AUSTRIA: Unlike the Styrian Grand Prix, Verstappen faced no real challenge throughout the race not even from his arch rival Lewis Hamilton. Verstappen secured a first-ever ‘grand slam weekend’, with pole, fastest lap, and victory, having led every lap.
Championship rival Lewis Hamilton worked hard after having to be patient behind an ever-improving Lando Norris who managed to keep the experienced British driver at bay for over 20 laps to reach second place after starting P4 on the grid before aerodynamic damage, picked up by running over the rough exit curbs at turn 10, hampered his progress, allowing Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas to get past him followed by McLaren’s Lando Norris who put on an impressive drive on his second stint on the hard compound tires.
Under criticism due to a string of poor performances coupled with bad luck in the previous few races, Valtteri Bottas held on to P2 while managing deteriorating tires fending off the challenge from Norris, who was awarded Driver Of The Day, with the McLaren driver taking his third podium finish of the season by coming P3. Hamilton held on for fourth after a second pit stop for a fresh set of hard tires but slipped from 18 to 32 points behind Verstappen in the Drivers championship standings.
Red Bull rued not having a second driver in the top mix after Sergio Perez who had an action-filled race after starting from third on the grid slipped back to P10 after tangling with Lando Norris and going onto the gravel in the exit of turn 4. After an early safety car, called on Lap 1 when Esteban Ocon was forced to retire from the race after his Alpine sustained front right wheel damage after bumping Antonio Giovinazzi’s Alfa Romeo at Turn 3, Perez challenged Norris for P3 at Turn 4.
Going around the outside, Perez was pushed wide off track by Norris who was given a five-second penalty which can be best described as a close decision on a day where the Race Stewards were handing out time penalties quite frequently. However, Perez would later push Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari off the track at the same place and pick up an identical penalty, before repeating it at Turn 6 and getting one more time penalty.
That meant that while Perez crossed the line in P5, he was relegated to P6, with Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz, who brilliantly charged his way up the field after running a long opening stint on the hard compound, finished 5th.
McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo, Leclerc, AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly, and Alpine’s Fernando Alonso completed the top 10, with Alonso having to fight hard to wrestle the final points spot from Williams’ George Russell who put up a staunch defense. There was last lap drama as Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikonnen tangled with Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel which resulted in both of them crashing out of the race.