AHEAD OF LECLERC AND SAINZ
Max Verstappen took a dominant Sprint victory ahead of the Ferraris of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz, with Mercedes’ George Russell finishing fourth ahead of Sergio Pérez who stormed through the field to fifth after starting from 13th place on the grid.
At the start of the formation lap Fernando Alonso was left on the grid with tyre blankets on his car and he had to be pushed to the pit lane, where the technical issue that forced his mechanics to step away on the grid forced him to retire. Then at the end of the lap, Alfa Romeo’s Zhou Guanyu slowed as he approached the grid and reported that his engine had switched off. A second formation lap was decreed, with Zhou starting from the pit lane.
When at last the lights went out, Verstappen made a good start and held the lead into Turn 1. Behind him, Sainz got past Leclerc and as the leaders went up the hill to Turn 3, the Spanish Ferrari driver tried to attack Verstappen on the outside. The championship leader had the move covered though, and when Sainz took an outside line through the corner, Leclerc tucked inside for a better exit and in Turn 4 got past his team-mate to retake P2.
Further back, Pérez got away well from P13 on the grid, and when Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton clipped the AlphaTauri of Pierre Gasly, bouncing the Frenchman off track, the Mexican slipped through and climbed to P8 by the end of lap one.
At the front, Verstappen quickly began to pull away from the duelling Ferraris and at the start of lap six he was 2.3s clear of Leclerc who was being hounded by Sainz who was just half a second further back. Mercedes' George Russell held fourth place ahead of the sole Alpine of Esteban Ocon, while the Haas cars of Kevin Magnussen and Mick Schumacher were sixth and seventh respectively. Pérez, meanwhile, was just half a second behind the German.
On lap nine, Schumacher tried to make a move past Magnussesen on the run to Turn 3 and as the Dane moved to the outside to block his team-mate, Pérez dived down the inside of Schumacher’s car to split the Haas drivers. Just a lap later he used DRS in the same place to breeze past Magnussen and steal P6.
Pérez then began to chase down Ocon and on lap 12 he once again chose Turn 3 to attack the Alpine. And though Ocon tried to fight back on the run to Turn 4, the Red Bull drive braked later and held the car well to claim fifth place.
Hamilton was also chasing down the Haas drivers, but Schumacher was driving smartly and as the race headed for the end of lap 15 the German was positioning his car well to keep himself in the points in P8.
Ahead, Verstappen was now 2.7 seconds clear of Leclerc, and the lead Ferrari was three seconds ahead of his team-mate Sainz. Pérez was closing in on fourth-place Russel but with six laps left he was 4.6 seconds behind the Mercedes.
On lap 21, Schumacher lost DRS from Magnussen and that allowed Hamilton to finally make a decisive move on the German. The Mercedes driver got a better exit out of Turn 3 and passed the Haas into Turn 4 to take the final points position.
At the front, though, Verstappen was cruising, and after 23 laps he powered over the line to claim his second Sprint win of the season after his victory in Imola. Leclerc took second place 1.6s behind the Dutchman, with Sainz third. Russell clung on to fourth place and Pérez finished fifth place. Ocon finished in sixth place ahead of Magnussen and Hamilton claimed the final point ahead of the impressive Schumacher.
2022 FIA Formula 1 Austrian Grand Prix – Sprint
1 Max Verstappen Red Bull 23 26:30.059
2 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 23 26:31.734 1.675
3 Carlos Sainz Ferrari 23 26:35.703 5.644
4 George Russell Mercedes 23 26:43.488 13.429
5 Sergio Pérez Red Bull 23 26:48.361 18.302
6 Esteban Ocon Alpine 23 27:01.091 31.032
7 Kevin Magnussen Haas 23 27:04.598 34.539
8 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 23 27:05.506 35.447
9 Mick Schumacher Haas 23 27:07.222 37.163
10 Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo 23 27:07.616 37.557
11 Lando Norris McLaren 23 27:08.639 38.580
12 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren 23 27:09.797 39.738
13 Lance Stroll Aston Martin 23 27:18.300 48.241
14 Zhou Guanyu Alfa Romeo 23 27:20.812 50.753
15 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri 23 27:22.184 52.125
16 Alexander Albon Williams 23 27:22.471 52.412
17 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri 23 27:24.615 54.556
18 Nicholas Latifi Williams 23 27:38.753 1:08.694
19 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin 21 25:38.506 2 laps
Fernando Alonso Alpine 0 - Not started