Max Verstappen is on course for Red Bull’s home spectacle. The Formula 1 World Champion from the Netherlands won the sprint race in Spielberg from pole position on Saturday. Verstappen relegated the Ferrari duo Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz to second and third place. “It was a clean race, that was good. Just like a sprint should run,” emphasized Verstappen, who will now also start from first place in the Austrian Grand Prix this Sunday (3 p.m., in the WELT sports ticker) at the Red Bull Ring.
Mick Schumacher will also start the race from the top ten. Six days after his debut points from Silverstone (4 points/8th place), he was again on course for points for a long time. For almost half of the race distance, he provided the duel of the day with none other than record world champion Lewis Hamilton. “It was nice to see that we had the speed for it,” he said.
However, Mick Schumacher was not happy because he did not feel that he was sufficiently supported by the team and his teammate Kevin Magnussen and had had to talk a lot on the radio during the race. “It was unnecessary to argue that out. I felt like I was faster. I don’t know why the team didn’t have that feeling.” He doesn’t understand that, said Mick Schumacher, who had to let Hamilton past shortly before the end. He was ninth – but there are only points in the sprint up to eighth place.
Sebastian Vettel experienced another day to forget. After the last place in qualifying on Friday, he had to park his lame Aston Martin one lap before the end of the thoroughly entertaining race in 19th place, also after a slight collision in the pits.
It was eventful even before the start. Fernando Alonso didn’t get away with his Alpine, instead of eighth place on the formation lap, the Spaniard went into the pits – and no further. Then Guanyu Zhou stopped on the way to the start. The engine in the Alfa Romeo of the Chinese, who had survived a very serious accident at Silverstone on Sunday, had gone out. There was another formation lap, the race distance was reduced to 23 laps.
Then it started. Verstappen defended his pole, behind him a Ferrari duel for second place began immediately. Sainz overtook Leclerc, who countered a little later, followed by George Russell in the second Mercedes. Hamilton’s attempt to catch up from ninth on the grid was initially disrupted by Pierre Gasly when the Frenchman drove onto the front wheel of Hamilton’s Mercedes.
The crews of the record world champion and his teammates had had a lot of work to do since Friday evening after the two accidents in qualifying. It looked in the garage “as if someone had dropped a Lego car,” said team boss Toto Wolff. His two drivers were not (yet) able to compete for victory.
Verstappen wanted to grab him in front of tens of thousands of Dutch fans. And he did it confidently. Behind them, the fight for seventh and eighth place was also exciting. There Mick Schumacher fought with his stable rival Magnussen, which in turn was not good for the tires and ultimately led to Schumacher defending himself against Hamilton six days after his duel as the pursuer of champion Verstappen at Silverstone. And he did it strong before the superstar passed on the third to last lap.
Verstappen now leads in the World Championship standings with 189 points, team-mate Sergio Perez is second with 151 points, Leclerc third with 145 points ahead of Sainz (133). The Austrian Grand Prix this Sunday (3 p.m. / Sky) will start in the order of the sprint result, Verstappen can score a maximum of 26 points.