Verstappen sets fire to the World Cup with Sainz and Alonso show

The Dutchman devastates and shoots his income in the table for Hamilton's quarter. Norris podium. Great comeback from Sainz, 5th, and a fought point from Alonso.


Intense orange smoke clouds the Red Bull Ring meadow. The flares were lit by the Dutch stalwarts, the majority in Spielberg, but the fuse was lit by an overwhelming Verstappen who won the Austrian GP this Sunday with an 18-second advantage over the next classified and set the World Championship on fire, because Hamilton was fourth. The Dutchman did not miss even the fastest lap, he was so spare that he made an extra stop ten laps from the end to break the best time, which he himself possessed.

Max raced alone with Red Bull, from the start, while his great rival got into trouble. Norris, second on the grid, locked the Mercedes in during the first stint and eased Max's gap. McLaren's Englishman was penalized for driving Checo off the track, but he remained in the fight for the podium in the wake of Brackley's two cars after the wheel change.

Starting from the equator, Hamilton's lack of rhythm was evident to the point where the wall allowed Bottas to pass his 'leader of the ranks'. It was logical: Lando was coming like a plane to knock Sir Lewis off the podium ("What a great pilot Lando is," he confessed over the radio), and at least Valtteri had to defend silver as a worthy result. Hamilton finished fourth.

This is how Max, Bottas and Norris climbed to a top-3 'celebrated by the 100,000 fans present at the circuit. The oranje applauded the winner and the locals applauded the Austrian energy drink that the team represents. Verstappen's income in the table over Hamilton reaches 32 points, more than a career ahead. Between Max and Checo they have won the last five races in a row. Styria's green hills turn orange, but so does the World Cup.

Comeback with Sainz show

Carlos Sainz shone again in the long-suffering squad. His fifth final sounds very nice but he was fought to exhaustion and was certified in the last lap with a real overtake and a virtual one. The Madrid native came out on a hard tire, willing to be the slowest at the start to gain places in the final rush. That's how it went. He delayed his tire change until lap 49 of 71 and came out of the pits ninth and ten seconds behind the top-5 that Ricciardo, Checo and Leclerc were fighting. Well, let's row.

Passed Tsunoda easy, cut the gap with a calculated pace and got behind Leclerc with better tires and aspirations. Ferrari saw it and acted, because there are no leaders or squires in this garage, so Leclerc did not impede the pass of the Madrilenian, who reached the final lap seventh, glued to Ricciardo.

With surgical precision, he executed the maneuver between turns three and four and surpassed the McLaren that was his a year ago. He was sixth and had to fly, because ahead Pérez faced a ten-second penalty (for kicking Leclerc off the track twice). He crossed the line with a 0.7 second margin to take fifth.

Checo's sixth was a consequence of Norris's maneuver at the beginning, that took him out of the race, although the Mexican did the same on the second Ferrari a few minutes later and the penalty was expected. The stewards were dispatched at ease with endless five-second penalties, from Lando to Checo through Giovinazzi or Tsunoda. Some repeated, the referee was card holder in Austria.

Alonso saves a point for Alpine

Alonso's final sprint was at the height of Sainz's comeback, because he saved a point at the limit in his fight with Russell's Williams. It is sad and unexpected that Alpine is fighting what until 2020 was the worst car on the grid. Ocon was left out in the first lap by a touch of Giovinazzi that forced a safety car and the Asturian became the only asset to add. He started 14th and there are six cars faster than yours. Well it scored.

He advanced his first stop, held on on the train, waited for those who had come out with the soft rubber to give way (who had to do a double 'pit-stop') and placed eleventh in the decisive moments. He studied overtaking on Russell and tried it no less than half a dozen times. The A521 has no tip when compared to a Mercedes engine. But in the end it happened to him, thank goodness, moments after Verstappen dubbed him. He was already celebrating his team when Vettel and Raikkonen collided violently on the last lap, with no consequences for either.

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