Verstappen wins Austrian GP; Leclerc and Perez return to podium

    Perez charged from P15 to P3, while several drivers were caught out by track limit penalties.

    Published On Jul 02, 2023 09:44:00 PM

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    Max Verstappen pulled off another dominant weekend of racing, winning the Sprint and Austrian GP at Red Bull Racing’s home race. Ferrari showed some strong pace as well, with Charles Leclerc returning to the podium for the first time since Azerbaijan in April.

    Sergio Perez, meanwhile, charged from P15 to P3, defeating Carlos Sainz to claim the final spot on the podium.

    1. Verstappen wins, 5.155 secs ahead of Leclerc
    2. Perez goes from P15 to P3
    3. Norris P4 for McLaren

    Verstappen scores five wins in a row

    An early Virtual Safety Car period resulted in opposing tyre strategies, with Ferrari pitting its two drivers, while Red Bull decided to keep Verstappen out. This briefly handed Leclerc the lead, but Verstappen soon reclaimed the spot and even went on to set the fastest lap enroute to securing his fifth consecutive (and seventh total) win this season.

    Reflecting on his race, Verstappen said, “We opted not to box during the Virtual Safety Car, and just follow our normal strategy, and I think that worked out really well. The tyre [degradation] was not that high around here and our stints were perfect, so a great day – I enjoyed it a lot!”

    Leclerc finished 5.155 secs behind in second place, but that gap would have been around 30 secs had it not been for Verstappen’s second pit stop.

    Perez beats Sainz

    After a run for poor results, it was pivotal for Perez to deliver a strong performance in Austria. Matters were made more challenging by his P15 starting position, but he delivered a spirited recovery to finish on the podium for the first time since Miami.

    Track limit infringements were the big talking point this weekend, and Sainz was one of the drivers to receive a five-second penalty. Taking full advantage of this, Perez soon caught up to Sainz. The two delivered plenty of wheel-to-wheel action before Perez finally made a move stick on Lap 61.

    Penalties for Sainz, Hamilton and more

    After the race, Aston Martin lodged a protest over the provisional classification, prompting the FIA to hand out additional penalties to eight drivers for track limit infringements. Sainz, Lewis Hamilton, Pierre Gasly, Alex Albon, Esteban Ocon, Logan Sargeant, Nyck de Vries and Yuki Tsunoda were all handed time penalties as a result.

    While this didn’t impact the top three, it did shuffle the rest of the order. Sainz dropped from P4 to P6, promoting Lando Norris to P4 and Fernando Alonso to P5. Hamilton and Gasly also dropped to P8 and P10, respectively.

    2023 F1 championship standings

    Verstappen has now extended his championship lead to 81 points from teammate Perez. Alonso is 19 points behind Perez in third place.

    July is an action-packed month of F1 racing, with four races in five weeks. The next round is at Silverstone on July 7-9.

    2023 Austrian GP results

    2023 Austrian GP results
    PosDriverTeam
    1Max VerstappenRed Bull Racing
    2Charles LeclercFerrari
    3Sergio PerezRed Bull Racing
    4Lando NorrisMcLaren
    5Fernando AlonsoAston Martin
    6Carlos SainzFerrari
    7George RussellMercedes
    8Lewis HamiltonMercedes
    9Lance StrollAston Martin
    10Pierre GaslyAlpine
    11Alex AlbonWilliams
    12Zhou GuanyuAlfa Romeo
    13Logan SargeantWilliams
    14Esteban OconAlpine
    15Valtteri BottasAlfa Romeo
    16Oscar PiastriMcLaren
    17Nyck de VriesAlphaTauri
    18Kevin MagnussenHaas
    19Yuki TsunodaAlphaTauri
    NCNico HulkenbergHaas

    Also see:

    Canadian GP: Verstappen scores Red Bull’s 100th F1 win

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