Max Verstappen led a Red Bull one-two in a thrilling wet-dry Austrian Grand Prix Sprint as a number of drivers took late gambles onto slick tyres.
With grip at a premium on the damp track, the Dutchman lost first place to his teammate up the inside at Turn 1, before being pushed onto the grass on the rundown to Turn 3.
Verstappen got his own back up the inside and quickly opened a huge gap but slammed his teammate over the radio.
Despite the rapidly drying track, Verstappen had a big enough gap at the front to finish the race on his intermediate tyres and took the chequered flag more than 20 seconds clear of Perez.
“The start wasn’t ideal, a bit of wheelspin,” Verstappen said. “After we got back in the lead it was good.
“It was a little bit of a hairy moment out of Turn 1 and when you get forced onto the grass it’s very slippery but we managed to keep the car under control and we just did our race again.”
As well as losing out to Verstappen, Perez was overtaken by Nico Hulkenberg in a frantic opening lap.
The Haas driver valiantly held onto second until Lap 12 but Perez eventually forced his way past, before Carlos Sainz followed the Mexican through a lap later to complete the podium.
Lance Stroll led the Aston Martin charge in fourth from Fernando Alonso in fifth, with Hulkenberg hanging onto sixth.
Behind, Esteban Ocon took seventh, while George Russell, who was the first to come into the pits for slicks, took the final point in eighth, crossing the line just 0.009s behind the Frenchman.
Lando Norris made a good start but got caught out by the Red Bull battle, dropping from third to 10th. He was one of the drivers who opted to stay on the intermediates and had to settle for ninth.
Lewis Hamilton lined up 18th and made up five places on the opening lap. He boxed for soft tyres in a bid to salvage a point but could only recover to 10th.
|1.||Max Verstappen||Red Bull|
|2.||Sergio Perez||Red Bull|
|4.||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin|
|5.||Fernando Alonso||Aston Martin|
How the Red Bulls nearly came to blows
Verstappen’s reaction time was quicker than his teammate’s but he could do nothing to stop Perez launching his RB19 up the inside of a wet Turn 1.
The world champion got a better exit and looked set to breeze back past but was forced to take to the grass, with Checo claiming he was unsighted by the spray in his mirrors.
However, on replay it looked deliberate as Perez moved well off the racing line in defence of his lead.
Verstappen wouldn’t be behind for long, though, launching his car up the inside of Turn 3 and pushing Perez wide.
Perez kept the fight going down to Turn 4 but was again run out of road on the outside by a feisty Verstappen, which allowed Hulkenberg to sneak past the Mexican.
Following the early battle, both Red Bull drivers were quick on the team radio to question the behaviour of their teammate but appeared to resolve the issue after the race.