Max Verstappen eased to victory in an entertaining 2023 Austrian Grand Prix sprint race, as Nico Hulkenberg was cruelly denied a first podium in Formula 1 by Sergio Perez and Carlos Sainz.
After the uneventful 2022 Austrian GP sprint, this was a fantastic 24 laps of action that started in the wet but finished on a drying track with runners on intermediate and dry tyres.
It was a dramatic start as Perez jumped his teammate and then forced Verstappen onto the grass on the exit of the first corner, but Verstappen got payback up at turn three.
Diving up the inside Verstappen ran very wide up to the edge of the track blocking his teammate’s path and bringing the cars behind almost to a standstill.
But after getting away with that manoeuvre, Verstappen was untroubled for the rest of the race and won by over 20 seconds from Perez.
Hulkenberg had overtaken Perez in the confusion and ran second for half of the race, but after the Red Bull retook the position Hulkenberg plummeted down the order.
The Mercedes had a fantastic start after lining up 15th and 18th on the grid, but were bogged down until George Russell broke the race wide open as the first driver to pit for slick tyres on the drying track.
That caused a chaotic last few laps with most drivers outside the points switching to slicks and a plethora of overtakes as they bore down on the intermediate runners while struggling for grip and tyre temperature.
F1 2023 Austrian GP – Sprint Race Results
|1||Max Verstappen||Red Bull||30:26.730|
|2||Sergio Perez||Red Bull||+21.048|
|4||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin||+29.703|
|5||Fernando Alonso||Aston Martin||+30.109|
|17||Nyck de Vries||AlphaTauri||+65.617|
|19||Zhou Guanyu||Alfa Romeo||+70.825|
|20||Valtteri Bottas||Alfa Romeo||+76.435|