Max Verstappen completed a clean sweep of pole positions and race wins at the 2023 Formula 1 Austrian Grand Prix with another dominant display in Sunday’s main event, leading home Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc and Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez.
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Despite an action-packed encounter at the Red Bull Ring that saw several drivers penalised over track limits and strategies differ – Verstappen one of few drivers to stay out during an early Virtual Safety Car period – the Dutchman could not be stopped en route to his fifth win on the bounce, and seventh of the season.
Leclerc briefly led the way after taking advantage of the VSC, but he fell back behind Verstappen as the pair worked through their opposing tyre plans, and the Red Bull showed its raw pace – underlined by a late and successful bid for the fastest lap bonus point.
Perez delivered a fine recovery from 15th on the grid to end a difficult run and take his first podium since the Miami Grand Prix four races ago, overhauling Carlos Sainz in the closing stages and making the most of the Ferrari driver’s time penalty for track limits.
Lando Norris capped off his and McLaren’s encouraging weekend with their batch of upgrades en route to fifth, beating the Aston Martin of Fernando Alonso and the Mercedes machines of Lewis Hamilton – another to be penalised – and George Russell to the line.
Pierre Gasly navigated his own five-second penalty to give Alpine a couple of points in the ninth, with the other Aston Martin of Lance Stroll passing Williams rival Alex Albon – also penalised – late on for the final point on offer.
A time penalty for an unsafe release left Esteban Ocon 12th in the second of the Alpine cars, with Williams rookie Logan Sargeant – yet another to fall foul of track limits – coming home in 13th as his wait for a maiden F1 point continues.
Alfa Romeo had a quiet race, as Zhou Guanyu and Valtteri Bottas finished 14th and 16th, respectively, sandwiching the AlphaTauri of Nyck de Vries, who was docked five seconds for forcing Haas driver Kevin Magnussen off track.
Oscar Piastri’s race was hindered by contact and the need for a replacement front wing, meaning the McLaren man came home back in 17th, followed by Yuki Tsunoda, who picked up damage on the first lap and ran off the track in his AlphaTauri, before being hit with two penalties for track limits.
Haas’ strong start to the event ended with the disappointment of P19 for Magnussen – making his 150th Grand Prix start – and retirement for Nico Hulkenberg, whose loss of power forced him to park at the side of the track, triggering the aforementioned VSC.
Mario Isola, Motorsport Director, Pirelli:
One driver dominated this Grand Prix from start to finish, but there was plenty of excitement in the battles between the nineteen others. From our point of view, everything went well. Our simulations going into this race were confirmed on track in all the changing conditions we experienced from Friday through to today. We knew the Soft would not be a suitable race tyre, but both Medium and Hard allowed those behind the wheel to push and attack when necessary, showing a sufficient differential in degradation between them without suffering any excessive overheating. In terms of strategy, too, the race went to plan. The VSC on lap 15 did not influence the number of stops, but it did open up alternative choices in terms of choosing the window for the first pit stop. The top four finishers went for two Medium stints and one Hard if we ignore Verstappen’s final stop, which is not relevant to this analysis, while those who from Friday had preferred to keep two sets of C3 mainly opted to use both along with a set of Mediums.
How the race was won from the tyre point of view:
Max Verstappen topped every single results sheet from the Austrian Grand Prix weekend, picking up the maximum 34 points in this ninth round of the World Championship. The Dutchman permitted himself the luxury of an unplanned pit stop with just two laps remaining to secure the extra point for the race’s fastest lap. Today, Sergio Perez made his second appearance of the weekend on the podium, with a fine charge through the field to finish third after his second-place finish yesterday. Scuderia Ferrari drivers also visited the podium twice, with Carlos Sainz third in yesterday’s short race and Charles Leclerc taking the runner-up spot this afternoon to secure his second podium finish of the season. It was also the 800th time that a Ferrari driver had stood on an F1 podium.
The race was run on a dry track, and the temperatures were slightly lower than on Friday afternoon, with the air at 24 °C and the track at 32 °C. The strategies adopted matched the previous day’s predictions. The Soft (C5) was hardly used at all, with the exception of Verstappen’s final assault on the fastest race lap. The kilometres completed were thus fairly equally divided between the Hard (C3,) 54.55% of the total laps completed and the Medium (C4), 45.3%.
