With a second crushing victory at the Red Bull Ring, Max Verstappen took full advantage of a challenging Austrian Grand Prix for title challenger Lewis Hamilton, extending his points lead beyond the equivalent of a race win for the first time.
Verstappen was in a league of his own, winning on Red Bull’s home track on consecutive weekends to complete a clean sweep in F1’s triple-header. His triumph, combined with Hamilton’s fourth-place finish due to car problems, means the Dutchman currently leads the standings by 32 points.
Lando Norris capped a fantastic weekend with his third podium position for McLaren. Valtteri Bottas finished a distant second in the lead Mercedes. Norris would have finished one position higher if not for a five-second time penalty he received at his first pit stop for colliding with Sergio Perez on lap four, causing the Red Bull to crash into the gravel.
Hamilton, who started fourth, had pushed up to second in the first stint, ahead of Norris, but his Mercedes began to struggle in the second after receiving bodywork damage. He was passed by Bottas and Norris in rapid succession before making a second pit stop for new tyres, but he was unable to regain any distance.
Bottas ended 15 seconds behind Verstappen, but the distance would have been even wider if the Red Bull had not made a late second pit stop for fresh tyres in order to claim the fastest-lap bonus point. Despite the fact that Verstappen is in form and was the race winner on Sunday, Norris’ standing as the fans’ driver of the day is undeniable.
After slotting in behind the Dutchman from his first front-row start at the highest level, Norris kept the other Red Bull at bay three laps later when Perez tried to overtake him around the outside on the first lap after a Safety Car was called for Esteban Ocon stopping on lap one, albeit unfairly in the eyes of the stewards.
The McLaren driver was given a five-second penalty, to be enforced at the Englishman’s first pit stop, but Norris did not allow the penalty affect his race, holding off Hamilton despite Mercedes’ advantage of DRS. On lap 20, Hamilton finally passed him, but he was unable to finish ahead of him.