Lewis Hamilton left with NO ANSWERS as he falls 18 points behind ‘on fire’ Max Verstappen in the Formula One title race after Red Bull star DOMINATED the Styrian Grand Prix and easily took the victory
- Max Verstappen dominated Styrian GP to see off Lewis Hamilton challenge
- Brit finished distant second but it did secure a bonus point for fastest lap
- Valtteri Bottas saw off a late Sergio Perez charge to take third for Mercedes
- Verstappen’s drivers’ standings advantage is now 18 points over Hamilton
- Max Verstappen was victorious last time out at the French Grand Prix
- Latest Formula One news, including race updates and results
Max Verstappen dominated the Styrian Grand Prix to record his fourth victory of the season and extend his world championship lead over Lewis Hamilton to 18 points.
The Briton started second and finished second – a reflection of the sterile nature of the afternoon’s ‘action’. He stopped late on to secure the fastest lap.
It was a perfect day for Verstappen, however, as he and his Red Bull led every lap in the Styrian mountains and established a comfortable lead that he never looked likely to squander. The Dutchman’s advantage at the end was 35.7 seconds.
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen celebrates winning the Styrian Grand Prix at the Red Bull Ring
Verstappen took second ahead of Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton (left) and Valtteri Bottas
The Mercedes drivers soak race winner in champagne on the podium after the race
‘The car was on fire today,’ said the winner after a clinical drive at his team’s home track.
Third place went to Valtteri Bottas, 11.5sec behind Mercedes team-mate Hamilton. Red Bull’s Sergio Perez was fourth with McLaren’s Lando Norris fifth.
The seven-time world champion said beforehand that he would need a wet track to have any chance of overtaking the Red Bull and, despite some slight darkening of the skies as the race wore on, his prayers for external help went unanswered.
With 20 laps remaining, Hamilton, then eight seconds adrift of Verstappen, asked: ‘What should I do, I can’t close the gap?’ There was real answer, just vague encouragement to look after his tyres.
Verstappen celebrates on top of his Red Bull car after winning the race in Spielberg
Red Bull team members congratulate Verstappen on his performance after a dominant win
Hamilton had no answer for Red Bull’s pace as he investigates his car after the race
Hamilton and Bottas found themselves on the back foot in their battle with Red Bull
Despite fears over a brake pedal issue, Verstappen comfortably strolled to victory in Austria
Then, clutching at another straw, he returned to the subject of his main hope, asking: ‘Is there rain coming?’
‘Nothing on the radar,’ he was told by race engineer Peter Bonnington.
What a bore this was after a season of high drama, with a first-lap kiss between Pierre Gasly and Charles Leclerc about the only notable incident. Gasly retired with a rear suspension damage to his AlphaTauri as a result.
George Russell drove superbly well all weekend to run seventh – as high as he has ever figured for Williams – only to retire with engine trouble.
Verstappen led away comfortably at the start, seeing off the Hamilton charge
Charles Leclerc had to pit for a new front wing on the first lap before making an incredible recovery drive to finish seventh for Ferrari
Red Bull staff celebrate on the fence by the pitlane as Verstappen takes the chequered flag
The picture-esque Red Bull Ring hosted the Styrian Grand Prix in Spielberg
RE-LIVE ALL THE ACTION AS IT HAPPENED…
Hamilton takes second, with Bottas in third – JUST in front of Perez. That was so close, I think Perez may have got him with one more lap!
The top 10: 1 Verstappen; 2 Hamilton; 3 Bottas; 4 Perez; 5 Norris; 6 Sainz; 7 Leclerc; 8 Stroll; 9 Alonso; 10 Tsunoda.
LAP 71/71: Perez is just under two seconds behind Bottas. He may have JUST missed out.
LAP 70/71: Hamilton pits, but he will still finish seconds as it stands as he looks to grab the fastest lap and the one point that comes with it.
LAP 69/71: McLaren think there are a few drops possible in the last couple of laps – but crucially nothing significant.
LAP 68/71: Verstappen’s gap to Hamilton is now 17 seconds, close to a full pit-stop…
LAP 67/71: Think Perez is running out of laps here. It’s seven seconds now between him and Bottas who he is chasing.
LAP 66/71: Hamilton’s pace is slow out there now 14 seconds down on Verstappen, Carlos Sainz in the Ferrari has driven past him to unlap himself.
LAP 65/71: Perez is now nine seconds down on Bottas – he’s running out of laps to be honest to trim that down before the finish.
LAP 63/71: Verstappen’s race now appears to be against the weather. Can he get to the finish line before the rain tips it down. Mercedes believe it won’t rain by the way. We will see…
LAP 61/71: If you can do a rain dance sitting down, Hamilton will sure be doing one now. He is 11 seconds down on Verstappen.
LAP 60/71: Leclerc’s recovery drive is all but complete, passing Stroll for seventh place, with team-mate Carlos Sainz next up 14 seconds down the road. Ferrari will be chuffed with that.
