Photo: Red Bull Racing

F1 Austrian GP Sprint: Verstappen wins as Red Bull claim 1-2

Max Verstappen has won the Sprint in Austria!

The World Champion has maintained his so far perfect weekend with a flawless victory at his team’s home race.

It was a slow getaway from everybody after the rain had fallen pre-race. The interesting factor at the start was that all but Bottas were on intermediate tyres; the Finnish driver was on slicks. However, that proved to be a mistake and he pitted at the end of the formation lap. Sérgio Perez took the lead into turn one but had a gritty battle with teammate Verstappen who took his place back a few corners later. The Haas of Nico Hülkenberg was up to second place.

By the end of the second lap, the grid had swapped around everywhere. Lewis Hamilton had made it up to 13th after starting five places lower. Lando Norris had dropped down to 10th place after qualifying third. There was anger at Red Bull between the two drivers as they both voiced their concern over their lap one battle.

Verstappen was settling into his rhythm after six laps, with a very solid five-second lead over Hülkenberg. Teammate Pérez was catching the Haas too, with both low-starting Mercedes battling with the other Haas of Kevin Magnussen. There were battles all the way down the grid. With Norris having an almighty scrap with Charles Leclerc. Carlos Sainz then made it onto the podium places on lap thirteen as Hülkenberg’s tyres fell off.

On lap 16, Russell pitted to go onto slick tyres as the track dried up. DRS was then enabled a lap later as both Aston Martins opened their rear wings to put Hülkenberg under pressure. A number of other drivers then boxed for softs and medium tyres as the Red Bull Ring ramped up rapidly. There were four abreast into turn four with three laps remaining, as Valtteri Bottas, Leclerc, Hamilton and Abon battled for places.

The top seven were all still on the intermediate tyre as they reached the chequered flag, with Verstappen holding a 19-second lead over Pérez and not needing to pit. Both Red Bulls crossed the line as a 1-2, with Sainz completing the top three.

The Aston Martins finished in a healthy fourth and fifth place, with Stroll beating his teammate. Hülkenberg held on to claim sixth place, ahead of Esteban Ocon and George Russell. The latter taking the last points places on the final lap.

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