton, after the seven-time champion struggled to chase after Norris.

Bottas managed to get past Norris in the closing stages pushing the Englishman down to third, the McLaren driver retained the position despite picking up a five-second penalty after forcing Sergio Perez wide. The two drivers went wheel-to-wheel following a safety car on lap four, Perez attacking Norris who edged him wide with the Englishman deemed to have pushed the Mexican into the gravel.

Hamilton meanwhile was fourth, the seven-time champion losing out to Norris who swept around the outside of the Mercedes on lap fifty-two gaining third. Hamilton appeared to be struggling with his tyres allowing the McLaren through before pitting for a second stop before Verstappen on lap fifty-four.

The seven-time champion appeared to pick up rear damage, that led to him dropping back and he would be eventually passed by Norris and Bottas. Meanwhile, Bottas appeared to struggle for pace, he would have been fifteen seconds behind Verstappen if the Dutchman didn’t make a late second pit stop for fresh tyres to secure the fastest-lap bonus point.

Norris, after passing Hamilton, tried to chase after Bottas with twenty laps remaining, he ultimately got to within two seconds and secured a podium.

Verstappen’s teammate Perez was sixth picking up ten seconds worth of penalties for two incidents with Charles Leclerc. Perez finished ahead of Leclerc’s teammate Carlos Sainz but didn’t have enough of a gap to hold the position. The first incident, saw Perez collide trying to overtake dropping him to tenth, and the second one for pushing the Monacan off the track later in the race. The stewards deciding the Red Bull driver had forced the Ferrari off  the track in two incidents at Schlossgold and Rauch during the race.

Leclerc eventually finishing eighth after failing to pass the McLaren of Daniel Ricciardo. Sainz however in his attempt to pass the Australian was able to pass him, and then Perez’s Red Bull to eventually finish the race seventh.

Both Leclerc and Sainz attempted to try and pass Perez, but the Mexican finally got past Ricciardo with under twenty laps to go. But Leclerc was unable to do the same, his tyres faded with Ferrari instructing Leclerc to allow Sainz past to see if he could get the move done.

On fresher tyres, the Spaniard made it through with two laps to go and managed to put in two quick laps to secure fifth ahead of Perez.

Ricciardo driving a strong race after starting thirteenth to get himself into seventh.

Pierre Gasly was ninth highest of the two stoppers finishing ahead of Fernando Alonso who rounded out the top ten. The Alpine driver locked in a battle with the Williams driver of George Russell for much of the race, before using DRS to pass the Englishman into Schlossgold and pushed him to eleventh.

Russell once again missing out on points for Williams.

However, he did despite locking up at the same corner on the last lap fend off Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel. Vettel did have a look at trying to pass his former teammate at Turn Five, but they both went off into the gravel.

Yuki Tsunoda was twelfth ahead of Lance Stroll, Antonio Giovinazzi, Nicolas Latifi and Kimi Raikkonen, all finishing a lap down. Tsunoda picked up a five second time penalty for crossing the white line on pit entry.

Raikkonen and Vettel eventually finishing the race sixteenth and seventeenth ahead of the Haas’s of Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin. The two former champions have been placed under investigation for a collision on the last lap.

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