Max Verstappen almost lost the lead for the first time in almost two months of Formula 1 racing on the first lap of the Sprint in Austria, after being pushed off-track by his teammate.
Verstappen was able to keep on the wheel, though, and came back out of the turn as the leader, and went on to lead the rest of the Sprint.
“The start wasn’t ideal,” Verstappen said following the race to F1 Media. “A bit of wheelspin. After that, after lap one, once we got back in the lead, it was good.
“Just managed the tires. Knowing it wasn’t going to rain anymore and that 24 laps on an intermediate [tire] was quite a lot, but they were hanging in there a lot… It was a little bit of a hairy moment out of turn 1 [on the first lap], and of course when you get water in the grass it’s very slippery. But we managed to keep the car under control and from then on, we just did our race again.
Sergio Perez was able to recover to finish second, 21 seconds behind Verstappen in the 24-lap race. At one point, Perez lost his position to Nico Hulkenburg, but was able to get back around the Haas driver to make it a Red Bull 1-2 finish.
The race began in the rain, but it stopped after five laps. The remaining 19 laps became a question on if or when to go to dry tires. Ultimately, 11 of 20 drivers chose to pit for dry tires, with the highest finisher being Hulkenburg in sixth.
The battle for seventh came down to the wire, with Esteban Ocon on his intermediate tires nipping George Russell on his soft tires by nine thousandths of a second. Russell’s eighth place was the final points paying position of the race.
There were no incidents, wrecks or stalls during the race.
Lights out for the Austrian Grand Prix will come on Sunday, July 2 at 10 a.m. ET on ESPN.
About the author
Michael has watched NASCAR for 20 years and regularly covered the sport from 2013-2021. He moved on to Formula 1, IndyCar, and SRX coverage for the site, while still putting a toe in the water from time-to-time back into the NASCAR pool.
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