Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Red Bull Ring, 2022

Verstappen beats battling Ferraris in Austria sprint race to secure pole position

2022 Austrian Grand Prix

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Max Verstappen secured pole position for the Austrian Grand Prix with a comfortable victory in the sprint race ahead of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz Jnr.

The Red Bull resisted an attack from Sainz at the start and was never troubled for the 23 laps that followed. Leclerc eventually passed Sainz to retake second on the grid after losing a place to his team mate off the line.

George Russell will line up fourth again for Sunday’s grand prix, ahead of Sergio Perez who recovered from 13th on the sprint race grid to finish in fifth place.

As the field pulled away from the grid on the formation lap, Fernando Alonso was left up on his jacks with his tyre blankets still on. Unable to pull away, the Alpine was wheeled back into the pit lane.

Then, as the field lined up for the start, Zhou Guanyu suddenly lost drive and failed to form up on the grid. An extra formation lap was called to allow the Alfa Romeo to be cleared, however Zhou managed to restart his car and recover to the pit lane.

When the sprint race eventually started, Verstappen held the lead off the line but Sainz got ahead of team mate Leclerc to take second place. Back in the pack, Pierre Gasly was spun around after contact with Lewis Hamilton, who was squeezed between the AlphaTauri and the Williams of Alexander Albon. Gasly was able to continue, but he dropped towards the back of the field ahead only of Zhou, who had managed to take the start from the pit lane.

Verstappen began to pull away from the Ferraris out front. Hamilton passed Albon for tenth, before Albon began scrapping with Lando Norris over 11th, resulting in the McLaren bouncing over the sausage kerb on the exit of turn three as Albon resisted Norris’s attack – the stewards later handing Albon a five-second time penalty for forcing the McLaren off the track.

With Leclerc slowly falling back from Verstappen, he then came under attack from his team mate for second place. Sainz dived down the inside of Leclerc into turn three, but Leclerc cut back to keep the position. Sainz tried again into turn four around the outside, only for Leclerc to hold him off and retain second place.

Having lost position to the McLarens, Albon then found himself under pressure from the Aston Martin of Sebastian Vettel for 13th. Vettel tried to pass around the outside of the Williams at turn six, but the pair collided, sending Vettel spinning into the gravel. Vettel managed to reverse out of the gravel and back onto the track, but had dropped to the very rear of the field.

Mick Schumacher came under heavy pressure from Hamilton on the run to turn four, but the Haas driver positioned himself well enough to repel the Mercedes. Eventually, Hamilton passed Schumacher into turn four on lap 21 to move up into eighth.

Out front, Verstappen was under no pressure from the chasing Ferraris and duly checked off the final laps to take the chequered flag and secure pole position for Sunday’s grand prix. Leclerc finished 1.6 seconds behind his championship rival, while Sainz took third almost four second behind his team mate.

Russell will start fourth on the grid, over seven seconds adrift from Sainz. Sergio Perez recovered from 13th on the grid to take fifth for the grand prix, ahead of Esteban Ocon and Kevin Magnussen in seventh.

Hamilton took eighth and the final point ahead of Schumacher. Valtteri Bottas rounded out the top 10 but will start from the back of the grid tomorrow after a power unit penalty. Norris will therefore be promoted to 10th ahead of team mate Daniel Ricciardo.

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2022 Austrian Grand Prix

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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47 comments on “Verstappen beats battling Ferraris in Austria sprint race to secure pole position”

  1. Ferrari once again showing they don’t want to be champion with Leclerc.. Weird..

    1. Maybe… but here it seems VER has the edge, everything was under control in the Sprint with or without the battle between LEC and SAI, and don’t expect a different outcome tomorrow either given their raw pace. Most likely VER only pushed in the first few laps, until he opened a +2sec gap.

      1. If Leclerc and Sainz would have kept the tow at the start it could have been different. Just can’t understand that Ferrari doesn’t just pick Leclerc and go for the championship. Their team battle just make them lose points.

        1. Ferrari’s team principal Binotto doesn’t see the drivers’ championship as a goal. He said last month that he wants Ferrari to focus on being competitive at every race. It doesn’t matter then whether Leclerc or Sainz finishes ahead.

          Is this a mistake? Probably, as there’s no guarantee Ferrari will be competitive next season. But it’s what Ferrari has to work with.

      2. Yeah, did not look like Max was ever more under pressure after he dealt with Sainz (or rather, Sainz went wide) in the first few corners. Leclerc got closer towards the end, but that is almost certainly down to Max just pacing his race and not pushing since there was no need for it towards the end.

    2. Incredible display of stupidity once again. It’s like they really do not understand the concept of F1 or just don’t want to win.

  2. Ferrari’s helped Max a bit with their early battling.
    Good further down the field, although I’d be unsurprised if Albon gets another 5-second addition for spinning Seb.
    Backing out would’ve been since he had more to lose than gain by sticking beside Seb.

    1. Would’ve been ‘wiser’

  3. This is amazing! Drivers can’t compete among themselves because overheating tyres end their race (Ferrari example).
    Do some weak sprints, mega sprints, marathon sprints. It doesn’t matter, it will be weak.

    1. That’s what Sainz claimed, that would drop him back 2 see or so to maintain the gap. He dropped further, showing he was struggling. He can’t keep the pace and keep the tires alive.

