Thu. Jul 25th, 2024


George Russell won an Austrian Grand Prix that was transformed dramatically when long-time leader Max Verstappen collided with long-time pursuer Lando Norris.

The Red Bull and McLaren pair made contact at the Red Bull Ring’s tight, uphill Turn 3 with seven laps of the 71-lap contest after Norris had dramatically cut into Verstappen’s lead after the Dutchman had suffered a long second stop.

Several times Norris attacked at Turn 3 all while accruing track limits strikes during his chase to get into and remain in Verstappen’s DRS range.

On lap 59, Norris dived to the inside and locked up as Verstappen moved across, which meant the McLaren slid off into the runoff and let the Red Bull by on the run to Turn 4.

This was not enough to stop Norris from getting a five-second time addition for traversing track limits a fourth time in his off, but this did not matter as the pair came to blows even before it was dished out.

On lap 54, Norris moved to Verstappen’s outside as Turn 3 approached and when the Red Bull moved left they touched and both went off with punctures.

Each had to pit, with h Norris retiring with damage to this rear floor, which meant Russell, who had been third for all of the race behind the top two, inherited the lead as he continued on.

A short virtual safety car was required to clear debris from the track with Russell lapping a few seconds ahead of Oscar Piastri and Carlos Sainz, but in the closing tours the Mercedes driver maintained his lead to secure a second F1 career GP win.

At the start, Verstappen made a smooth getaway from pole and easily ran clear of Norris in the first stint, where McLaren tried to reassure its charge his extra set of medium tyres would make the difference later on, as Red Bull looked set to use to hards after the mediums the whole field had started on.

But that appeared a faint hope as Verstappen simply romped clear across the first stint – his lead approaching six seconds before he pitted on lap 23 to take the hards.

Norris came in at the same time, with the Red Bull being released into his path and forcing the McLaren to brake as he approached his pitbox in an incident race control reviewed by decided was not worth referring to the stewards.

In the second stint, Verstappen again pulled clear, although not as quickly in stint one, with his lead reaching a maximum of eight seconds just past half distance.

Here Norris started to take time back, with Verstappen struggling to keep the hards alive and even keep the lapped Haas cars behind him at this stage.

Red Bull kept Verstappen out for longer than he wanted before he was pulled in to take used mediums as his lead came down to 6.5s – his pre-race extra set of hards eschewed – on lap 51 at the same time as Norris came in behind.

A slow left-rear change and then a conservative release this time meant Verstappen’s previous lead was suddenly reduced to under two seconds, with Norris pushing hard to get into DRS and kicking off all the drama that was to follow.

Behind Russell, Piastri finished 1.9s adrift of a surprise victor, with Sainz third – having been overtaken by the McLaren when Piastri pulled a bold around-the-outside move at Turn 6 just after the Verstappen/Norris clash.

Lewis Hamilton finished fourth – his race featuring a 5s time penalty for crossing the pit entry line at his first stop, the seven-time world champion picking floor damage by hitting the Turn 8 kerbs too hard and Piastri passing him by late in the second stint.

Verstappen made it home in fifth, with a 10s time addition for causing the collision with Norris in the stewards’ view.

Nico Hulkenberg beat Sergio Perez to sixth, with Kevin Magnussen eighth in a double points finish for Haas in a race where its drivers battled each other hard early on.

Daniel Ricciardo took ninth for RB and Pierre Gasly rounded out the top 10 after prevailing in a close and hard mid-race scrap with his Alpine team-mate Esteban Ocon.

 




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#Russell #inherits #victory #Verstappen #Norris #collide

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