Dutch driver Max Verstappen once again wins this week’s Grand Prix in Austria.
After gaining pole position during Saturday’s Qualifiers, Verstappen dominated the 71-lap race at the Red Bull Ring Track in Austria.
The starting grid was occupied by Verstappen in P1, with Ferrari drivers Charles Leclerc in P2 and Carlos Sainz in P3. McLaren’s Lando Norris and Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton followed in P4 and P5, respectively.
After enduring component changes to their cars whilst under Parc Ferme conditions, drivers Kevin Magnussen (Haas) and Nyck De Vries (AlphaTauri) were required to start from the pit lane. The other drivers resumed their respective slots as usual.
This is win number 42 in Formula 1 history for Verstappen.
I think the most important [thing] for me was Lap 1, to stay in front. After that we could do our own race. […] The tyre [degradation] was not that high around here and our stints were perfect, so a great day – I enjoyed it a lot!Max Verstappen
With multiple time penalties distributed, two drivers soaring off the track, many safety flags, and a great load of attack and defence, this Austrian race was not an easy fight.
Verstappen was quick to lead the race, but behind him, Leclerc did not make it easy. The Ferrari driver tried to pass Verstappen in the first corner, but was blocked. Here, the first yellow flag was called as Leclerc maintained his aggressive offence as he trailed behind.
During this time, Yuki Tsunoda of AlphaTauri hit Esteban Ocon at Turn One, experiencing damage and losing part of his front wing. He then slid off the track into the gravel.
On lap 13, the race encountered its first retirement with Nico Hulkenberg of Haas off the road. The driver’s car was found smoking out of the back and caused the second yellow flag to be called.
With the virtual safety car in place, many took this opportunity to pit, including Hamilton, Norris, and Russel.
On lap 16, there is a double-stacking pit stop for both Ferrari drivers with Leclerc pit-stopping slowly before Sainz who went in after him. This created an opportunity for Norris to gain a lead over Sainz, as the virtual safety car ended.
In the following lap, Hamilton receives a five-second time penalty for exceeding track limits, which he would either serve at a pit stop or at the end of the race.
Sainz drives past Hamilton gaining P4, using his DRS and driving at a speed of over 300km/h. Sainz then manages to pass Perez into P3.
On lap 25, Verstappen pits, allowing Leclerc to take the lead with Sainz trailing behind. The race was now led by a Ferrari 1,2.
Verstappen tries to use DRS to fly past Leclerc, although Leclerc defended appropriately leaving the consecutive winner behind in P2.
Norris and Alonso battled for P5 in lap 28, whilst Sainz received a five-second time penalty also over track limits, as replays show him driving over the white lines at the exit of the penultimate corner.
The battle for the lead resumes again between Ferrari and Red Bull in lap 35 as Verstappen takes the inside and steals P1 back from Leclerc. With his fiery driving, the Dutchman is fighting for his fifth Grand Prix win in a row this season after winning the previous race in Canada.
Meanwhile, Perez takes P8 from Russel, then pulls to P7.
At this point Magnussen is sent into the gravel by De Vries who pushes him off the track. This led him to receive a five-second time penalty for sending his opponent off the road.
Perez then tried to clear past Alonso, who was unsuccessful in defending and gave Perez a straightforward pass ahead to P6.
In lap 46, Sainz pits for new tyres and serves his time penalty as Norris passes his position. After pitting, Sainz uses his DRS to push past Norris, who leaves him space, allowing the Ferrari driver to rise above him in P4.
More than 10 laps later, Sainz and Perez fight once again for their place. Sainz successfully uses his DRS to take the podium, and stays ahead of Perez despite the wrestle.
They tussle again for the spot in lap 61. On the way down Turn Four, Perez takes a deep corner and moves ahead to P3.
Despite major battling, the podium saw Max Verstappen in P1, Charles Leclerc in P2, and Sergio Perez in P3.
The Austrian Grand Prix proves to be another race where Max Verstappen dominates.
This is Red Bull’s tenth win in a row this season, Verstappen’s seventh season win, and fifth win at this venue. It was a truly outstanding performance for the driver in his team’s home venue.
Max’s confidence to pit for new tyres in the final laps of the race proved successful and showed his skill in the sport. The driver also took home another point for fastest lap of the race at 1:07.012 and an average speed 231.970.
It is refreshing to see Charles Leclerc back on the podium. His P2 finish was Ferrari’s best result of this year’s season and earned Ferrari their 800th podium finish in F1. The driver came in at five-seconds after Verstappen.
Quote: “Together with Austria actually, these [Red Bull Ring and Silverstone] are my two favourite tracks that are non-city tracks and in Silverstone we always had great results. So hopefully we can take advantage of the new upgrades we have on the car and be a bit more of a challenge to the Red Bulls.”
For Perez this was a fight from the start. Starting at P15 in the grid to P3, he got his first podium finish on the Red Bull Ring. His back-and-forth tussle with Sainz proved good offence and defence work from both drivers.
With 26.1% in agreement, Lando Norris was voted in as Salesforce ‘Driver of the Day’. This is no surprise seeing he held up a great performance against Carlos Sainz and proved to be a great driver this weekend.
It is also important to note that eight drivers received penalties for track limit infringements. These eight drivers are: Sainz, Hamilton, Gasly, Albon, Sargeant, Ocon, De Vries, and Tsunoda. Never have we seen so many penalties distributed in one race this season.
This winning streak has placed Max Verstappen in first position at 229 points on the Driver Standings. Perez stays in second place with 148 points, and Alonso with 131 in third.
It seems he has a major advantage, resulting in the possibility that no other driver will catch up this season.
You can find the full results of the Österreich Grand Prix on the official Formula 1 website.
The next 2023 race is the much-awaited British Grand Prix at the Silverstone Circuit. You can watch the drivers battle for P1 on Sunday July 9, at 4:00p.m. Central European Time.
Feature Image Credit: F1