Predictions relating to the number of stops and their windows of operation were also confirmed, with a two-stop proving to be the quickest strategy, especially for those running two sets of Medium and one of Hard.
The longest stint was 36 laps from Kevin Magnussen on the Hard, while Nyck De Vries did the most (33) on the Medium.
This was Red Bull’s 100th win from 355 Grand Prix starts. Its first dates back to 19 April 2009 when Sebastian Vettel won in China. Red Bull is the fifth team to have reached a century of wins in a category headed by Ferrari (242), followed by McLaren (183), Mercedes (125) and Williams (114).
Of the top ten finishers, six drivers stopped twice, with only four making just the one-stop. However, it is worth noting that Perez’s second pit stop, just two laps from the end, was carried out purely to allow him to pick up the extra point for setting the fastest race lap.
16 drivers opted to start on the Mediums: three of the remaining four – Perez, Bottas and Magnussen – chose the Hard tyre, while only Gasly preferred to start on the Softs. As expected, the C5 was the least used compound in the race, completing just 12 laps: ten of those were in Gasly’s first stint and two with Perez at the end of the race.
The most used compound was the C3 (70.4% of all laps completed), but a significant number of laps (28.7%) were run on the C4. In terms of stint length, the standout performance came from Albon, who is no stranger to this feat, running 58 laps on a set of Hards. He finished in an impressive seventh place. Leclerc drove the longest stint on Medium tyres doing 39 laps.
Next weekend, Formula 1 moves to Silverstone, one of the most historic venues on the calendar, having hosted 57 Grands Prix since 1950. The Silverstone track is one of the most demanding for tyres, and for the British Grand Prix, from 7 to 9 July, teams will use the C1 compound as P Zero White hard, C2 as P Zero Yellow medium and C3 as P Zero Red soft. Pirelli stays on at the Northamptonshire circuit on Tuesday, 11 and Wednesday, 12 July, for two days of testing slick tyres without the use of heating blankets. Taking part will be Red Bull, Haas and Williams.
2023 Formula 1 Austrian Grand Prix Race Results
|1.||1||Max Verstappen||Netherlands||Red Bull Racing||1:25:33.607||26||229|
|2.||16||Charles Leclerc||Monaco||Scuderia Ferrari||+5.155s||18||72|
|3.||11||Sergio Perez||Mexico||Red Bull Racing||+17.188s||15||148|
|4.||55||Carlos Sainz||Spain||Scuderia Ferrari||+21.377s||12||86|
|5.||4||Lando Norris||Great Britain||Mclaren Racing||+26.327s||10||22|
|6.||14||Fernando Alonso||Spain||Aston Martin F1 Team||+30.317s||8||129|
|7.||44||Lewis Hamilton||Great Britain||Mercedes-AMG Petronas||+39.196s||6||108|
|8.||63||George Russell||Great Britain||Mercedes-AMG Petronas||+48.403s||4||70|
|9.||10||Pierre Gasly||France||Alpine F1 Team||+57.667s||2||17|
|10.||18||Lance Stroll||Canada||Aston Martin F1 Team||+59.043s||1||43|
|11.||45||Alexander Albon||Thailand||Williams Racing||+69.767s||0||7|
|12.||31||Esteban Ocon||France||Alpine F1 Team||+1 lap||0||31|
|13.||2||Logan Sargeant||USA||Williams Racing||+1 lap||0||0|
|14.||24||Zhou Guanyu||China||Alfa Romeo F1 Team||+1 lap||0||4|
|15.||21||Nyck De Vries||Netherlands||Scuderia AlphaTauri||+1 lap||0||0|
|16.||77||Valtteri Bottas||Finland||Alfa Romeo F1 Team||+1 lap||0||5|
|17.||81||Oscar Piastri||Australia||McLaren Racing||+1 lap||0||5|
|18.||22||Yuki Tsunoda||Japan||Scuderia AlphaTauri||+1 lap||0||2|
|19.||20||Kevin Magnussen||Denmark||Haas F1 Team||+1 lap||0||2|
|20.||27||Nico Hulkenberg||Germany||Haas F1 Team||DNF||0||9|
2023 Constructor Standings
|1.||Red Bull Racing||623|
|2.||Mercedes-AMG F1 Team||305|
|4.||Aston Martin F1 Team||221|
|6.||Alpine F1 Team||84|
|7.||Haas F1 Team||12|
|8.||Alfa Romeo Racing||10|