  4. Unbelievable how stubborn are those clowns in charge of the Ferrari pitwall. Sainz being the useless driver he has always been is just doing the business for RBR. He should have been told not to attack Leclerc in the first couple of laps to keep the pressure on Max. Without that fight Leclerc should have been inside Max’s DRS by the end of the sprint.

    1. Tbf he had the better first lap. Maybe its leclerc who should have been told to stand down since they lost drs range by his fight-back?

      1. @dmw A team order on lap 1?

      2. @dmw
        Sainz had a good first couple of laps and that’s it. He was average at best in the rest 20 laps.

    2. It is called a motor race.

      1. petebaldwin (@)
        9th July 2022, 17:15

        Indeed and within that motor race, you have teams. The teams run 2 cars and as we saw with Haas, they can work together to help each other out. Excluding seasons where only 1 team was competitive, it’s been quite a long time since we had a driver without a clear number 1 & 2 driver setup win the drivers championship.

        Even when I used to kart and was not in a team, I would work together with other drivers during a race. If I was in 3rd and the kart in 2nd was catching the leader, I’d tuck in behind whilst we caught up rather than squabbling on track and letting the leader run away with it.

    3. If team principals let drivers race, fans complain, if they issue team orders, fans complain as well 🤷. I prefer to see an entertaining race.

      1. It depends, for some fans team order for RB is bad , team orders for others, fair.

    4. José Lopes da Silva
      9th July 2022, 17:04

      Sainz should have been told to tap Leclerc’s back in the straights.

    5. I agree that Ferrari F1 team is under the control of morons and Sainz is a buffoon at best.

    6. @tifoso1989 sainz has always been uncompetitive in f1 and a bad teammate, he only attacks or risks anything when it suits him the most. He is more worried about Leclerc not winning than anything else, he won’t attack Max if leclerc is ahead, today he saw a way to get into the lead and only then he risked it.
      Eventually he lost it and he showed his chronic lack of race pace.

      1. @peartree
        I couldn’t agree more !

  5. Just get rid of these useless sprint races

    1. @amam they just make races worse as drivers that under qualified or over qualified get their performances rectified before the race during the sprint, making q less important and the sprint becomes an extended 1st stint with a red flag at the end.

  6. This feels like the way this entire season might look going forward and probably the Top 5 in WDC:

    Max controlling the win in a car that’s not always fastest, while Ferraris trip over each other (with Leclerc winning most battles, being the better driver).

    ‘Mr consistency’ Russell will pick up the scraps and Perez behind them all due to weekends that are either unlucky or underperforming.

  7. Someone got a penalty for running the car on the outside of a corner off the track. Was the last time that happened at this race last year? Maybe its an österreichring rule.

    1. @dmw Yes, last year with Perez-Norris & Perez-leclerc. Seemingly indeed an Österreichring rule.

    2. Maybe they want to make up for 2019?

    3. It’s very interesting, I remember as well.

  8. Why are the fans still doing the smoke? Drivers asked numerous times to stop that as they endure physical problems because of it!

    1. @spafrancorchamps No one complained this time.

      1. @jerejj do they really need to every race? These are adults…

        1. @spafrancorchamps
          No, & the orange flares only appear at Red Bull Ring, Zandvoort, & Spa-Francorchamps anyway.

    2. The Dutch fans also jumped up and down with joy when Hamilton crashed… A bit embarrassing as a Dutch fan.

      1. @dutchtreat yes but it is one way people can express how wrong Ham is most of the time. Ham’s views are generally bad or just cynical.

  9. Kmag could’ve given Mick DRS and they both would’ve gotten points. Albon should stick to making pad thai

    1. Its a possibility, but with a closing Bottas and Hamilton that close it could be they opted for Mick to hold them back and secure the safe points instead of taking a gamble for one point that could result to zero. None the less Mick clearly deserved it.

    2. Yeah, i agree @sjzelli. Surely Sainz must have noticed Schumacher dropping back and could have slowed down a tad by himself instead of waiting for the team to tell him a lap later when it was already too late.

  10. Max was just cruising I think or maybe Charles does have the pace.

  11. Would be good to understand the difference between Perez on Hamilton at Silverstone and Albon on Norris today. With Albon being penalised and Perez getting nothing.

    1. @oweng I like to know too why it is allowed one time and disallowed the other time. I have seen many drivers do it to over there at that corner with no penalties.

    2. Or Verstappen and Schumacher, I saw a couple of times that Max pushed Mick out and nothing happened.
      I’m all for open racing… but what bothers me is the lack of consistency there.

      1. @luigismen I think we have just witnessed the difference between Wittich and Freitas. Wittich is trying to ban racing in order to stick with the over written rulebook and Freitas is trying to only use the rulebook in case of contact. Either way I don’t like it. Fia had plenty of time to delete a few lines of the rulebook and figure out better ways to manage racing, adopt some strategies from motogp (long lap loop) and wec (race director speaking directly to all drivers)

        1. As long as the racing happens on the track, they are both satisfied.

    3. I guess sausage kerb was the reason.

  12. IfImnotverymuchmistaken
    9th July 2022, 18:45

    Very boring. If not for LEC and SAI, and MSC and HAM, it would’ve been unwatchable.
    VER seems to have a pace advantage over the Ferraris, we’ll see if it remains so tomorrow. Cuold be interesting, could be a borefest.

Comments are closed.