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Austrian Grand Prix Review – Verstappen and Perez Shine in Spielberg

Max Verstappen produced a flawless performance across the Austrian Grand Prix weekend to win his fifth consecutive race in 2023. 

Max Verstappen produced a flawless performance across the Austrian Grand Prix weekend to win his fifth consecutive race in 2023. 

The Dutch driver was the quickest qualifier for the Sprint and Grand Prix and won both races.

Red Bull Dominates Home Race

Verstappen’s Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez stood on the podium for the first time since the Miami GP at the beginning of May. He finished second in the sprint and third in the GP after starting 15th. 

The Mexican driver has been under pressure from the team and media after several below-par performances. The RB19 is the fastest car in the field and Perez’s ability has been questioned after making mistakes during qualifying sessions.

Verstappen increased his lead over Perez to 81 points with the big haul in Spielberg.

Behind the top three including Charles Leclerc sandwiched between the Red Bull drivers, the field was affected by penalties incurred by exceeding track limits. 

According to F1.com, a string of retrospective penalties for track limit infringements were handed down five hours after the race finished. 

The reason for the delay was due to the high number of infringements that were deemed to have taken place mostly at Turn 9 and 10. 

Carlos Sainz, Lewis Hamilton, Pierre Gasly, Alex Albon, Esteban Ocon, Logan Sargeant, Nyck de Vries, and Yuki Tsunoda were all hit with further penalties. Ocon received a 30-second penalty which demoted him to 14th place. 

Up the order, it was Lando Norris who showed great mettle in his heavily updated McLaren to finish fourth and record his best finish of the season. 

The Briton said: “A very good day! I was a little bit surprised we had the race pace that we did, and it was great to be fighting the Ferraris and Red Bulls. More importantly, we beat both the Astons and Mercedes, which was our main goal today. Overall, a good day and good points.”

Mercedes were buoyed by their strong performance in Montreal two weeks ago, however, they struggled in Austria. Hamilton was handed a five-second penalty for track limits, but he also struggled with the lack of pace from the car. 

He was demoted to eighth and teammate George Russell finished one place ahead due to Hamilton’s infringement. 

The seven-time world champion said: “It was not the greatest of days today. We weren’t expecting to be as slow as we were and our performance this weekend was a surprise. We don’t have the answer as to why just yet, but this track has highlighted several areas of improvement we need to focus on.”

Austrian Grand Prix Final Classifications

DRIVERS

1. Max Verstappen (NED/Red Bull) 1hr 25min 33.607sec, 

2. Charles Leclerc (MON/Ferrari) at 5.155 sec, 

3. Sergio Perez (MEX/Red Bull) 17.188, 

4. Lando Norris (GBR/McLaren-Mercedes) 26.327, 

5. Fernando Alonso (ESP/Aston Martin-Mercedes) 30.317, 

6. Carlos Sainz (ESP/Ferrari) 31.377, 

7. George Russell (GBR/Mercedes) 48.403, 

8. Lewis Hamilton (GBR/Mercedes) 49.196, .  

9. Lance Stroll (CAN/Aston Martin-Mercedes) 59.043, 

10. Pierre Gasly (FRA/Alpine-Renault) 1:67.667, 

11. Alexander Albon (THA/Williams-Mercedes) 1:19.767, 

12. Zhou Guanyu (CHN/Alfa Romeo-Ferrari) 1 lap, 

13. Logan Sargeant (USA/Williams-Mercedes) 1 lap, 

14. Esteban Ocon (FRA/Alpine-Renault) 1 lap, 

15. Valtteri Bottas (FIN/Alfa Romeo-Ferrari) 1 lap, 

16. Oscar Piastri (AUS/McLaren-Mercedes) 1 lap, 

17. Nyck de Vries (NED/AlphaTauri-Red Bull) 1 lap, 

18. Kevin Magnussen (DEN/Haas-Ferrari) 1 lap, 

19. Yuki Tsunoda (JPN/AlphaTauri-Red Bull) 1 lap,

Fastest lap: Max Verstappen (NED/Red Bull) 1:07.012 70th lap

DNF: Nico Hulkenberg (GER/Haas-Ferrari)

World Championship Standings

DRIVERS

1. Max Verstappen (NED) 229pts, 

2. Sergio Perez (MEX) 148, 

3. Fernando Alonso (ESP) 131, 

4. Lewis Hamilton (GBR) 106, 

5. Carlos Sainz Jr (ESP) 82, 

6. Charles Leclerc (MON) 72, 

7. George Russell (GBR) 72, 

8. Lance Stroll (CAN) 44, 

9. Esteban Ocon (FRA) 31, 

10. Lando Norris (GBR) 24, 

11. Pierre Gasly (FRA) 16, 

12. Nico Hulkenberg (GER) 9, 

13. Alexander Albon (THA) 7, 

14. Oscar Piastri (AUS) 5, 

15. Valtteri Bottas (FIN) 5, 

16. Zhou Guanyu (CHN) 4, 

17. Yuki Tsunoda (JPN) 2, 

18. Kevin Magnussen (DEN) 2, 

19. Nyck de Vries (NED) 0, 

20. Logan Sargeant (USA) 0

CONSTRUCTORS

1. Red Bull 377 pts, 

2. Mercedes 178, 

3. Aston Martin-Mercedes 175, 

4. Ferrari 154, 

5. Alpine-Renault 47, 

6. McLaren-Mercedes 29, 

7. Haas-Ferrari 11, 

8. Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 9, 

9. Williams-Mercedes 7, 

10. AlphaTauri 2

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Sean Parker is a motorsport journalist and sports content creator at The South African. He has worked for the country's premier motoring publications, and is a Formula 1 contributor to Bet.co.za, the Bet Central podcast, and Vision View Sports radio.

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