LAP 59/71: Perez is 15 seconds down on Bottas, but is lapping nearly TWO seconds a lap quicker. Nervy times for Bottas if he wants to stay on the podium.
LAP 58/71: Hamilton is now being given a track limits warning at turn 10 – that’s not going to help his mood as he drops 10 seconds down on Verstappen.
LAP 57/71: Red Bull have rolled the dice on Perez. With a big gap to Norris, he pits for soft tyres in an attempt to close down Bottas on much fresher tyres. Could go down to the last lap that one…
LAP 55/71: Not that Verstappen is having it all his own way:
Red Bull tells him to stay off the kerbs to protect reliability, specifically not to brake on them at turn 10.
Max’s response: ‘If I never take any kerb what the f** is that?’
LAP 54/71: Hamilton for sure will be desperate for rain. He is now seven seconds down on Verstappen and the Brit is complaining about blistering on his tyres – which won’t help his cause.
LAP 53/71: Meanwhile in ‘Leclerc watch’, he is now right on the tail of Yuki Tsunoda looking to move up to ninth. Aside from the first lap, he has been excellent this afternoon.
LAP 52/71: Not quite, there are some very dark clouds starting to appear above the track. Don’t rule out rain just yet.
LAP 51/71: Abandon two-stop is effectively the call to Hamilton who has been told to bring the car home. Race over then?
LAP 50/71: Job done for Leclerc, up into the points he goes into tenth, as he passes his former Ferrari team-mate Vettel who appears to be struggling on his tyres as he locks up and skates a little messily off the turn three apex.
LAP 49/71: Those two may be a good half-minute off the lead but even they are in their own race. Verstappen is coming up to lap Lando Norris who is running fifth. The race leader is about to lap fifth place!
LAP 48/71: Bottas is starting to struggle for Mercedes. He fears he has overcooked his tyres with Perez now on his tail.
LAP 46/71: See lap 45 but swap Sainz with his team-mate Leclerc and Stroll with Giovinazzi. The Ferrari recovery drive now takes him up to 11th. Vettel next up…
LAP 45/71: And Sainz now gets the job done, forcing Stroll to go defensive into turn three before using that as a slingshot to pass the Canadian into turn four.
LAP 43/71: Sainz is flying by the way, and is now right on the tail of Stroll looking for sixth place.
LAP 42/71: With everyone having now pitted, here are your top 10:
1. Verstappen, 2. Hamilton, 3. Bottas, 4. Perez, 5. Norris, 6. Stroll, 7. Sainz, 8. Alonso, 9. Tsunoda, 10. Vettel.
LAP 41/72: Good scrap between Leclerc and Raikkonen. The Ferrari driver is blocked fairly by the Finn heading uphill into turn three but is soon able to get past heading down to the next corner.
LAP 40/71: Verstappen and Hamilton are running at just about the same pace now. The gap has stuck at around just over four seconds.
LAP 39/71: Meanwhile Perez is starting to catch Bottas for third. At this rate he could catch the Finn in five laps.
LAP 38/71: Big, big shame for Russell, who having run eighth earlier is now forced to retire from the race. His long wait for points with Williams goes on…
LAP 37/71: Just over halfway through this grand prix now, with Verstappen starting to catch a train of backmarkers. Hamilton will be keeping a keen eye on this surely.
LAP 35/71: Although interesting enough, Mercedes then tell Hamilton to keep pushing for the win. It’s not over this race. Mercedes perhaps teasing a two-stopper for Hamilton?
LAP 34/71: The good news for Verstappen is that he is then told over the radio that he can expect Hamilton to close in but that they are happy with his pace.
LAP 33/71: Verstappen is told that these immediate laps are the ‘critical ones’ with Hamilton slowly closing in on the Dutchman with the gap now down to just about four seconds.
LAP 32/71: There’s a bit of a train behind Norris on the soft tyre. Running sixth after his stop, he is holding up Raikkonen, team-mate Daniel Ricciardo, Leclerc and Ocon.
LAP 31/71: Mercedes seem to be liking these new hard tyres. After Bottas sets the fastest lap, he is soon eclipsed by Hamilton. Russells slow stop has put him down in 18th by the way, only in front of his team-mate Nicholas Latifi.
LAP 30/71: Verstappen is in and that is a perfect stop for Red Bull, and he comfortably emerges five seconds in front of Hamilton.
LAP 29/71: In comes Hamilton and again it’s a slick stop for Mercedes who emerges in second on the hard tyre.
LAP 28/71: Slick from Mercedes as Bottas pits, (doesn’t spin) and emerges in front of the Mexican. Red Bull will be kicking themselves for allowing that to happen.
LAP 27/71: Big moment for Red Bull. Perez pits as the first Red Bull but it is a slow one and not only will that give Bottas the jump on him, but maybe even Norris too…
LAP 25/71: Nervy moment from Hamilton who has to counter steer coming out of turn four to avoid a spin. He complains about vibrations in his tyres – but it was nearly a lot worse than that!
LAP 24/71: Make that 14th now as Leclerc passes Esteban Ocon for 14th.
