Max Verstappen took a comfortable victory in the Austrian Grand Prix ahead of Charles Leclerc as Sergio Perez recovered to the podium.
When the lights went out, Verstappen held the lead into turn one as Leclerc challenged him through turn three and turn four, only for Verstappen to rebuff him both times. Although there were no major collisions at the first corner, there was enough debris from Yuki Tsunoda striking Esteban Ocon left on the circuit on the exit of turn one for the Safety Car to be deployed, neutralising the field for two laps.
The race resumed at the start of lap four, with Verstappen leading the field over the line ahead of Leclerc, Carlos Sainz Jnr, Lewis Hamilton and Lando Norris in fifth. Verstappen quickly pulled away from the Ferraris behind, while Sainz used DRS to stick right behind his team mate.
On lap 13, Nico Hulkenberg pulled off the circuit at turn three with a smoking Ferrari power unit. The Virtual Safety Car was deployed just as the two Ferraris rounded the penultimate corner, allowing Hamilton, Norris and many others behind them to pit. The Ferraris both pitted on the next lap under the VSC, with Leclerc retaining second place as Verstappen stayed out. Sainz dropped behind Hamilton and Norris, while Perez was promoted to third by staying out.
It did not take long for Sainz to pass Norris for fifth and then hunt down and overtake Hamilton into turn four to move up to fourth behind Perez. Hamilton received a five-second time penalty for exceeding track limits four separate times in fewer than 15 laps, with Tsunoda also earning the same penalty for the same offence.
Sainz overtook Perez to reclaim third position from the Red Bull, restoring Ferrari into second and third. On lap 25, Ferrari claimed the lead when Verstappen pitted for hard tyres, with the championship leader resuming in third behind Sainz. Verstappen quickly got ahead of Sainz to move up to second, with Sainz then becoming the next driver to receive a five-second time penalty for four track limits strikes.
Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and
Norris overtook Hamilton to move up to fourth in the McLaren, while Verstappen set off in pursuit of Leclerc out front. The Red Bull eventually caught him on lap 35, passing him into turn three to retake the lead of the race.
Once in the lead, Verstappen pulled out a healthy advantage over the Ferraris behind. Sainz pitted at the end of lap 45 for hard tyres, serving his penalty and resuming behind Norris. He overtook the McLaren exiting turn four to take fourth place, as his team mate made his second stop, resuming behind both Red Bulls in third.
Verstappen made his second stop at the end of lap 49, this time able to comfortably rejoin still in the lead, five seconds ahead of his team mate. Perez would come into the pits the next lap and rejoin in fifth behind Norris, leaving Verstappen with a 13 second lead over Leclerc, which quickly began to grow.
Perez caught Norris ahead of him, passing the McLaren into turn four, before immediately pressuring Sainz for the final podium place ahead. Perez fought hard to get ahead of the Ferrari, but for three consecutive laps Sainz managed to repel the Red Bull. Eventually, Perez managed to get ahead on the run to turn four to complete his run to the podium.
Verstappen continued to pull a gap out over Leclerc until he was 24 seconds ahead of the Ferrari driver. He chose to pit with just two laps remaining to fit soft tyres to attempt the fastest lap on the final lap. He emerged a handful of seconds ahead of Leclerc and blitzed the 71st lap to take the chequered flag and the bonus point for fastest lap.
Leclerc finished five seconds behind in second, with Perez completing the podium another 12 seconds behind. Sainz took fourth place ahead of Norris in fifth and Alonso sixth for Aston Martin. The Mercedes of Hamilton and Russell were seventh and eighth, with Pierre Gasly ninth and Lance Stroll completing the points scorers in tenth.
In total, seven drivers received penalties for at least four track limits violations, with Tsunoda earning a second 10-second penalty for his seven total infringements.
Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and
2023 Austrian Grand Prix reaction
- Check back shortly for more race reaction