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Formula 1 Austrian Grand Prix 2024

Verstappen survives early McLaren charge to claim Austria sprint win

Max Verstappen saw off the McLarens of Oscar Piastri and Lando Norris to take sprint victory at the Austrian Grand Prix.

Verstappen McLaren Austria
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To news overview © Red Bull Content Pool

Max Verstappen took victory in the sprint at the Austrian Grand Prix, leading home the McLarens of Oscar Piastri and Lando Norris.

After a frenetic and entertaining start, the race settled into a more balanced pace - with the inter-team battle between the MCL38s the last major fight to be decided. Piastri ultimately able to fend off his more experienced team-mate.

George Russell, Carlos Sainz and Lewis Hamilton ultimately remained unchanged in fourth, fifth and sixth. 

The big mover was the other Ferrari of Charles Leclerc, who fought his way into the points and past the Red Bull of Sergio Perez, who rounded out the points finishers.

Result Sprintrace - Austrian

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Opening salvo

All 20 drivers began the sprint on medium Pirellis, with only the Stakes of Valtteri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu on fresh yellow-walled rubber.

Alexander Albon was the sole pit-lane starter, following a poor sprint qualifying - Williams opting to make changes to his FW46.

The first start was aborted, for reasons not immediately identified. The lights were late to come on, before the field was sent round for a second formation lap. It soon became clear that photographers at Turn 1 were stood beyond the safety barriers, posing a risk and causing the delay.

With the race subsequently reduced from 23 to 22 laps, Max Verstappen fended off the two McLarens into the first corner as Woking cars fought between themselves behind.

Both Ferraris enjoyed strong starts - Carlos Sainz seized the initiative, taking fourth from George Russell, whilst Charles Leclerc dispatched of both Alpines to reach the outer reaches of the points.

The Monegasque would soon be past Sergio Perez and into seventh-place. Both French drivers fell like stones to P11 and P12, respectively, with Kevin Magnussen and Lance Stroll up and into the top 10.

Battle at the front

Despite Verstappen leading early, it would prove to not be a foregone conclusion, as was so often the case in the past.

Repeatedly over the opening laps, Lando Norris reeled in the Red Bull through the early stages of the lap to launch an attack at Turn 4.

On lap 5, the Briton would surprise the Dutchman at Turn 3, but a strong move up the inside of Turn 4 saw Verstappen re-gain the lead - Norris pushed wide and behind team-mate Oscar Piastri, who completed an excellent move around the other McLaren at Turn 6.

The Australian would soon find himself fighting to stay within a second of Verstappen and in the safe confines of DRS reach. He would ultimately fail in his mission, with the triple-world champion able to settle into a more comfortable pace.

Russell would find his way back past the Ferrari of Sainz as the early frenetic pace cooled somewhat. However, the Mercedes-Ferrari-Mercedes-Ferrari train would remain unchanged through the rest of the race, with Perez slightly further adrift in eight-position.

Outside the points, Nico Hulkenberg found himself under investigation for a robust move on Fernando Alonso. The result of that investigation will be determined after the race.

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