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Max Verstappen wins sprintrace in Austria: 'We had to work for it'

Published on 29 June 2024 by Florence Cobben

Max Verstappen has won the Austrian sprint race after an exciting start. Max got a good start from pole, but quickly saw Lando Norris in his rearview mirror. An exciting fight broke out in lap five, when Norris took the lead from Verstappen, but the Oracle Red Bull Racing-driver quickly countered and retook the lead. Max extended his lead on the McLarens, eventually putting a 4.6 second distance between him and Oscar Piastri, winning his third sprintrace of the season. Norris finished in P3, behind Piastri.

After the sprintrace Max was greeted by the loud cheering of the Austria Red Bull Ring spectators: "It was a good first lap, but then once DRS opens, it's very hard to get out. It took a few laps. Few exciting battles as well. But once we cleared DRS, then I could do my own race. But you could see the two cars were pushing flat out, trying to make things a bit more difficult for me, and we had to work for it in that race." 

Despite the sprintrace win, Max is not entirely convinced of a Grand Prix win tomorrow: "We need to have a look at the whole race. I was busy with myself, so we have to look at the data, and also that of the others. See if we can do better tomorrow."

It was a dry and sunny day in the packed circuit in Spielberg, Austria. The tribunes hosted many tens of thousands of orange-clad Max Verstappen supporters. During the 24 lap-sprint race, all drivers were on medium tyres, with Alex Albon starting from the pitlane. The first start was aborted, but the second attempt saw the drivers well and truly on their way. Max gets a clean start from pole, followed by both McLarens. 

Norris stays within DRS-range of Verstappen and tries an overtake maneuver in round five on the inside of turn three. Norris takes the lead but comes out badly from the turn. Max, without DRS, overtakes him in turn four and retakes the lead. Piastri also benefits from the maneuver and passes Norris to claim second place. 

However, he's too far behind Max to exercise any pressure on him. The Australian falls out of DRS-range and the three-time worldchampion gets started on increasing the distance to P2. The win comes after a race where Max was in no real danger, and he crosses the line to the cheers of the ecstatic audience. Piastri crosses the line 4.6 seconds behind Verstappen in P2, with teammate Norris right behind him in P3. The Mercedes and Ferraris spent the whole race within throwing distance of eachother. George Russell eventually finished fourth, followed by Carlos Sainz in fifth. Lewis Hamilton and Charles Leclerc finish in P6 and P7, with Sergio Perez claiming the last point.

This afternoon at 16:00 the qualifying round for the Grand Prix of Austria will start. 

Contest GP Austria: win a by Max Verstappen signed Racing cap!