Max Verstappen wins Austrian Grand Prix to extend title lead

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen took a controlled victory in the sprint race at the Austrian Grand Prix to edge further ahead in the championship.

The Dutchman beat Ferrari duo Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz, extending his lead over Leclerc to 44 points.

Leclerc fought off an early challenge from Sainz but was safe in second once far enough ahead of his teammate to lose the DRS overtaking aid.

Mercedes’ George Russell took fourth and Lewis Hamilton eighth.

Hamilton’s race was hampered by a tangle at the start that saw Alpha Tauri’s Pierre Gasly pitched into a spin, and then getting stuck behind the two Haas cars, before eventually overhauling Mick Schumacher for the final point.

The sprint outcome had little bearing on the starting lineup for Sunday’s major event, except for allowing Sergio Perez of Red Bull to move up from 13th to finish fifth, where the Mexican will now line up for the Grand Prix.

While Hamilton was constrained by the Mercedes’ difficulties in the straight-ahead department, Perez benefited from the Red Bull’s excellent straight-line speed to make good progress.

Fernando Alonso had a major setback, as his Alpine refused to start and forced him to quit before turning a wheel.

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