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Formula 1

Verstappen wins Austrian GP, Perez third after great Sainz fight

by Matt Beer
4 min read

Max Verstappen gave Red Bull yet another routine 2023 Formula 1 race win at the Austrian Grand Prix, while Ferrari produced its strongest performance of the season so far in his wake.

Charles Leclerc took second place, while Carlos Sainz only just failed to keep the second Red Bull of Sergio Perez off the podium after a gallant effort.

UPDATE: Eight drivers penalised post-race, 14 positions change

Ferrari tried its best to stop Red Bull running away with the event at the track it owns. Leclerc made a spirited first-lap bid to pass Verstappen before the champion began to edge away, and then the two teams diverged on strategy under an early virtual safety car prompted by Nico Hulkenberg’s Haas-Ferrari stopping with what he felt was an engine failure.

Motor Racing Formula One World Championship Austrian Grand Prix Race Day Spielberg, Austria

The Red Bulls of leader Verstappen and Perez – who had been making good progress from his poor 15th on the grid – stayed out while the Ferraris came in on the second lap of the VSC, costing Sainz time as he queued behind his team-mate.

This meant when Verstappen came in after his longer first stint Ferrari had a spell running 1-2, though Verstappen made relatively easy work of them.

A five-second penalty for repeated track limits offences at his second pitstop meant Sainz was within range for Perez going into the closing stages.

Sainz tried to use Lando Norris’s fourth-placed McLaren as a buffer, giving it DRS where possible, but Perez soon dismissed it. Passing Sainz, however, proved much, much harder for Perez, as the Ferrari driver mounted an epic and well-managed defence that included getting himself DRS by letting Perez inch past approaching Turn 3 at times, and some magical late-braking.

Though Sainz eventually had to concede the place, his bold effort also meant Perez had lost too much ground to have a shot at catching Leclerc for second in the final laps.

Motor Racing Formula One World Championship Austrian Grand Prix Race Day Spielberg, Austria

Verstappen’s insistence on making a last-moment pitstop for softs so he could reclaim fastest lap from Perez might have given Ferrari some hope given Leclerc was only 23s behind when the leader came in. But a smooth Red Bull stop meant Verstappen rejoined 4s ahead and got the fastest lap he sought too.

Behind Sainz, Norris gave the updated McLaren a superb start with fifth place after a drive that included a mid-race pass on a frustrated Lewis Hamilton. The Mercedes driver was another to get a track limits penalty and raged about it and his perception that others were getting away without them.

Motor Racing Formula One World Championship Austrian Grand Prix Qualifying Day Spielberg, Austria

Serving that penalty at his final stop meant Hamilton only finished seventh behind Fernando Alonso’s Aston Martin.

From 11th on the grid, George Russell could only get to eighth in the other Mercedes, with Pierre Gasly ninth for Alpine.

Lance Stroll had outqualified Aston Martin team-mate Alonso but lost ground on lap one in a failed bid to pass Norris then fell back when double stacked with Alonso in the VSC pitstops. He was also one of the few to make three tyre stops and could only make it back to 10th with a late pass on Alex Albon’s Williams.

In the older-spec McLaren, Oscar Piastri ended up only 17th after breaking his front wing on Kevin Magnussen’s Haas.

Race Results

Pos Name Car Laps Laps Led Total Time Fastest Lap Pitstops Pts
1 Max Verstappen Red Bull 71 0 1h25m33.607s 1m07.012s 4 26
2 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 71 0 +5.155s 1m08.82s 3 18
3 Sergio Pérez Red Bull 71 0 +17.188s 1m08.111s 3 15
4 Lando Norris McLaren-Mercedes 71 0 +26.327s 1m08.739s 3 12
5 Fernando Alonso Aston Martin-Mercedes 71 0 +30.317s 1m09.108s 3 10
6 Carlos Sainz Ferrari 71 0 +31.377s 1m08.88s 3 8
7 George Russell Mercedes 71 0 +48.403s 1m09.283s 3 6
8 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 71 0 +49.196s 1m09.16s 3 4
9 Lance Stroll Aston Martin-Mercedes 71 0 +59.043s 1m08.463s 4 2
10 Pierre Gasly Alpine-Renault 71 0 +1m07.667s 1m09.046s 3 1
11 Alex Albon Williams-Mercedes 71 0 +1m09.767s 1m09.56s 3 0
12 Guanyu Zhou Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 70 0 +1 lap 1m09.786s 3 0
13 Logan Sargeant Williams-Mercedes 70 0 +1 lap 1m09.611s 3 0
14 Esteban Ocon Alpine-Renault 70 0 +1 lap 1m09.797s 3 0
15 Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 70 0 +1 lap 1m09.94s 3 0
16 Oscar Piastri McLaren-Mercedes 70 0 +1 lap 1m09.862s 4 0
17 Nyck de Vries AlphaTauri-Honda RBPT 70 0 +1 lap 1m09.852s 3 0
18 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari 70 0 +1 lap 1m10.176s 3 0
19 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri-Honda RBPT 70 0 +1 lap 1m09.62s 4 0
Nico Hülkenberg Haas-Ferrari 12 0 DNF 1m11.066s 2 0
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