George Russell takes surprise Austrian Grand Prix victiory

George Russell takes surprise Austrian Grand Prix victiory


George Russell took a surprise Austrian Grand Prix victiory after a dramatic late-race clash between long-time race leader Max Verstappen and arch-rival Lando Norris dumped the McLaren driver out of the race and dropped championship leader Verstappen to fifth at the flag. 


After seizing the lead from pole at the start, Verstappen looked comfortable for the bulk of the race as he built an eight-second gap back to Norris, with Russell in third. However, the gap narrowed in the closing stages as Verstappen suffered with tyre degradation and when the champion suffered a slow final pit stop, Norris closed in. 


Verstappen repelled several assault into Turn 3 on the inside but on lap 64 Norris went for broke around the outside and when Verstappen reacted there was contact. Both suffered punctures and while the Red Bull driver was able to pit for Soft tyres and shrug off a 10-second penalty for causing the collision to eventually finish fifth, Norris’ damage was too severe and he had to retire. 


The incident handed the lead to Russell and the Mercedes driver seized the opportunity with both hands to take his second career win. In the final laps Piastri managed to get past Sainz to take second and the Spaniard was left with the final podium place. 


At the start, Verstappen powered into the lead ahead of Norris who was forced to defend against a challenge from Russell and Sainz. 


Sainz then became embroiled in a tussle with Lewis Hamilton and on the run up to Turn 3 the Mercedes driver managed to get ahead to steal P4. Further back, there was contact in Turn 1 between Piastri and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and as both went wide, Red Bull’s Sergio Pérez swept past both to claim sixth. 


At the front, Verstappen began to eke out a gap to Norris. Russell and Hamilton were battling however and on lap three Hamilton powered past, only to be passed once again by Russell in Turn 4. Hamilton, though, was under investigation for leaving the track and gaining an advantage during his pass of Sainz and the seven-time champion was forced to hand back the place won at the start. Pérez and Piastri were also battling, and on lap 7 the Australian pounced in Turn 6 to muscle his way around the outside to drop Checo back to seventh. Verstappen, meanwhile, was drawing away and on lap 14 he had built up a five-second gap to Norris, who was a little under four seconds clear of Russell. 


On lap 22 Hamilton and Pérez were the first of the frontrunners to pit and both moved to Hard tyres. Russell and Sainz made their way in at the end of the following tour and then on lap 24 Verstappen made his first stop, for Hard tyres. Norris came in on the same lap and when Piastri finally made his first tyre switch on lap 26, Verstappen returned to lead with 6.7s in hand over Norris with Russell two seconds further back in third. Sainz held fourth ahead of Hamilton, but the Mercedes driver was quickly handed a five-second time penalty for crossing the white line at the pit entry. Piastri emerged from his pit stop in sixth place. 


Midway through his second stint, Verstappen looked comfortable, eight seconds clear of over Norris. However on lap 40 the Dutchman reported that his Hard tyres suddenly felt “really bad”. Over the following laps Norris began to chip away at the gap and by lap 46 the Red Bull driver’s advantage had shrunk to a little over 6.5s. 


Russell then sparked the second round of stop on lap 47 but when Verstappen made his stop an issue with the rear right kept him stationary for over six seconds and when he and Norris rejoined, the McLaren driver was just 1.7s behind. 


Norris was able to haul his way into DRS range of the Red Bull driver, and on lap 55 the McLaren driver attacked into Turn 3. Verstappen defended well to hold the lead but with three DRS zones available to Norris the attacks kept coming. And on lap 64 the McLaren driver made his fateful move. 


The clash left Vestappen with a punctured rear left and though Norris got past Verstappen’s stricken RB20 his own right rear tyre let go and the pair limped back to the pits. Verstappen was fitted a set of Soft tyres and released again, into P5, but Norris damage was too severe and the Briton was forced to retire.


The dramatic incident handed the lead the Russell, ahead of Piastri who had managed to pass Sainz, with Hamilton in fourth and moment after a flurry of final laps, the Mercedes driver took his second career grand prix win. 


Further back, Max held on to fifth behind Hamilton, despite being handed a 10-second penalty for causing the collision with Norris Hülkenberg took Haas’ best finish of the season so far after passing Pérez  on the final tour and the Mexican was left with seventh place ahead of the second Haas of Kevin Magnussen, RB’s Daniel Ricciardo and Alpine’s Pierre Gasly, who took the final point. 


2024 FIA Formula 1 Austrian Grand Prix – Race 
1 George Russell Mercedes 71 - 
2 Oscar Piastri McLaren/Mercedes 71 1.906
3 Carlos Sainz Ferrari 71 4.533
4 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 71 23.142
5 Max Verstappen Red Bull/Honda RBPT 71 37.253
6 Nico Hülkenberg Haas/Ferrari 71 54.088
7 Sergio Pérez Red Bull/Honda RBPT 71 54.672
8 Kevin Magnussen Haas/Ferrari 71 1'00.355
9 Daniel Ricciardo RB/Honda RBPT 71 1'01.169
10 Pierre Gasly Alpine/Renault 71 1'01.766
11 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 71 1'07.056
12 Esteban Ocon Alpine/Renault 71 1'08.325
13 Lance Stroll Aston Martin/Mercedes 70 - 1 lap
14 Yuki Tsunoda RB/Honda RBPT 70 - 1 lap
15 Alexander Albon Williams/Mercedes 70 - 1 lap
16 Valtteri Bottas Sauber/Ferrari 70 - 1 lap
17 Zhou Guanyu Sauber/Ferrari 70 - 1 lap
18 Fernando Alonso Aston Martin/Mercedes 70 - 1 lap
19 Logan Sargeant Williams/Mercedes 69 - 2 laps
     Lando Norris McLaren/Mercedes 64 - Retirement

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