Austrian Grand Prix LIVE: Max Verstappen away and clear as Hamilton passes Norris
LAP 33: Verstappen pits without fuss and maintains his huge lead. Hamilton is 12 seconds behind the Dutchman. The Mercedes man has been told to look after his tyres in a bid to get to the end of the race. Expect Verstappen and Red Bull to cover that strategy and do exactly the same.
LAP 32: Norris and Bottas both pit, with the Finn taking advantage of the Brit’s five-second penalty to pass him in pit lane. He’s now in third.
Hamilton comes in and pits in 2.2 seconds, with Verstappen set to come in at the end of this lap.
LAP 25: Hamilton has put 3.1 seconds between himself and Norris already, but he faces a big battle to reel in Verstappen. The Dutchman is currently 10.7 seconds clear in the lead. Both men are still to pit, however, and the strategy battle between Red Bull and Mercedes will be every bit as intriguing as the battle on the track.
LAP 20: Disaster for Lando Norris. First, he’s slapped with a five-second time penalty from the stewards for forcing Perez off the track. Then the McLaren man was passed by Hamilton for second in the same lap.
However, things might not be too great for Hamilton, either. Norris just told his crew that Hamilton’s “brakes are on fire.”
Hamilton was on the radio, too, but he just wanted to pay tribute to his fellow countryman. “Such a great driver, Lando,” he said.
LAP 14: The stewards are investigating the incident between Norris and Perez that saw the latter go into the gravel. Red Bull team boss Christian Horner admitted to Sky Sports F1 that he thought it was a racing incident. But the stewards are having a look.
LAP 11: Lewis Hamilton is reporting that it’s “very hard to follow” Lando Norris and, despite the advantage of DRS, he hasn’t been able to get his Mercedes past the McLaren yet. Norris, meanwhile, isn’t interested in his team’s updates on Pierre Gasly’s pace. Clearly, the aim is to ensure he finishes ahead of the AlphaTauri racer, but with the Brit running second to Gasly’s fifth, he’s not bothered. “I don’t care!” he said, over radio.
LAP 8: Max Verstappen is banging in the fastest laps as he builds an advantage at the head of the field. He’s 3.3 seconds clear of Norris, who is just ahead of Hamilton, who now has DRS. Daniel Ricciardo has carved through the field and is up to ninth, ahead of Perez, who is mired in 10th after his brief trip into the kitty litter.
LAP 4: Verstappen backs up the pack and causes chaos in the restart. Norris somehow fights off Perez and, with the Mercedes pair charging up behind them, the Red Bull man loses it into the gravel and will have to fight his way back through the pack.
Perez was straight onto the radio claiming Norris “pushed me off” but he never seemed to be ahead of the Briton, so that’s an arguable point. What we do know is Norris is still second, and he’s being caught by Lewis Hamilton, who is desperate to get past the McLaren and get after Verstappen out front.
LIGHTS OUT! We’re off and running at the Austrian Grand Prix, and it’s Max Verstappen who goes into Turn 1 first. Norris keeps it clean in second and Lewis Hamilton is looking racy already. He’s chasing down Perez. But just as things seemed to be getting settled, the organisers release the safety car after Sebastian Ocon was caught in a sandwich at the back of the pack after Turn 2.
1:50pm: Another man to watch today is Williams’ George Russell. The young Englishman is desperate to be in the seat of a competitive car as soon as possible, and rumours linking him with Valtteri Bottas’ seat at Mercedes refuse to go away.
Today, he’s in great shape after qualifying ninth, then moving up to eighth after Sebastian Vettel’s three-place grid penalty for impeding Fernando Alonso’s hot lap in qualifying.
Russell will not only start further up the grid, he’ll also get the chance to start the race on the same medium-compound tyres as the quick guys ahead of him. It’s the best possible scenario for the Williams man, who will look to secure his first race points for Williams today.
But there’s been a pre-race scare, with Russell reporting issues with the back of his car during his out lap. His team told him the car’s data is showing no problems and to form up on the grid, as usual. But we won’t know for sure until the lights go out.
Will Russell’s car be OK? Can he show decent race pace like he did last week before he was forced out of the race? Can he get a top 10 finish? His progress will be one of the fascinating stories of today’s race.
1:45pm: While it might be a potentially huge day for Norris and McLaren, it’s a damage limitation exercise for the team that has dominated F1 for the past seven years.
Mercedes have Hamilton down in fourth and Bottas in fifth, which means they face a mountainous task to try to get up to the sharp end and affect the race from a strategy point of view.
Hamilton has already written off his chances of victory today. But you never know in this sport. One good start from the world champ and a bad first few corners from Verstappen could throw things up in the air very swiftly indeed.
1:40pm: It’s a huge day for Lando Norris, who secured his first F1 front-row start with a blistering lap that was just 48 thousandths of a second shy of Verstappen’s pole time.
The Englishman could throw a spanner in the works of Red Bull’s plans today if he can beat Verstappen to the first turn.
Expect him to go “full send” in a bid to take the lead. And from there? Who knows just how his day might pan out. But if he can secure a top five finish, that’ll be considered a good day’s work for the McLaren team.
1:30pm: Good afternoon, and welcome to Express Sport’s live coverage of the Austrian Grand Prix. For the second week in a row, the action comes to us from the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg, Austria.
It’s the home track of Red Bull Racing, and Max Verstappen dominated proceedings as he cruised to an easy win here last week.
Can he do the same again today? Follow along with us and we’ll find out together!
Austrian Grand Prix: Starting Grid
1. Max Verstappen | 2. Lando Norris
3. Sergio Perez | 4. Lewis Hamilton
5. Valtteri Bottas | 6. Pierre Gasly
7. Yuki Tsunoda | 8. George Russell
9. Lance Stroll | 10. Carlos Sainz
11. Sebastian Vettel* | 12. Charles Leclerc
13. Daniel Ricciardo | 14. Fernando Alonso
15. Antonio Giovinazzi | 16. Kimi Raikkonen
17. Esteban Ocon | 18. Nicholas Latifi
19. Mick Schumacher | 20. Nikita Mazepin
*Vettel penalised three grid places for blocking during qualifying
We are now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@TechiUpdate) and stay updated with the latest Technology headlines.
For all the latest Sports News Click Here