Austrian GP: Verstappen and Norris collide to hand Russell the win in Austria

In the dying moments of the race, Max Verstappen and Lando Norris engaged in a contentious struggle for the lead, which resulted with Russell cashing in to win the Austrian Grand Prix for Mercedes.

The race’s dynamics were completely altered when race leader Verstappen’s car received an unusually slow Red Bull service during the second round of pit stops. Norris, who had previously trailed his competitor by six seconds, was now six seconds behind him in the final laps and made several attempts to take the lead.

Before the two made contentious contact as the British driver attempted to overtake again on lap 64, Norris had already voiced his displeasure twice over Verstappen’s “unfair” defence of position. The Red Bull driver had also accused his McLaren opponent of attempting overly ambitious manoeuvres.

The two cars touched rear wheels—each with a puncture—and went wide in the run-off area as the McLaren attempted to pass the Red Bull and enter the Turn Three braking zone. After that, they both made their way to the pits for emergency visits due to their damaged vehicles.

Verstappen returned to the track and took fifth place in the race, while Norris was unable to continue and withdrew.

Stewards quickly determined that Verstappen was at fault for the incident and gave him a 10-second time penalty; however, this did not affect his fifth-place finish.

Russell had been running third for most of the race until he joyfully took the lead and won the last few circuits to record just his second career Formula One victory, which also happened to be Mercedes’ first since November 2022.

Oscar Piastri of McLaren finished a close second and was left to lament what might have been after falling from third to seventh on the grid on Saturday due to a track restrictions penalty that he and his team strongly objected to.

On an otherwise poor weekend for Ferrari, Carlos Sainz defeated Lewis Hamilton to claim the final podium spot, with the team once again clearing just the fourth-fastest vehicle.

Prior to falling back, Hamilton had been in a tussle with teammate Russell for third place in the early laps. However, Hamilton had already been given a five-second penalty for going over the white line when making his first pit stop.

The Haas team had an incredible day. Nico Hulkenberg crossed the finish line in sixth place, and teammate Kevin Magnussen came in eighth. Both finished ahead of Sergio Perez, who continued to struggle in the second Red Bull. The team’s big day brought them into seventh place in the Constructors’ Championship.

Verstappen, who had led every session of the Sprint weekend leading up to Sunday’s main event, boosted his title lead over the McLaren driver to 81 points ahead of this week’s British Grand Prix at Silverstone thanks to Norris’ retirement, even though he only finished fifth.

Russell, who had qualified third, briefly lost his podium position in the early laps to a fast-starting Hamilton in the sister car but, once back ahead, drove strongly before finding himself the chief beneficiary of the fireworks ahead.

“They [Verstappen and Norris] were going for it,” said Russell, who has now claimed both of Mercedes’ wins in the current regulation era since the start of 2022.

“I couldn’t believe how close we were to Lando and Max.

“We were only about 12 seconds behind and I knew it [the collision] was a possibility. You are always dreaming.

“Just so proud to be back on the top step. We have made so many strides since the start of the season. The last few races have been incredible. More to come.”

Austrian GP Result

Driver Team Time
1) George Russell Mercedes 1:24.22.798
2) Oscar Piastri McLaren +1.906
3) Carlos Sainz Ferrari +4.533
4) Lewis Hamilon Mercedes +23.142
5) Max Verstappen Red Bull +37.253
6) Nico Hulkenberg Haas +54.088
7) Sergio Perez Red Bull +54.672
8) Kevin Magnussen Haas +60.355
9) Daniel Ricciardo RB +61.169
10) Pierre Gasly Alpine +61.766
11) Charles Leclerc Ferrari +67.056
12) Esteban Ocon Alpine +68.325
13) Lance Stroll Aston Martin +1 lap
14) Yuki Tsunoda RB +1 lap
15) Alex Albon Williams +1 lap
16) Valtteri Bottas Sauber +1 lap
17) Zhou Guanyu Sauber +1 lap
18) Fernando Alonso Aston Martin +1 lap
19) Logan Sargeant Williams +2 laps
20) Lando Norris McLaren +7 laps

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