Russell didn't ask for that much!

Russell didn’t ask for that much!

While victory seemed to be promised to Max Verstappen or Lando Norris, a collision between the two drivers played into George Russell’s hands. The Mercedes driver won the Dutch Grand Prix ahead of Oscar Piastri and Carlos Sainz Jr.

Max Verstappen was not a prophet on the grounds of his team! While everything indicated that he was going to win at the Austrian Grand Prix, the Dutch driver saw his fierce defense against Lando Norris cost him dearly and bring joy to George Russell. The start saw the Dutchman maintain the advantage over the Brit when George Russell was unable to replicate his Barcelona move, remaining in third place. The first corner was not without incident, however, as Charles Leclerc was sandwiched by Oscar Piastri and Sergio Pérez. The Monegasque was forced to immediately go to the pits to change his front wing, which ended the Ferrari driver’s ambitions to shine.

A few metres further on, Lewis Hamilton and Carlos Sainz Jr went beyond the limits of the track. The Mercedes driver took advantage of this and quickly handed fourth place back to the Spaniard. While the first pit stops came very early, on lap 12, Charles Leclerc’s switch to hard tyres showed the entire paddock that the latter was not working ideally. The Monegasque only lasted fourteen laps before getting rid of it. However, the regulatory requirement to use two different types of tyres required the use of the least efficient compound offered by Pirelli. Strategies were deployed as Max Verstappen gradually distanced Lando Norris, a solid second in this race.

Verstappen has mastered everything for a long time

However, the Dutchman was warned after a cavalier exit from the pits in front of the Briton on lap 24. As last year, the track limits were a source of tension with several penalties that fell while the stewards were also strict on the entry to the pits. Sergio Pérez and Lewis Hamilton were caught by the patrol, then having to stop for longer when changing tires. The tension rose a notch at the time of the second stop of Max Verstappen and Lando Norris. Indeed, the McLaren driver followed the Red Bull Racing driver into the pit lane, forcing the triple world champion to wait in his place for his runner-up to pass.

The direct consequence was a gap between the two drivers reduced from seven to just three seconds. After a wheel lock on the exit lap, Max Verstappen began to complain about the behavior of his tires. Lando Norris, smelling the scent of a possible victory, deployed the full potential of his car to come back on the heels of the Dutchman. The latter closed the door on the 55th lap before seeing the Briton complete outside the limits of the track the attempted overtaking on the 59th lap, immediately recovering the lead. A reverse scenario then took place on the 63rd lap but this Austrian Grand Prix tipped over on the 64th lap. This time, the two drivers came into contact and the damage was significant.

Russell opportunistic winner

Both Max Verstappen and Lando Norris suffered a puncture when the McLaren driver suffered damage to his front wing. While the reigning world champion was able to restart in fifth position with a ten-second penalty for causing the collision, the Briton was forced to retire despite having the means to win. The one who pulled the chestnuts out of the fire was George Russell, who took the lead of the race with six laps to go. Behind him, Oscar Piastri made a legendary move between turns 6 and 7 to take second place from Carlos Sainz Jr. After the 2022 Brazilian Grand Prix, George Russell took the second victory of his F1 career and the first for Mercedes this season.

Lewis Hamilton finished just off the podium when the penalty for Max Verstappen was ineffective, having enough of a lead over Nico Hülkenberg, who was sixth under the checkered flag. Once again in the shadow of his teammate, Sergio Pérez took seventh place, far from the level of his single-seater. Pierre Gasly, tenth, brought one more point to Alpine when Esteban Ocon finished 12th. Max Verstappen nevertheless took advantage of this race to widen the gap a little more in the world championship, he now has an 81-point lead over Lando Norris. The drivers will now turn to the birthplace of F1, Silverstone, which will host the British Grand Prix next weekend.

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