LAP 22/71: Charles Leclerc is on the charge after his first lap pit-stop, passing Antonio Giovinazzi for 15th on the run up to turn three.
LAP 21/71: According to some TV graphics, we can expect tyre drop off for Verstappen on lap 24 and Hamilton a lap earlier. For now, the Dutchman sets the fastest lap.
LAP 20/71: Want some overtaking? Down to Haas we go, where Nikita Mazepin takes advantage of a Mick Schumacher lock-up to pass his team-mate inside of turn four in the battle for 17th.
LAP 19/71: Bottas is now 20 seconds down on Verstappen. The significance of that is the Dutchman is in the window where he can pit and come out in front of Bottas.
LAP 18/71: Hamilton is four seconds down on Verstappen now, but neither driver are reporting to feeling comfortable to their teams. Verstappen’s tyres are reportedly a bit more worn thatn the Brit’s.
LAP 17/71: Or perhaps Alonso is keeping clear of Stroll. Russell is now told to drop off Alonso to protect reliability concerns in his car.
LAP 15/71: Russell is now on the tail of Fernando Alonso in seventh, whose Alpine is starting to hold up those behind him, even if he is just two seconds behind the Aston Martin of Lance Stroll.
LAP 14/71: Verstappen is now just over three seconds ahead of Hamilton, but I would be surprised if Hamilton was giving it his all to keep up. He is more likely trying to stay out the Dutchman’s turbulent air.
LAP 13/71: Impressive stuff a little down the grid. George Russell started 10th for Williams and as of now he is running eighth. Big result for him and the team if he can hold that.
LAP 12/71: Perez may be in clean air but he isn’t about to trim the gap – he is now over 14 seconds behind his team-mate.
LAP 11/71: Norris put up little fight to Perez but on the next lap he does the same to Bottas to move up to fourth. McLaren baulking at the fight with Red Bull and Mercedes.
LAP 10/71: Norris is not really helping his own pace as he continues to defend quite heavily from Perez, before the Mexican passes him at the tight entrance into turn three.
LAP 9/71: Verstappen is now around three seconds clear of Hamilton, with Norris now over 10 seconds down on the Dutchman.
LAP 6/71: No investigation involving Leclerc and Gasly – looks like it has been put down as a racing incident. Probably no surprise to that. It did seem accidental all round.
LAP 5/71: Norris is dropping off Verstappen and Hamilton but he is starting to hold up Sergio Perez and Valtteri Bottas behind him – especially the Red Bull driver.
LAP 4/71: Just seen the start again. Gasly’s puncture appears to come following contact with Leclcerc, who may pick up a penalty for that. No investigation for that yet though.
LAP 3/71: Hamilton thinks he has picked up damage after hitting some of the debris out on the circuit, but Mercedes are confident that his pace is unaffected.
LAP 2/71: Scrappy start for a few drivers. Pierre Gasly suffers a puncture but he also has suspension damage to the back left of his car. It looks like his race is over.
LAP 1/71: Good starts for Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton as the Dutchman just leads the Mercedes star into the first corner. Lando Norris remains in third for McLaren.
Charles Leclerc picks up a damaged front wing in a first lap clash and is forced to pit.
…and what a backdrop to put a Formula One track. One of the best locations on the calendar?
Providing it doesn’t rain, it looks like a one-stopper is the way to go, with the pit-stop window opening up around 20 seconds into the race.
Chalk and cheese these two, but Lewis Hamilton and Kimi Raikkonen go a long way back. Seems like yesterday, but it’s now been 14 years since Kimi in a Ferrari pipped Lewis’s McLaren to the world championship in the Brit’s first ever season in Formula One.
It’s a very warm afternoon in Austria, but the skies are far from spotless. Plenty of clouds hang overhead, and there are predictions that there will be rain this afternoon. Potential storms too. Now wouldn’t that spice the race up?
Main point being, this race is going to be far from over after who leads into the first corner. It could be all about the long game today.
QUALIFYING REPORT: Max Verstappen holds off Lewis Hamilton for back-to-back pole positions in F1 championship fight… while Valtteri Bottas qualifies second but will start FIFTH with penalty at Styrian GP
Verstappen was no doubt the top dog in qualifying yesterday, with Lewis Hamilton even losing out to team-mate Valtteri Bottas who had qualified second.
The Finn though had an embarrassing spin in the pit-lane on Friday and as a result takes a three-place grid penalty. Here is the report from qualifying.
And following some excellent close racing already this term between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen – we could be due another titanic tussle at this afternoon’s Styrian Grand Prix. Hello, all and welcome to all our live coverage of the race as it happens.
Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen are once again expected to go head-to-head for victory when they face off in battle at the Styrian Grand Prix.
Verstappen leads Hamilton by 12 points in the world championship and drew first blood at the Red Bull Ring after claiming pole position in front of the current and seven-times champion in qualifying on Saturday.
Follow Sportsmail’s DAN RIPLEY for live Formula One coverage of the Styrian Grand Prix, including build-up, updates and result for the 2pm BST race.
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