Red Bull’s Max Verstappen dominated F1 Austrian GP to win from Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas and McLaren’s Lando Norris after trouble for Lewis Hamilton.
It was a good start from pole-sitter Max Verstappen in F1 Austrian GP in his Red Bull machine, as McLaren’s Lando Norris fended off Red Bull’s Sergio Perez, who had Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton on his tail, with Valtteri Bottas keeping off AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly.
Yuki Tsunodao steadied in seventh from Aston Martin duo of Lance Stroll and Sebastian Vettel, with Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc in the Top 10, as Williams’ George Russell dropped outside the points. The race, though, was neutralised soon with a safety car.
Alpine’s Esteban Ocon retired after his front-right broke due to contact with Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi in the right-hander up the hill. The Frenchman was in a sandwich, with Haas’ Mick Schumacher on his left on the tarmac run-off and nowhere to go.
The re-start worked well for Verstappen as he continued to lead F1 Austrian GP, but his teammate tried to pass Norris at Turn 1 and also Turn 4. However, the Mexican went off on the gravel in the latter try, which dropped him to back of the Top 10.
The move was put under investigation and Norris was handed a five-second time penalty. He held off Hamilton for long, but eventually had to give way for second. There was a five-second penalty for Giovinazzi as well for overtaking before the safety line.
Tsunoda, meanwhile, had a five-second penalty for crossing the white line at pit entry. Amid all this, Verstappen led the way from Hamilton, as Norris was third being caught by Bottas. Behind them, the original Top 10 runners made their first stop early on.
It was Ricciardo in fifth, being chased by Leclerc, who cleared Perez for track position. Sainz was eighth with Russell ninth and Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen 10th. The first stoppers group was led by Gasly, with Tsunoda, Vettel and Stroll behind.
The German having passed his teammate after their pit stop. At the front, the pit stop streak kick-started with positions remaining the same apart from Norris and Bottas, where the Finn managed to get by the Brit due to his time penalty.
Sainz was fifth without having stopped as he started on the hard tyre, as Gasly on a two-stop had Ricciardo, Perez and Leclerc on his tail in the Top 10. Despite a slow stop for the Mexican, the Red Bull driver managed to pass the Monegasque in the pits.
The fight got intensified as Leclerc tried a move on Perez at Turn 3-4 sequence. It was a repeat of what happened between the Mexican and Norris. This time, it was the Red Bull driver on the inside the Monegasque on the outside.
As they turned in, the two collided, leaving Leclerc on the gravel. There was immediate investigation into the incident and Perez was handed a five-second penalty. The tussle, though, continued with Ricciardo leading after Gasly pitted the second time.
There was another fight between Perez and Leclerc, this time at Turn 6, where the Monegasque was side-by-side into the left-hander and had to take a gravel trip. The incident was put under investigation, where the Ferrari driver was furious.
Perez got another five-second penalty for forcing another driver off, with Stroll getting a five-second penalty for speeding in the pitlane. At the front, meanwhile, damage for Hamilton made his life difficult in second with Bottas and Norris chasing.
At first, Mercedes didn’t allow Hamilton and Bottas to race, but then they allowed them to. The Finn passed the Brit, who was then immediately cleared by Norris. The McLaren driver then started to chase the Mercedes driver in the fight for second.
Hamilton pitted immediately to be fourth, as Perez steadied in fifth after passing Ricciardo. The Mexican had to build a 10s gap in order to retain a Top 5 finish. The Australian, meanwhile, had Leclerc hounding him for sixth position.
Sainz was eighth on the road after his stop with Gasly ninth from Russell in the Top 10, who was being chased by Alpine’s Fernando Alonso. The two went wheel-to-wheel at Turn 6 but the Spaniard had to back-off to avoid the repeat of Leclerc.
After they were lapped by Verstappen, who stopped the second time, Alonso tried again on Russell at Turn 4 but couldn’t clear. The Spaniard eventually got the Brit on another try on the approach to Turn 4, as there was despair on the faces of Williams crew.
At the front, Verstappen dominated handsomely to win the F1 Austrian GP and extend his points lead, with Bottas in second and Norris completing the podium. Hamilton was fourth with Perez fifth on the road, but the Mexican couldn’t clear Sainz by half a second.
He dropped to sixth with Sainz in fifth, as Ricciardo was seventh from Leclerc, Gasly and Alonso in the Top 10. Russell ended up 11th after resisting late push from Raikkonen, who had Vettel just behind him on the final lap, to pick on the two.
However, the two collided after Vettel tried a move on Raikkonen on the exit of Turn 4. They were still classified in 16th and 17th being a lap down, behind Tsunoda, Stroll, Giovinazzi and Williams’ Nicholas Latifi, between 12th and 15th.
Everyone from Alonso until Vettel were a lap down, while the Haas duo of Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin ended up 18th and 19th, but were two laps down on the leaders. The incident between the German and Raikkonen was put under investigation.
UPDATE: Along with Vettel being investigated, Russell was in the line too for moving under braking, while fighting against Raikkonen. But that was not it, the last lap incident brought out the double-waved yellow flag and host of drivers were called up for it.
The list included Ricciardo, Perez, Sainz, Giovinazzi, Gasly, Latifi, Mazepin and Leclerc. On the former investigations, Raikkonen was adjudged as the guilty party and handed a drive-through, converted into 20s time penalty and two penalty points.
“The Stewards heard from the driver of Car 7 (Kimi Raikkonen), the driver of car 5 (Sebastian Vettel), team representatives and reviewed video evidence. Exiting T5 RAI closed the door on VET, which caused a collision taking both cars off the track,” said the stewards.
For Russell, the stewards cleared him from any wrongdoing. “The Stewards heard from the driver of Car 63 (George Russell), the driver of car 7 (Kimi Raikkonnen), team representatives and reviewed video evidence. The Stewards believe that RUS kept the steering straight and left one car width at the entrance to turn 4. The Stewards were happy that the movement was not dangerous or erratic and accepted the explanation of the driver.”
Moving on to the drivers called in for ignoring double-waved yellow flags, the stewards were happy with the action from them, with Gasly, Ricciardo, Giovinazzi, Leclerc, Sainz and Perez cleared of any wrongdoing. Mazepin and Latifi, however, weren’t.
Both were handed a 10s stop and go penalty, converted to 30s overall, with three points on the license too. For Mazepin – which was same for Latifi too, the stewards stated: “The Stewards heard from the driver of Car 9 (Nikita Mazepin), team representative and reviewed video and telemetry evidence. The Stewards analysed the telemetry of the driver concerned who did not slow down sufficiently for the double waved and yellow sector.”