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Ferrari tension increases as Verstappen dominates dramatic sprint

Ferrari tension increases as Verstappen dominates dramatic sprint

F1 News

Ferrari tension increases as Verstappen dominates dramatic sprint

Ferrari tension increases as Verstappen dominates dramatic sprint

Max Verstappen will start the Austrian Grand Prix on pole position after breezing to victory in a dramatic sprint.

The reigning F1 world champion was briefly challenged by Carlos Sainz on the opening lap but eventually comfortably kept the Ferraris at bay to take the eight points on offer and extend his championship lead.

Charles Leclerc overtook Sainz during a feisty opening salvo that saw the two Ferrari drivers almost clash on consecutive laps - the squabble allowing Verstappen to break clear.

George Russell finished a lonely fourth ahead of Sergio Perez, who recovered from a nine-place grid drop.

Esteban Ocon, Kevin Magnussen and Lewis Hamilton completed the top eight, all collecting points in the process.

Hamilton's point came after a hefty collision at turn one and a fascinating tussle with Mick Schumacher in the Haas.

But up front, Verstappen was untouchable on his way to collecting his second sprint winner's medal of the season.

Sprint impresses with drama all around

There was drama before the sprint even started as Fernando Alonso, who was due to start eighth, had an electrical problem and was bizarrely left on his jacks on the grid with his tyre blankets still attached, before being wheeled to his garage.

The start was aborted and an extra formation lap was triggered as Zhou Guanyu ground to a halt on the exit of the last corner.

The Alfa Romeo driver managed to get back going again but was forced to start from the pits.

Verstappen had the best jump but was attacked by Sainz into turn three. The Spaniard ran wide around the outside and allowed Leclerc a chance to get into turn four for second.

Pierre Gasly went spinning after being sent airborne over a Mercedes front wheel at turn one and fell to the back after contact with Lewis Hamilton - the Briton dropping to 11th.

Sergio Perez made the most of the chaos to make his way up to eighth on the opening lap.

The Ferrari battle allowed Verstappen to break into a two-second lead by lap four, the Scuderia duo instead keeping tabs on Russell in fourth.

Hamilton made his way back into the top 10 with a move on Alex Albon into turn one but Lando Norris was not as fortunate into turn four, the McLaren being pushed wide - a move that saw the Williams driver given a five-second penalty.

The action continued with Magnussen battling Ocon for fifth. A shut door greeted the Dane at turn four.

On lap six, Sainz was back within DRS range of his team-mate and almost swiped his front wing against Leclerc's right-rear tyre.

Leclerc was defending hard from the British Grand Prix winner and at turn four on the following lap, the Monégasque ran deep and squeezed the second F1-75 wide. This was after Sainz had locked up making a move at turn three.

Perez's fightback continued as Magnussen and Schumacher stumbled over each other - the Mexican diving to the inside of the latter at turn three before setting off after Magnussen.

Sebastian Vettel had made up six places at the start but contact with Albon at turn six on lap 11 sent the four-time world champion into the gravel and to the back of the field.

Ocon was Perez's next victim as the Red Bull made it back into the top five, using what was becoming the preferred overtaking spot at turn three.

Hamilton's progress was blunted by the Haas duo as Schumacher - clearly held up by Magnussen - was forced to keep the Mercedes at bay.

Schumacher's defence continued as Hamilton ramped up the pressure, the German impressing with his racecraft alongside the seven-time world champion.

But eventually, the pressure told, with Hamilton making his way past into turn four with three laps to go.

Valtteri Bottas finished 10th ahead of the McLaren duo of Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo, who recovered from a poor qualifying to get into the points battle in tomorrow's grand prix.

Lance Stroll finished 13th after Albon took a penalty, followed by Zhou and Gasly.

Albon will start the race 16th, Yuki Tsunoda 17th and Nicholas Latifi 18th.

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