F1: Max Verstappen takes the lead at the Austrian Grand Prix

SPIELBERG, Austria – Red Bull driver Max Verstappen triumphed after leading the sprint race from start to finish on Saturday at the Austrian Formula 1 Grand Prix.

Verstappen won the 23-lap event, which was scheduled to be 24, but withdrew one lap due to rider errors at the back of the grid with a bright sun and comfortable temperatures in the Red Bull Ring.

“We had a good pace at the start, and then we all found ourselves on equal terms. It’s a sprint race, and we gave it our all … They (the Ferraris) were fighting in the back, so I was able to take a good lead, but then it stabilized. The car is good, we just have to adjust some parameters, but overall we are still very competitive this weekend, “said Verstappen, who also won the first sprint race of the season at the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix. in April.

The Dutchman crossed the finish line 1,675 seconds ahead of Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc, while his ‘Scuderia’ teammate Carlos Sainz Jr. has completed the podium.

“It was dangerous, especially in the first part of the race, because I had to fight with Carlos, then I was able to advance towards the end … We hope we have a good start tomorrow (Sunday) to be able to catch Max. said Leclerc.

“We will have to improve our pace a bit because Max seemed very strong at the start, so we will have to reduce the difference … Tomorrow will be a different race, and the most important thing is that we are in the fight. and we will give everything to update it “, added Sainz fils.

Mercedes drivers George Russell and Alpine Esteban Ocon completed the top-5, in order.

Sergio Pérez (Red Bull), Kevin Magnussen (Haas) and Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) followed in the next three rungs.

For his part, Quebec’s Lance Stroll finished 13th, and Toronto’s Nicholas Latifi 18th.

Only the top eight riders at the finish of the sprint race got championship points.

It was the second sprint race to be held this season, after the one held as part of the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix in April. The result of this short race was used to determine the order of departure of the Austrian Grand Prix on Sunday.

As Verstappen flew over the circuit, to the delight of the tide of spectators dressed in orange to cheer on the Dutch driver, a big fight unfolded in the back between the two Ferrari drivers. Sainz, who won the first race of his career last weekend at Silverstone, tried several advances at the expense of Leclerc, but failed to surprise the Monegasque.

Mercedes had to work hard for the 24 hours prior to the start of the speed race because Russell and Hamilton left the track the day before qualifying, which damaged their respective cars.

The German team also indicated before the second free practice session this morning that it had replaced the chassis of Hamilton’s car, which was irreparable. That didn’t stop the seven-time world champion from climbing to the points.

Stroll’s Aston Martin teammate Sebastian Vettel visited the gravel trap after a collision with Williams driver Alexander Albon on lap 12. The German was able to return to the track, but, after wasting a lot of time, but the British team asked him to pit back to retire on the last lap.

The sprint race was marked by an error by the alpine team, which forgot to remove the heating housings from the tires of Fernando Alonso’s car before the warm-up lap. The Spaniard, then, had to go back to the pits, and was never able to leave.

For his part, Alfa Romeo driver Guanyu Zhou, the victim of a spectacular accident last weekend at the British Grand Prix, grabbed a button that caused the immobilization of his car a few meters from the grid output, causing another hot output. back up, the time to allow the Chinese to revive. Zhou finished 14th.

The start was marked by a collision between Alpha Tauri driver Pierre Gasly and Hamilton, which caused a turn for the French driver. The two men were able to continue, however, without too much damage.

Verstappen now leads the world championship with 189 points, 38 more than teammate Perez. Leclerc is third with 145.

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