Verstappen Secures 3rd Sprint Race Win of the Season at Austrian Grand Prix

Verstappen Clinches Third Sprint Race Victory at Austrian Grand Prix

SPIELBERG, Austria — Max Verstappen, Formula 1 leader, fended off an early challenge from Lando Norris before steadily pulling away from the McLaren duo to secure his third sprint race triumph of the season on Saturday at the Austrian Grand Prix.

Max Verstappen fends off McLaren charge for Austrian GP Sprint victory -  BusinessToday

Verstappen crossed the finish line 4.616 seconds ahead of McLaren’s Oscar Piastri, maintaining a flawless record of sprint race wins this season. Norris followed closely behind, trailing by 0.732 seconds in third place.

The dominant Verstappen has now claimed victory in seven out of ten Grand Prix races this season, positioning himself strongly for a fourth consecutive F1 title. Despite facing significant early pressure, Verstappen expressed satisfaction with the hard-fought win.

“We had to work for it,” Verstappen commented.

Starting from second position, Norris initially shadowed Verstappen closely, utilizing his DRS (Drag Reduction System) to mount several challenges. On lap five, Norris briefly overtook Verstappen with a bold move on the straight before Verstappen swiftly reclaimed the lead at the next corner. Amidst the battle, Norris also yielded to Piastri, who couldn’t mount a substantial challenge to Verstappen thereafter.

Max Verstappen seizes victory in F1 Sprint at Austrian GP, but Oscar  Piastri and Lando Norris made him earn it -

Verstappen attributed his success to escaping the DRS zone of the McLarens, which allowed him to control the race pace effectively.

“It was a good first lap, but once the DRS opens it is very hard to get out of it,” Verstappen acknowledged. “Once we cleared the DRS, I could manage my race.”

Following an aborted start that necessitated an additional formation lap, the race was shortened by one lap. Verstappen’s victory extends his lead over Norris by two points in the overall standings, with the defending champion now enjoying a 71-point advantage over his closest rival.

Charles Leclerc of Ferrari, currently third in the standings, finished a distant seventh in the sprint race, falling six points behind Norris.

Reflecting on the competition, Norris conceded, “A good race between us, especially with Max at the beginning was good fun. I don’t think we had the pace to challenge Max today.”

Qualifying for Sunday’s main Austrian GP will take place later on Saturday.