Red Bull driver Max Verstappen of the Netherlands gestures after winning the Austrian Formula One Grand Prix, at the Red Bull Ring racetrack, in Spielberg, Austria, Sunday, July 2, 2023. (AP Photo/Darko Bandic)
Verstappen started from pole position for the fourth straight race and notched his fifth straight win and seventh in nine races so far this season. Ferrari’s Leclerc finished 5.2 seconds behind Verstappen in second place with Red Bull’s Sergio Perez placing third, 17.2 behind
Reigning Formula One champion Max Verstappen continued his relentless march toward a third straight world title with a dominating win at the Austrian Grand Prix on Sunday.
Verstappen started from pole position for the fourth straight race and notched his fifth straight win and seventh in nine races so far this season. He increased his championship lead to 81 points over his Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez.
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He even got his way to come in two laps from the end for a shot at the fastest lap, despite his team’s reluctance to take the risk. Typically, he got the bonus point for it on the final lap to complete a perfect weekend after his victory from pole in Saturday’s sprint race.
It also took the 25-year-old Dutchman onto 42 F1 wins overall, one ahead of the late Ayrton Senna and alone in fifth place on F1’s all-time list of winners.
Charles Leclerc — last year’s winner here — finished 5.2 seconds behind Verstappen in second place with Red Bull’s Sergio Perez placing third, 17.2 behind.
But Verstappen’s winning margin was shortened by his late pit stop, and it was another comfortable victory on his team’s home track in Spielberg.
Making a clean start from pole, he held off Leclerc on Turns 2 and 3 and easily regained the lead from him following a pit stop at the halfway point of the 71-lap race at the Red Bull Ring.
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton, Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz Jr. and several other drivers received five-second time penalties for going off track limits.
Perez started 15th and passed Sainz with 10 laps left to collect his first podium since his second place at the Miami GP two months ago. Sainz was fourth ahead of McLaren’s Lando Norris and Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso in sixth, Hamilton in seventh and his teammate George Russell in eighth.
Red Bull has won all nine races, all 11 when including the two sprint races with Verstappen’s victory in Saturday’s sprint following Perez’s success in Azerbaijan.
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Drivers lined up on the grid for a minute’s silence in memory of 18-year-old Dutch driver Dilano van ’t Hoff, who died on Saturday after a crash at the Formula Regional European Championship at the Spa-Francorchamps track in Belgium.
F1 holds a race in Belgium on July 30.
(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed – Associated Press)