Max Verstappen leads Sergio Perez in a Red Bull one-two, in a thrilling battle between the teammates on the opening lap of the sprint; Carlos Sainz finished third for Ferrari; Watch the Austrian Grand Prix live on Sky Sports F1 on Sunday at 2pm with the build-up from 12:30pm
16:50, UK, Saturday 01 July 2023
Max Verstappen held off a brave challenge from Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez during a tense first-lap battle in the Austrian Grand Prix sprint.
World championship leader Verstappen was ahead of his team-mate on the front row, but Red Bull were almost embarrassed at their own Grand Prix as the pair came close to contact twice in the opening lap.
Perez got the better of Verstappen off the line and passed the Dutchman in the first corner, Verstappen dropped back at Turn 3, and both came on the team radio to express their displeasure at each other’s driving.
Perez, in poor form since a strong start to the season winning two of the first four races, lost a place to Nico Hulkenberg at the exit of Turn 3, but then regained the position to ensure red. Bull one-two.
Carlos Sainz moved up from fifth to take the final podium spot, with Lance Stroll pipping Aston Martin team-mate Fernando Alonso to fourth.
Hulkenberg was the highest finisher of the cars that opted to switch from intermediates to dry tires in the final stages of the drying track, finishing sixth.
Mercedes’ Jorge Russell, who benefited from being the first driver to switch to slicks, was held off by Esteban Ocon for seventh in a spirited battle.
The Brit secured the final points available in the 24-lap race, taking the world championship lead over Verstappen Perez to 70 points with the victory.
The Dutchman will have the chance to further extend his advantage in Sunday’s race as he starts on goal with Perez in 15th place on the grid.
Austrian GP Sprint Results: Top 10
1) Max Verstappen, Red Bull (8 points)
2) Sergio Perez, Red Bull (7 points)
3) Carlos Sainz, Ferrari (6 points)
4) Lance Stroll, Aston Martin (5 points)
5) Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin (4 points)
6) Nico Hulkenberg (3 points)
7) Esteban Ocon, Alpine (2 points)
8) George Russell, Mercedes (1 point)
9) Alexander Alban, Williams
10) Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes
Verstappen beats the rain, Perez challenges
Verstappen, looking to extend his run of four consecutive race wins on Sunday, continued his impressive form by practicing and qualifying on Friday in dry conditions.
He dominated Saturday’s sprint shootout as he was nearly half a second clear at the top of the timesheet, but finally faced a real challenge at the start of the sprint.
As rain forced the field to start in the intermediates, Perez launched an attack on his teammate in the opening corner.
Given his sizeable championship lead and the fact that the leader is only one point ahead of second place in the sprint, the Dutchman may have been surprised by Perez’s bravery.
Running wide on the formation lap, the Mexican showed no hesitation as he dived on the inside at the first corner, but Verstappen responded with an equally aggressive move two corners later.
Perez spun off the track and then lost to Hulkenberg, while Norris almost stopped to avoid getting into the rear of Verstappen.
In a highly eventful opening lap, Stroll passed team-mate Alonso to reverse their starting positions, while Lewis Hamilton moved up five places to 12th.
Hulkenberg held his own early on, but as his tires wore out on the drying track, Perez was overtaken on lap 12.
Ordinarily, that would have been the end of the drama, except for Hulkenberg’s continued backsliding, but the slick track preparation and running of the TRS provided a dramatic finale.
Russell’s pit stop at the end of lap 16 proved to be a good move as he quickly became the fastest car on the circuit, prompting 10 drivers to follow him.
The top five, along with Ocon, dropped out – but Russell was able to overtake the unfortunate Norris in the closing stages as he gave his soft tire extra time to warm up.
Russell claimed another point when he chased down Ogan on the final lap, but the Alpine driver held on by less than a hundredth of a second.
You can watch the Austrian GP live from 12.30pm to 2pm on Sunday on Sky Sports F1.