2023 F1 Sprint Race: Verstappen Dominates In Mixed Conditions After Tussle With Teammate
By Yashraj Singh
4 mins read
Published on July 2, 2023
- Verstappen dominated the Sprint qualifying and the race, crossing the finish line over 20 seconds ahead of Sergio Perez and Carlos Sainz.
- Lando Norris suffered a setback, falling from fourth to 10th place in the opening laps of the race.
- Esteban Ocon narrowly fended off George Russell by 0.009s, the latter claiming the final points-paying position in a thrilling battle to the finish line.
Sprint Qualifying Shoot-Out:
Max Verstappen showcased his talent and speed during a challenging qualifying session at the Austrian Grand Prix, securing pole position for the Sprint Shootout race. The Red Bull driver delivered impressive lap times in the SQ3 phase, outperforming his teammate Sergio Perez and McLaren's Lando Norris.
Verstappen's dominant performance included two laps quick enough for the top spot on the grid. He initially set a time of 1m 04.613s, but quickly improved to a blistering 1m 04.440s. Perez, recovering from difficulties on Friday, finished half a second behind his teammate. Norris and Haas driver Nico Hulkenberg were also standout performers in qualifying, securing spots on the second row for the Sprint race that would follow later in the day. They managed to outpace the Ferrari duo of Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc.
Aston Martin had a strong showing, with Fernando Alonso and Lance Stroll finishing seventh and eighth respectively. Esteban Ocon from Alpine and Kevin Magnussen from Haas completed the top 10 places.
Also Read: F1: 2023 Miami GP Race Report
Alex Albon narrowly missed out on a top-10 grid position, falling short in 11th place during the SQ2 phase. Pierre Gasly from AlphaTauri and Yuki Tsunoda from AlphaTauri also failed to advance, while Nyck de Vries from Williams finished in 14th place.
Mercedes driver George Russell avoided elimination in the initial qualifying phase, but he encountered a hydraulic problem and was unable to improve his position, finishing 15th in SQ2. His teammate, Lewis Hamilton was also out of position following a shock SQ1 exit after qualifying P18. Zhou Guanyu from Alfa Romeo spun early in the session and ended up in 16th place.
As the race start approached, raindrops began to fall and intensified, leading to a damp track. Most drivers opted for intermediate tires, except for Valtteri Bottas from Alfa Romeo, who gambled on mediums. Perez took advantage of the wet conditions and overtook Verstappen at the start, but Verstappen quickly fought back to regain the lead.
The opening laps were filled with intense battles, with Verstappen and Perez exchanging positions multiple times, and Hulkenberg applying pressure from behind. Verstappen eventually settled into a comfortable lead, while Perez faced challenges from Sainz.
Throughout the race, the top runners stayed on intermediate tires, maintaining a sufficient margin over those who switched to slicks later on. The revised Sprint format included extra points for the top eight finishers, adding further motivation for the drivers.
Charles Leclerc received a grid penalty, demoting him to ninth place, after impeding McLaren rookie Oscar Piastri in the initial qualifying phase. The rain continued to make conditions unpredictable, and teams closely monitored the track's drying progress.
Verstappen extended his lead over Hulkenberg, maintaining a gap of around five seconds. Despite concerns about the front-left tire, Verstappen's performance remained impeccable. Sainz made his move and overtook Hulkenberg, securing a podium finish alongside Verstappen and Perez.
Behind the leading pack, intense battles for points ensued. Ocon, Leclerc, and Norris engaged in wheel-to-wheel action, with Norris waiting for an opportunity to pounce. With eight laps remaining, drivers began switching to slick tires, hoping to gain an advantage on the drying track.
Verstappen's dominant performance allowed him to secure a commanding victory, crossing the finish line over 20 seconds ahead of Perez. Sainz completed the podium, followed by Stroll and Alonso. Hulkenberg made a strong recovery to finish in sixth place, the highest among those who switched to slicks.
Ocon held off Russell by a mere 0.009 seconds to claim the final points-paying position, with Norris and Hamilton narrowly missing out in ninth and tenth, respectively. The Sprint race provided thrilling moments, with Piastri, Leclerc, Albon, and Magnussen also finishing in the points.
The action-packed race saw Tsunoda and De Vries finish 16th and 17th while Sargeant and the Alfa Romeo duo of Zhou and Bottas brought up the rear of the field.
The Austrian Grand Prix Sprint Shootout delivered excitement and surprises, setting the stage for a (hopefully) exhilarating main race on Sunday. Verstappen's pole position and dominant victory showcased his formidable skills, but the stars of the show were the brawlers lower down the order leaving fans eager for more thrilling battles on Red Bull's home soil.
Last Updated on July 2, 2023
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