until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

Formula 1

McLaren misses another chance to deny Verstappen in Austria sprint

by Matt Beer
2 min read

McLaren missed another chance to deny Max Verstappen a Formula 1 race win as its drivers ended up battling among themselves in the Austrian Grand Prix sprint.

After polesitter Verstappen made an initial early break, McLaren duo Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri reeled the Red Bull in once DRS was useable, with Norris making a series of overtaking attempts.

He succeeded with a bold dive into the Turn 3 hairpin at the start of lap five of a race shortened by one lap to 23 due to photographers being spotted in a dangerous position just before the aborted initial start.

But though Norris's pass on Verstappen was a fine one, he didn't do enough to close the door on a retaliatory Verstappen move into the following Turn 4 downhill right-hander.

As Verstappen swept back into the lead, running slightly wide with a lock-up as he did so, Piastri got alongside Norris and went around the outside of the fast Turn 6 to claim second.

Piastri couldn't keep up with Verstappen thereafter but did manage to keep team-mate Norris at bay as they fell five seconds away from the leader.

Though Carlos Sainz got his Ferrari up to fourth at the start, Mercedes' George Russell reclaimed the place from him at one-third distance and then fended off Sainz and the second Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton from there.

Sainz's team-mate Charles Leclerc quickly turned his frustrating 10th on the grid into seventh place but didn't progress any further, while still finishing comfortably clear of an underwhelming Sergio Perez in the second Red Bull in eighth.

The Alpines of Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly fell back from their top-10 qualifying positions to 11th and 12th behind Kevin Magnussen's Haas and Lance Stroll's Aston Martin.

On track, Stroll was six places ahead of team-mate Fernando Alonso, who lost two positions at once late on when Haas's Nico Hulkenberg took him wide at the hairpin and Daniel Ricciardo's RB slipped through too. That earned Hulkenberg a 10s penalty that dropped it from 14th to 19th in the results.

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