Max Verstappen helped Red Bull win at home, at the Austrian GP and Sergio Perez brought the double podium finishing P3.
The Austrian GP and the second print race of the 2023 season gave us a weekend full of action. The new sprint format has brought more excitement to the race track. Many drivers saw good points opportunities all weekend long.
With the new format, this qualifying only counted for Sunday’s race and another was to be done on Saturday before the sprint. The FIA didn’t want to miss the action and was throwing penalties left, right, and center for track limits.
Both Red Bull drivers got their Q2 times deleted just after getting the P1 and P2. They did a second flying lap that secured their spot for the Q3. However, Sergio Perez’s time got deleted once again and was sent to P15. Many others were affected by the time penalties as well.
In Q3 the action got really intense. Verstappen quickly got the first position but he wasn’t safe until the end. Charles Leclerc wanted to put things difficult for the Dutch driver and managed to get a great flying lap. Sadly this wasn’t enough to beat Max’s time staying 0.048 seconds away.
Carlos Sainz secured the third position, setting the two Ferraris in the right position to attack Verstappen on Sunday. Lando Norris managed to qualify P4. Lance Stroll out-qualified his teammate Fernando Alonso after Alonso’s time got deleted.
With the new sprint format, a faster qualifying was held to set the starting positions for the sprint race. This time around it was a Red Bull front row with Verstappen and Perez qualifying P1 and P2. Norris managed another great qualifying finishing P3. However, the big surprise was Nico Hülkenberg who qualified P4 with Medium tires.
The rain started to cover the track with water right before the start. Everyone except Valtteri Bottas started with Inters. Max and Sergio had a head-to-head fight in the first few corners, almost ending the sprint for both of them. However, this was the only real challenge Verstappen faced during the race. Hülkenberg managed to pass Checo for a while and gave him a fight to return the position.
On the last few laps, the track started to dry up and almost everyone that was outside the points changed to slicks. It did pay off for some of them that began to fly and pass those that didn’t change tiers.
The Sprint ended with a Red Bull 1-2 and with Carlos on P3.
Max Verstappen was on pole, Charles and Sainz where there to put presuer on him. From the beginning Leclerc started to presure Verstappen trying to get that first position from the dutch. Max managed to keep him at bay and mantain that first position. Due to some debry after a colision in the start a sefty car had to be deployed so it could be clean of the track. The race was resarted quickly.
Sergio Perez that was starting form P15 started to pass his rivals one by one and quickly found himself in the points.
Lewis Hamilton saw the black and white flag with only 12 laps due to track limits.
Nico Hülkenberg saw an early end to his race after an engine failuer in the lap 17. He was in the points however ened with none after the incredible qualifying. This provoked a virtual safty car therefore many entered the pitstop with an early “economic” stop.
The middle sector was a complete war zone with all the track limits and all the cars fighting. Nobody could predict how the race was going to end.
After 71 laps Max Verstappen got his 7th win of the season, Charles Leclerc managed to defend that second position to win the 800th podium for Ferrari, and Sergio Perez got the third place after an incredible drive from P15.
However, nobody could rest since investigations were on the way due to track limits after the race. 12 hours after the end of the race the FIA finally finished reviewing and penalized many driver.
- Carlos Sainz; 10 seconds, from P4 to P6
- Lewis Hamilton; 10 seconds, from P7 to P8
- Pierre Gasly; 10 seconds, from P9 to P10
- Alex Albon; 10 seconds, remained P11
- Esteban Ocon; 30 seconds from P12 to P14
- Logan Sargent; 10 seconds, remained P13
- Nyck de Vris; 15 seconds, P15 to P17
- Yuki Tsunoda 5 seconds P18 to P19
This changed the panaorama for many drivers but the podium stayed the same.
What do you think about all this controversy revolving around the track limits?