Formula 1 - Max Verstappen wins the sprint race, Leclerc and Sainz on the podium, Lewis Hamilton 8th

Formula 1 – Max Verstappen wins the sprint race, Leclerc and Sainz on the podium, Lewis Hamilton 8th

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One wonders if adding a sprint race is a good idea this season. The second, contested on Saturday at Spielberg as a preamble to the Austrian Grand Prix, led to the same winner as the first at Imola, namely a victory for Max Verstappen (Red Bull), which only reinforced his leadership in the championship. of the world.

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And the scenario for the Dutchman was even less exciting than in Emilia-Romagna at the end of April, if not for the still enthusiastic welcome that his Oranje supporters gave him on arrival, the day after his pole position on the Red Bull Ring.

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Starting at the front of the grid, after a second start motivated by a momentary breakdown of the Alfa Romeo of Guanyu Zhou, the miracle of Silverstone, Max Verstappen resisted the Ferrari of Carlos Sainz, qualified third, then he spun towards his fifth success at Spielberg, counting his four Grand Prix victories since 2018.

Leclerc and Sainz at the limit

Fortunately for the show, things came alive behind him – it even heated up – between Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz for second place in the opening laps. The Monegasque and the Spaniard fought an uncompromising duel, and it’s a miracle that the F1 75s didn’t touch each other during their mano a mano.

Qualified second but overwhelmed at the first braking by his teammate, boosted by his victory at Silverstone on Sunday, the native of Monte-Carlo quickly regained his place in front of the “rossa” n ° 55. And he was able to drive quietly from the 7th lap.

Attacked at turn 3 on a desperate braking from Madrid, “Charlot” crossed the trajectory and took the lead for good. Having made more careful use of his tyres, Leclerc then broke away and ended up in no man’s land.

Pérez in recovery mode, Alonso’s bad luck continues

On the sidelines of this red battle, the fine recovery of Sergio Pérez (Red Bull) and the setbacks of Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) behind the Haas were the other common threads of this mini Prix, which the promoter of the World Championship wishes to extend to more than three appointments next year.

Indeed, behind a lonely George Russell (Mercedes) in fourth place, the Mexican once again showed off his sense of attack. At Silverstone, he had moved up from 17th place to second, and there he overcame the penalty of his demotion to 13th place on the grid to regain eight positions, until the fifth Final. Finally, seven positions if we take into account the non-participation of Fernando Alonso (Alpine), due to a technical problem.

At Les Bleus in chronic lack of reliability, it was therefore Esteban Ocon who saved the day with his sixth place, ahead of Kevin Magnussen’s Haas and Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes, which ended up cracking Mick Schumacher in the front. last round, for the last point in play.

The Briton, unable to overtake if not with wear, can nevertheless consider himself lucky to have been able to continue his journey after a severe contact with the AlphaTauri of Pierre Gasly (15th), raised by contact between wheels at the start.

The start of the Austrian Grand Prix sprint race was tough

Credit: Getty Images

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