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Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Verstappen Triumphs in Austrian Grand Prix Sprint Despite Tense Moments with Perez

Saturday's sprint race saw thrilling action spread across the grid in tricky conditions

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Aditya Saikrishna
Aditya Saikrishna
I am 21 years old and an avid Motorsports enthusiast.

AUSTRIA: Max Verstappen emerged victorious in an eventful Austrian Grand Prix sprint, overcoming tense moments with his teammate Sergio Perez in the first lap to win the race.

The Red Bull pair engaged in a thrilling battle at the start, with Perez briefly taking the race lead, as Verstappen felt forced off-track.

Undeterred, Verstappen made a bold move to regain his position and eventually built a commanding 21-second lead by the end of the race.

Carlos Sainz secured third place for Ferrari, while Lance Stroll and Fernando Alonso battled it out for fourth and fifth, respectively, rounding out the top five. 

The sprint showcased a mix of strategies due to changing weather conditions throughout the weekend. As the rain poured down before the sprint, the track became wet enough for drivers to start on intermediate tires. 

Valtteri Bottas opted for slick tires during the formation lap but quickly realized the conditions were too treacherous and switched to intermediates. 

The chaotic first lap saw Perez overtaking Verstappen, only to be pushed wide off the track by his teammate, causing Nico Hulkenberg to slip into second place.

Meanwhile, Lewis Hamilton, starting from 18th after a botched-up Sprint Shootout where Verstappen impeded him on his final flying lap, made an impressive recovery, advancing to 13th by the end of the first lap. Another notable performer was Alex Albon, who climbed from 11th to 7th.

Throughout the race, finger-pointing via team radio added to the drama, with Verstappen accusing Perez of forcing him off the track and Perez questioning Verstappen’s actions. However, both drivers focused on regaining ground amidst the fierce competition.

Mercedes drivers Hamilton and George Russell executed daring overtakes on Kevin Magnussen, but with points only awarded to the top eight finishers, they still had work to do, settling for 8th and 10th positions, respectively. Hulkenberg demonstrated remarkable resilience, maintaining second place until the halfway mark. 

However, Perez gradually closed the gap and eventually executed a daring move around the outside of Turn 6 to reclaim second. Shortly after, Carlos Sainz passed Hulkenberg to secure third place, denying the Haas driver a potential first top-three finish in Formula 1.

As the track dried, drivers searched for wet patches to gain an advantage. A thrilling battle between Charles Leclerc and Esteban Ocon saw them jostling for position, allowing Lando Norris to capitalize and move ahead of Leclerc.

George Russell became the first driver to pit for slick tires on lap 16, setting the fastest first sector time on his first flying lap. This prompted a wave of pit stops, with drivers hoping for further improvement in track conditions.

In the midfield, dry tire runners engaged in fierce battles, exemplified by Lance Stroll’s resistance against Alonso’s relentless attacks for fourth place.

Also Read: Lewis Hamilton’s Candid Admission to Max Verstappen Reveals Mercedes’ Weakness in Low-Speed Corners


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