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Verstappen Holds Firm in Lacklustre Austria Sprint

Verstappen Clinches Routine F1 Sprint Win in Austria

29/06/2024

Verstappen clinches F1 Sprint victory in Austria, overcoming fierce competition from McLaren in a thrilling race at Spielberg.

The F1 Sprint Qualification at the Austrian Grand Prix yielded few surprises, with Max Verstappen securing pole position ahead of Lando Norris. However, the 100-kilometre race could be tightly contested, as the margins between the two drivers remain slim.

Teams will also benefit from the data gathered during the Sprint Qualification and the short race to make adjustments to their vehicles. Notably, the Parc Fermé conditions will be lifted following this, up until the qualifications for Sunday’s race.

Behind the two front-row drivers, Oscar Piastri ranks third, ahead of George Russell, then Carlos Sainz, Lewis Hamilton, Sergio Pérez, Esteban Ocon, Pierre Gasly, and Charles Leclerc, who encountered an issue in SQ3.

Kevin Magnussen and Lance Stroll are positioned on the sixth row, preceding Fernando Alonso and Yuki Tsunoda, followed by Logan Sargeant and Daniel Ricciardo. Nico Hülkenberg and Valtteri Bottas are next, ahead of Guanyu Zhou, who will start alone on the last row as Alex Albon begins from the pits.

The Thai driver lamented not making aggressive enough setup changes after the Sprint Qualification, but his 19th place does not significantly hinder him if he wishes to adjust his settings. This will likely allow him to fine-tune his setup for the qualification and the race.

At 11:57 AM, the entire grid started on medium tyres.

At 12:03 PM, the start procedure was interrupted due to a poorly positioned photographer, leading to an additional formation lap and reducing the Sprint from 24 to 23 laps.

At the start, Verstappen took the lead while Piastri drew level with Norris but did not pass. Leclerc overtook the Alpines.

In lap 1, the Monegasque driver passed Pérez, while Sainz overtook Russell, and Hamilton pressed behind his teammate. Magnussen had a good start and was ninth, and Ocon tenth ahead of Stroll and Gasly, while Tsunoda overtook Alonso.

In lap 2, Norris stayed close to Verstappen as DRS was activated. Stroll passed Ocon.

In lap 3, Norris set the fastest lap of the race at 1’08″935 and closed to within less than half a second of Norris. In the top 8, no driver had more than a one-second lead over the one chasing him, and Piastri also pressed his teammate.

In lap 4, Norris pressed hard against Verstappen, but the Red Bull maintained its advantage on the straight. The Brit attempted to overtake his rival at turn 5, to no avail.

In lap 5, Norris attacked and passed Verstappen for the lead, but the Red Bull driver regained the position by pushing his rival slightly outward. Piastri took the opportunity to attack his teammate and move into second!

In lap 6, Piastri was within half a second of Verstappen. Leclerc was 1.3 seconds behind Hamilton, with positions stable throughout the field.

In lap 7, Piastri was less aggressive than Norris behind Verstappen, and the Brit was slightly further from the other McLaren. Sainz had dropped to over a second and a half behind Norris.

In lap 8, Russell overtook Sainz for fourth place, the Spaniard losing pace.

In lap 9, Piastri was half a second behind Verstappen while Norris was pushed back to 1.5 seconds behind his teammate. Russell was 2.2 seconds off third, and it appeared the field was stretching a bit. Russell could not distance Sainz. Leclerc had caught up to the Mercedes and his teammate, while Pérez fell 2 seconds behind this group.

In lap 10, the gap between Verstappen and Piastri exceeded one second for the first time during the race.

In lap 11, the field lagged behind the top 8, who were scoring points, as Magnussen was 5 seconds behind Pérez. Ahead, Verstappen had a 1.5-second margin over Piastri, and the gap between him and Norris was similar.

In lap 12, the gaps stabilized in the top 8 and positions remained unchanged, with the medium tyres beginning to wear. Ocon was threatened by Gasly, but the two drivers maintained their order.

In lap 14, the gap between Verstappen and Piastri widened to 2 seconds, while Norris closed to within seven-tenths of the other McLaren.

In lap 16, Norris increased his pressure on Piastri. Russell was 3.2 seconds behind the McLarens, with Sainz and Hamilton still in pursuit. Leclerc lagged slightly, and Pérez even more so, as he no longer gained time on Magnussen’s Haas.

In lap 18, the end of the Sprint was calm, with positions appearing fixed at all levels of the hierarchy.

In lap 20, Verstappen continued to lead comfortably, extending his gap to 3.6 seconds. Hamilton remained aggressive behind Sainz but seemed unable to find an opening, particularly as worn tyres did not aid in confident braking or good traction.

In lap 21, Lando Norris received two warnings for exceeding track limits at turn 1, and Alonso received one. Hülkenberg overtook Alonso, who was 16th.

At the finish, Verstappen won the Austrian GP Sprint after being challenged early in the race by the McLarens. However, following their skirmish, the Dutchman faced no further threats, with Piastri unable to exert the same pressure as Norris. Piastri and Norris finished second and third, ahead of Russell, Sainz, Hamilton, Leclerc, and Pérez, among the point-scoring drivers.

Magnussen secured a commendable ninth place ahead of Stroll, Ocon, Gasly, Tsunoda, Hülkenberg, Ricciardo, Alonso, and Sargeant. Albon managed to break away from the back and thus finished 18th, ahead of Bottas and Zhou.

Pos.DriverTeamDiff
01Max VerstappenRed Bull Honda RBPT RB2023 Laps- 29m15.814s
02Oscar PiastriMcLaren Mercedes MCL38+4.616
03Lando NorrisMcLaren Mercedes MCL38+5.348
04George RussellMercedes W15+8.354
05Carlos SainzFerrari SF-24+9.989
06Lewis HamiltonMercedes W15+11.207
07Charles LeclercFerrari SF-24+13.424
08Sergio PérezRed Bull Honda RBPT RB20+17.409
09Kevin MagnussenHaas Ferrari VF-24+24.067
10Lance StrollAston Martin Mercedes AMR24+30.175
11Esteban OconAlpine Renault A524+30.839
12Pierre GaslyAlpine Renault A524+31.308
13Yuki TsunodaRB Honda RBPT VCARB 01+35.452
14Nico HülkenbergHaas Ferrari VF-24+38.423
15Daniel RicciardoRB Honda RBPT VCARB 01+39.397
16Fernando AlonsoAston Martin Mercedes AMR24+43.155
17Logan SargeantWilliams Mercedes FW46+44.076
18Alex AlbonWilliams Mercedes FW46+44.673
19Valtteri BottasStake F1 Kick Sauber C44+46.511
20Guanyu ZhouStake F1 Kick Sauber C44+53.143

Verstappen Holds Firm in Lacklustre Austria Sprint. Verstappen Holds Firm in Lacklustre Austria Sprint. f1 2024 Verstappen Holds Firm in Lacklustre Austria Sprint

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