Max Verstappen showcased his superiority in the F1 Austrian GP as he secured his seventh win of the 2023 season. Right from the start, Verstappen expertly fended off Charles Leclerc’s attempt to overtake him on the inside of the first corner. Following an early safety car period to clear debris from a collision further back in the pack, Verstappen quickly distanced himself from Leclerc.
In the initial phase, Verstappen effortlessly pulled away from Leclerc and teammate Carlos Sainz, who had initially been instructed not to challenge his teammate but grew frustrated after a few laps.
The dynamics of the race shifted when Nico Hulkenberg retired after losing power in the run-off at Turn 1, immediately after his pit stop on lap 13 to switch to medium tires. This triggered the activation of the virtual safety car. Although it seemed like the timing would not favor the Ferraris, they managed to take advantage of the situation by pitting when Verstappen chose not to.
This decision created a gap between the two frontrunners, allowing Leclerc to gradually close in on Verstappen and eventually take the lead as they approached the halfway mark. However, Verstappen swiftly erased Leclerc’s 6.4-second lead in just ten laps. On lap 35, with a daring move to the inside at Turn 3, Verstappen overtook Leclerc, who had chosen to stay wide. From that point onward, Verstappen steadily extended his lead, ultimately establishing a 10-second advantage.
As the race progressed, Ferrari contemplated switching their strategy to a three-stop plan, but Leclerc refused the suggestion. While Leclerc pitted again on lap 47 to switch to hard tires, trailing by 13.3 seconds, Red Bull effectively eliminated any possibility of a strategic battle by swiftly bringing Verstappen in to switch to medium tires just two laps later. Verstappen maintained his lead comfortably throughout the remainder of the race.
By the time Verstappen made a late stop on the final lap to secure the fastest lap, he had built a 24-second lead. His lap time of 1m07.012s surpassed Sergio Perez’s previous fastest lap by over a second. Verstappen ultimately claimed victory with a winning margin of 5.1 seconds.
Leclerc finished in second place, securing a comfortable 12-second lead over Perez, who displayed a commendable performance starting from 15th on the grid. Perez’s strong drive was aided by penalties imposed on several drivers for exceeding track limits, a recurring issue throughout the weekend.
Sainz battled his way to fourth place, followed by Lando Norris in fifth. Fernando Alonso claimed sixth position, benefitting from Hamilton’s penalty during his second pit stop. George Russell showcased an impressive comeback from a low starting position to finish eighth in the other Mercedes.
Pierre Gasly secured ninth place for Alpine, while Lance Stroll rounded out the top ten. Stroll opted for a three-stop strategy after losing ground to Alonso at the start and encountering complications during the virtual safety car period. Multiple drivers, including Alex Albon, faced penalties for track limits violations.
Hulkenberg was the only retirement of the race, and all drivers up to Albon were lapped by Verstappen, with Gasly, Stroll, and the Williams drivers avoiding being lapped due to Verstappen’s late pit stop.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Verstappen
Q: Who won the F1 Austrian GP in 2023?
A: Max Verstappen emerged as the winner of the F1 Austrian GP in 2023, securing his seventh victory of the season.
Q: How did the race unfold for Max Verstappen?
A: Verstappen had a strong start, fending off Charles Leclerc’s challenge at the first corner. He then steadily built a lead, despite a safety car period. Verstappen made strategic tire changes and executed impressive overtakes to secure a dominant win.
Q: What were the key moments in the race?
A: Some notable moments included Nico Hulkenberg’s retirement due to power loss, the activation of the virtual safety car, and the strategic decision by Ferrari to pit when Verstappen did not. Verstappen’s overtaking move on Leclerc at Turn 3 was also a crucial highlight.
Q: Who else secured podium positions in the race?
A: Charles Leclerc finished in second place, showcasing a strong performance, while Sergio Perez battled his way through the field to secure third place.
Q: Were there any penalties during the race?
A: Yes, several drivers received penalties for exceeding track limits, including Carlos Sainz, Lewis Hamilton, and Lando Norris. These penalties affected their positions and influenced the final results.
Q: How did other drivers fare in the race?
A: Carlos Sainz and Lando Norris finished fourth and fifth, respectively. Fernando Alonso claimed sixth place, while Lewis Hamilton faced challenges with his race pace and finished in seventh. George Russell displayed an impressive comeback to secure eighth place.