Max Verstappen tames Red Bull Ring again: 'The car is good'

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Max Verstappen of Red Bull Racing (Photo by Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Max Verstappen of Red Bull Racing (Photo by Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Max Verstappen tamed the Red Bull Ring again with success in the sprint on Saturday to secure pole for the Austrian Grand Prix and extend his lead in the world championship.

Starting from the front of the grid, the defending title holder comfortably held off the Ferraris of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz to turn the air orange as his army of Dutch fans set off flares in celebration.

"It was great to see the fans - a lot of smoke at the end!" Verstappen said, after doing a lap of honour in a Red Bull buggy.

As well as claiming pole in Sunday's 11th race of the season, Verstappen also added eight points to his drivers standings account.

"The car is good, just a few things to fine-tune but overall we are really competitive again this weekend," he added.

Results of the Austrian Grand Prix sprint race at the Red Bull Ring circuit in Spielberg on Saturday:

1. Max Verstappen (NED/Red Bull) 26mins 30.059sec, 2. Charles Leclerc (MON/Ferrari) at 1.675sec, 3. Carlos Sainz Jr (ESP/Ferrari) 5.644, 4. George Russell (GBR/Mercedes) 13.429, 5. Sergio Pérez (MEX/Red Bull) 18.302, 6. Esteban Ocon (FRA/Alpine-Renault) 31.032, 7. Kevin Magnussen (DEN/Haas-Ferrari)  34.539, 8. Lewis Hamilton (GBR/Mercedes) 35.447, 9. Mick Schumacher (GER/Haas-Ferrari) 37.163, 10. Valtteri Bottas (FIN/Alfa Romeo) 37.557, 11. Lando Norris (GBR/McLaren-Mercedes) 38.580, 12. Daniel Ricciardo (AUS/McLaren-Mercedes) 39.738, 13. Lance Stroll (CAN/Aston Martin-Mercedes) 48.241, 14. Zhou Guanyu (CHN/Alfa Romeo) 50.753, 15. Pierre Gasly (FRA/AlphaTauri-Red Bull) 52.125, 16. Alexander Albon (THA/Williams-Mercedes) 52.412, 17. Yuki Tsunoda (JPN/AlphaTauri-Red Bull) 54.456, 18. Nicholas Latifi (CAN/Williams-Mercedes) 68.694, 19. Sebastian Vettel (GER/Aston Martin-Mercedes) - retired but classified

DNS: Fernando Alonso (ESP/Alpine-Renault) 

World championship standings


1. Max Verstappen (NED) 189 pts, 2. Sergio Pérez (MEX) 151, 3. Charles Leclerc (MON) 145, 4. Carlos Sainz Jr (ESP) 133, 5. George Russell (GBR) 116, 6. Lewis Hamilton (GBR) 94, 7. Lando Norris (GBR) 58, 8. Valtteri Bottas (FIN) 46, 9. Esteban Ocon (FRA) 42, 10. Fernando Alonso (ESP) 28, 11. Kevin Magnussen (DEN) 18, 12. Pierre Gasly (FRA) 16, 13. Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) 15, 14. Sebastian Vettel (GER) 15, 15. Yuki Tsunoda (JPN) 11, 16. Zhou Guanyu (CHN) 5, 17. Mick Schumacher (GER) 4, 18. Alexander Albon (THA) 3, 19. Lance Stroll (CAN) 3, 20. Nicholas Latifi (CAN) 0, 21. Nico Hulkenberg 0


1. Red Bull 340 pts, 2. Ferrari 278, 3. Mercedes 210, 4. McLaren-Mercedes 73, 5. Alpine-Renault 70, 6. Alfa Romeo 51, 7. AlphaTauri-Red Bull 27, 8. Haas-Ferrari 22, 9. Aston Martin-Mercedes 18, 10. Williams-Mercedes 3

Leclerc, who starts on the front row, is counting on a good start on Sunday "to put a bit more pressure on Max".

Sainz, fresh from his maiden win at Silverstone last weekend, commented: "I think we can fight from there and get onto the podium from those positions. That will be the target. So hopefully we're able to succeed on that."

George Russell for Mercedes took fourth ahead of Verstappen's Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez who made his way through much of the field after starting in 13th.

Esteban Ocon for Alpine and Kevin Magnussen were in sixth and seventh with Lewis Hamilton picking up the final point on offer in eighth.

Both Hamilton and Russell were only taking part after their mechanics had worked flat to the boards to repair their cars after both crashed in qualifying.

"I'm grateful I managed to survive out there today," said Hamilton.

"The team did such a great job to get the car back together last night and this morning. A big thank you to them and I'm glad I brought it back mostly in one piece."

He added: "I'm giving everything I can tomorrow."

There was drama at the start when first Fernando Alonso's Alpine refused to budge when the formation lap began with the double world champion's race over before it had begun.

Then as the pack formed for lights out Zhou Guanyu had an issue at the back. "The engine switched off guys," the Alfa Romeo driver reported. the field were sent on a second formation lap.

Verstappen held off the Ferraris at the first corner to enjoy a smooth win, his third on the trot at the circuit in the Styrian mountains after taking both grand prix staged in Spielberg last year.

He beat Leclerc as well in the first sprint of the season in Imola, and he will be hoping he can, as in Italy, also go on to win the grand prix 24 hours later.

While he encountered little trouble over the 100km dash, winning by 1.675 seconds, there was plenty going on behind him.

Hamilton was kept frustrated for far longer than he appreciated by Mick Schumacher's Haas, with the German later reporting that while his battle with the seven time world champion had been "fun" he would have preferred to have been freed by his team to pass Magnussen.

At the start there was contact between Hamilton's Mercedes and the Alpha Tauri of Pierre Gasly, who went spinning off.

"I'm extremely disappointed, we started the Sprint in the top 10 and before the first corner it was already over," said the French driver.

"I don't really know what happened, so I need to review it later, but I was alongside Lewis and all of a sudden, I was facing the wrong way on the race track."

Going into Sunday's race Verstappen leads Perez by 38 points with Leclerc 44 points behind in third.

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