Austrian Grand Prix: Max Verstappen cruises to victory ahead of Valtteri Bottas & Lando Norris

sergio perez

Max Verstappen took victory for the second straight week at the Red Bull Ring as he won the Austrian Grand Prix ahead of Valtteri Bottas and Lando Norris on Sunday afternoon, with main championship rival Lewis Hamilton coming home in fourth.

Verstappen led through turn one with Norris maintaining second place in front of Sergio Perez, Hamilton and Bottas, before an early safety car was called after Antonio Giovinazzi tapped Esteban Ocon to break the Frenchman's suspension and end his race just after turn three.

Once the safety car had returned to the pits, Perez set about trying to overtake Norris, to his detriment in the end.

austrian gp

Around the outside of turn four, the Mexican ran out of room alongside the Briton and bounced through the gravel trap, dropping down to the periphery of the top ten, with the stewards opting to hand the McLaren man a 5-second penalty.

Next up for Norris, a battle with Lewis Hamilton who was now in third and needing to get into second as quickly as possible to try and close down Max Verstappen, who was now around ten seconds clear up the road.

It wasn't, though, until lap 20 that Hamilton managed to take P2, with team-mate Valtteri Bottas dropping a handful of seconds behind the British pair to try and help preserve his tyres.

norris hamilton

Elsewhere, Norris' team-mate Daniel Ricciardo was going well, rising from 13th on the grid up to 5th by lap 30 before pitting, ahead of Charles Leclerc who was building nicely on his 'Driver of the Day' winning performance last weekend at the Red Bull Ring.

It was around this point that most of the front-runners were pitting and Bottas would profit more than most. With Norris serving his 5-second penalty during his stop, the Finn was able to move up to third place, whilst Red Bull and Perez managed to leapfrog Leclerc, as he continued his recovery drive.

It was this battle, too, which provided our next moment of real drama on lap 41. Leclerc got a good run out of turn three and sent one down the outside of turn four. In a carbon copy of what had happened to Perez with Norris, the Mexican was now the man to receive a 5-second penalty as he was adjudged to have ran the Monegasque wide into the gravel.

charles leclerc

Indeed, it was something we'd see again six laps later at turn six, with Perez earning another time penalty and Leclerc left to vent his fury down the radio.

Back up at the front, Max Verstappen was still cruising around in the lead but second place was soon to be contested. 

Lewis Hamilton had picked up damage to some aerodynamic parts at the rear of his Mercedes and, after initially being told to hold station, team-mate Valtteri Bottas was given the green light by the Silver Arrows to attack and take second, with Lando Norris on the scene once more and providing pressure.

lewis hamilton

In the end, a premeditated move played out at turn three, releasing Bottas into the top two before the woes for Lewis continued as Norris soon claimed third.

As this was going on, Perez jumped Daniel Ricciardo and got the hammer down to try and build a 10-second gap to negate the penalties he'd been given, whilst the Aussie and Leclerc now engaged in a battle of their own.

On fresher tyres, though, Leclerc's team-mate Carlos Sainz was let through to have a go at the McLaren man, with the Spaniard cruising up behind them in the closing stages, and he would get through on the penultimate lap - before being promoted to fifth as he would be the one man to benefit from Perez's penalties.

carlos sainz

George Russell, meanwhile, suffered late heartbreak as he and his Williams team were denied their first point together and the team's first since Germany 2019, with Fernando Alonso's relentless nature eventually taking 10th place from the hard-charging Briton after numerous attempts.

No such tough luck for Verstappen, though, who, whilst so much went on behind him, had a serene Sunday drive to enjoy below the Styrian mountains to take his third straight win.

Up next, Silverstone and the British Grand Prix.

max verstappen

Full classification

1 Verstappen

2 Bottas

3 Norris

4 Hamilton

5 Sainz

6 Perez 

7 Ricciardo

8 Leclerc

9 Gasly

10 Alonso

11 Russell

12 Tsunoda

13 Stroll

14 Giovinazzi

15 Latifi

16 Raikkonen

17 Vettel

18 Schumacher

19 Mazepin

R Ocon

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