Max Verstappen controlled to win F1 Austrian GP with a clean sweep ahead of Charles Leclerc and Sergio Perez.
It was a clean start from Max Verstappen in F1 Austrian GP as he led the way from Ferrari pair of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz, with Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton jumping McLaren’s Lando Norris at the start much like Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso.
The Spaniard on the hard tyre managed to clear Lance Stroll who dropped to eighth behind Haas’ Nico Hulkenberg. Alpine’s Pierre Gasly pipped Williams’ Alexander Albon to be ninth as AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda had an off at Turn 4 to pit under safety car.
He already had front wing damage at Turn 1 when he clipped Alpine’s Esteban Ocon at Turn 1 taking the inside line. Haas’ Kevin Magnussen pitted too under safety car. As Verstappen led the way, Leclerc had Sainz close behind with the Spaniard urging for team orders.
At the fag end of the Top 10, Hulkenberg started to lose places and post his pit stop, a suspected power unit problem forced him to stop. A Virtual Safety Car period got multiple drivers to pit including a double stack for the Ferrari drivers.
But a slow stop for Sainz dropped him behind Hamilton and Norris, whom he had to pass on track to retake track position. He even passed Perez to get back on third behind Leclerc and Verstappen. The Dutchman eventually lost the lead after his pit stop.
He came behind Sainz but retook the place on the hard tyres against Ferrari’s medium. Hamilton was fourth with a 5s penalty ahead of Norris with Alonso sixth from Gasly, Mercedes’ George Russell, Perez and Albon in the Top 10.
They all had to fight off multiple drivers including Alpine’s Esteban Ocon and Stroll. The Frenchman, meanwhile, had a 5s penalty for unsafe release against Williams’ Logan Sargeant. There was a 5s time penalty for Tsunoda and Sainz for track limits.
There was another investigation for Tsunoda for failing to serve his time penalty. Leclerc’s lead started to trim as Verstappen eventually caught him and passed him to retake F1 Austrian GP lead. Sainz stood third as Norris passed Hamilton for fourth.
The Mercedes driver had a wide moment which allowed Norris to get through. Alonso was in a lonely sixth from Perez who cleared both Gasly and Russell with Albon in 10th but the Thai racer had a 5s penalty for track limits with Ocon behind him.
His teammate Gasly too had one with AlphaTauri’s Nyck de Vries getting one for collision with Magnussen, who was sent onto the gravel. At the front, Ferrari tried to extend their stint but it didn’t work and they had to stop eventually.
Sainz came out behind Norris but quickly retook the place, as Alonso jumped Hamilton in the pits to be sixth where Russell was eighth behind his teammate. Stroll moved up to ninth from Gasly in the Top 10 where Albon and Ocon were the ones chasing.
Verstappen and Leclerc started to stretch out at the front, but there was a supreme fight for third between Sainz and Perez after the Mexican cleared Norris quickly. The two went wheel-to-wheel for couple of laps, exchanging places.
But Perez’s younger tyres and better pace helped him to be third from 15th on the grid. Norris was fifth from Alonso, Hamilton, Russell and Gasly with Albon fending off Stroll for the final point. But the Canadian had better pace to take 10th.
At the back, Sargeant and Magnussen were handed 5s time penalty for track limits, as Verstappen decided to pit from the lead for the fastest lap despite some resistance from Red Bull. It was eventually clean stop as he took the fastest lap on the final lap.
But bigger than that, Verstappen took the F1 Austrian GP win from Leclerc and Perez, where the Mexican was shown a black and white flag. Sainz was fourth from Norris, Alonso, Hamilton, Russell, Gasly and Stroll in the Top 10 points places.
Albon was 11th from Ocon with Sargeant ahead of Alfa Romeo’s Zhou Guanyu, de Vries, Bottas, Piastri, Tsunoda and Magnussen where everyone from Ocon downward finished a lap down on the leader after 71 laps of racing in F1 Austrian GP.
RACE CLASSIFICATION 🇦🇹
Verstappen reigns supreme in Austria 💪
— Formula 1 (@F1) July 2, 2023
UPDATE: Aston Martin has lodged a protest against the results of F1 Austrian GP with a hearing to take place where they reckon a lot of cars weren’t penalised for track limits: https://www.fia.com/sites/default/files/decision-document/2023%20Austrian%20Grand%20Prix%20-%20Information%20-%20Aston%20Martin%20Protest.pdf
UPDATE 2: The FIA has upheld the protest lodged by Aston Martin after a hearing with Andy Stevenson, FIA’s Nikolaz Tombasis and Ferrari’s Diego Ioverno. Upon rechecking they found potential track limits which were missed and so the protest has been upheld and there will be penalties incurred in the final classification.