Oracle Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen strengthened his hold on the Formula1 Drivers’ Championship lead with a dominant victory in the 2023 Formula 1 Austrian Grand Prix at the Red Bull Ring, while team-mate Sergio Pérez delivered an impressive drive from 15th to claim the final step on the podium behind Verstappen and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc.
After topping the qualifying session and Saturday’s sprint race, Verstappen was imperious during the 71-lap ra. Leading from the start, he then easily dispatched both Leclerc and second Ferrari Carlos Sainz after the first round of pit stops to cruise to an untroubled victory by 5.155s over Leclerc, even making a late stop for soft tyres so he could also claim the fastest lap of the race.
Pérez meanwhile impressed as he carved through the field from a lowly 15th position on the grid to secure a vital podium position with a late-race pass on Carlos Sainz after a few highlight laps of battling for position.
Victory today was Verstappen’s fourth win at the Austrian Grand Prix, his seventh from nine starts so far during the 2023 season, and he maintained Oracle Red Bull Racing’s unbeaten year.
The Dutchman now sits on 229 points in the Drivers’ Championship standings, extending his lead over Pérez to 81 points ahead of the British Grand Prix at Silverstone on July 9.
Max Verstappen, Driver, Red Bull Racing
It’s been a pretty incredible weekend; it couldn’t have been any better, to be honest. We did everything well as a team, from the strategy through to the pit stops. Heading into the race, we all had question marks around the tyres, but we were all happy with how they performed compared to our competitors. I felt really comfortable in the car all weekend, and we were able to do everything that we had planned. The final pit stop was a risk, of course. I think the Team could hear from my voice on the radio that I wanted to pit. From the outside, it might have looked crazy, but I knew we could do it. I saw there was a gap, and I wanted to make the most of it.
Sergio Pérez, Driver, Red Bull Racing:
It was a really good race. I think we had the pace this weekend: we showed it in the Sprint, and we showed it today. It was a nice comeback, and I feel really comfortable with the car. It has been really special. I think we were all racing quite hard, and it is always a pleasure to battle with drivers like Carlos. We’ve had a tricky few races, so it has been nice to get back and have that pace and form. I’m still not one hundred per cent physically however, so now I need to look ahead and recover ahead in time for Silverstone.
CHRISTIAN HORNER – CEO and Team Principal, Red Bull Racing
It has been an incredible day for the team today and a fantastic weekend. Max is obviously in exceptional form, taking qualifying, the Sprint race and now the Grand Prix is just sensational. Obviously, we took a different strategy from that of our competitors, meaning he had to make the overtakes on track, which led to some fantastic watching and a stunning weekend for him. We decided to go for the fastest lap on the last lap despite the risk involved in an additional pitstop, but Dietrich’s mantra was always ‘no risk, no fun’, and the mechanics have been in such incredible form that it felt relatively low risk. Checo, too had such a great pace today, particularly when he got clean air. When you start down in 15th, your ability to get close to victory is obviously compromised, so his recovery from 15th to a podium was outstanding, and his battle with Carlos was box-office.
“This is our best run of in-season results since 2013. The team is operating at a level not seen in our 19-year history, and we’re grateful for every victory we achieve. Results like today are the work of every single department. It’s not just about the race team. It’s the activity that goes on behind the scenes back at the factory, from operations, manufacturing, research and development, and aerodynamics to our support functions in finance, marketing, legal and HR. All of these need to come together and work as a team; this is where we are so strong.
“This is the first time we’ve been back at the track since Dietrich’s passing. It felt very poignant to put in such a great team performance today. Whilst not here in person, you feel his presence everywhere. His passion and spirit are the reason we’re all here today, and we owe him so much. This one’s for Dietrich.