The Austrian Grand Prix provided an intense battle between Red Bull teammates Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez. Right from the start, Perez made a fantastic getaway and positioned himself alongside Verstappen as they approached Turn 1. Perez aggressively forced his way ahead of Verstappen and even cut him off on the run up the hill through the Turn 2 kink, causing Verstappen to briefly go onto the grass.
At Turn 3, Verstappen retaliated by making a daring move on the inside of Perez from a considerable distance. This forced Perez to take to the run-off area, allowing Verstappen to regain the lead. Unfortunately, their tangle held up McLaren‘s Lando Norris, causing him to drop from third place to the back of the top 10.
Meanwhile, Haas driver Nico Hulkenberg took advantage of the battle between the Red Bulls and made an impressive charge through the field. Hulkenberg managed to overtake both Verstappen and Perez at Turn 4, thanks to their slowed momentum. He then accelerated down the long downhill right-hander and through Turn 5, ultimately surging ahead of both Red Bull drivers on the fast left of Turn 6.
With Verstappen out in front, he quickly built a substantial lead over Hulkenberg during the 24-lap race. Hulkenberg initially kept Perez at bay, with Ferrari‘s Carlos Sainz closely following in fourth place. However, as the race progressed, Perez managed to regain second position by making the most of a better exit out of Turn 4 on lap 12. Sainz also took advantage of Hulkenberg‘s struggles with tire life, securing third place with a better exit from Turn 3 on the following lap.
Mercedes drivers George Russell and Lewis Hamilton made notable progress from their sprint shootout qualifying, running just outside the top 10. Russell became the first driver to switch to slick tires on lap 15 and showcased impressive pace on the soft compounds. This prompted nine other drivers to follow suit and also switch to slicks. However, both Verstappen and Perez decided to stick with their intermediates, ultimately running untroubled to the finish in first and second place respectively. Sainz rounded out the podium, finishing a further 2.0s behind Perez.
Further down the order, Aston Martin teammates Lance Stroll and Fernando Alonso had an intense battle for fourth and fifth place, both struggling on their intermediate tires. Stroll ultimately managed to hold off Alonso, securing fourth place. Hulkenberg, after a strategic pit stop for mediums on lap 17, finished as the top finisher on slick tires in sixth place.
Russell continued his impressive performance, almost overtaking Alpine‘s Esteban Ocon on the last lap and finishing in a near dead-heat. Norris secured ninth place ahead of Hamilton, who faced a challenging race battling Ocon and Ferrari‘s Charles Leclerc. Leclerc ultimately finished in 12th place following a late battle with AlphaTauri‘s Alex Albon and Alpine‘s Oscar Piastri. Hamilton managed to pass all three drivers during his charge on slicks after his pit stop, which occurred two laps after Russell’s.
Overall, it was a thrilling race in Austria with intense battles throughout the field and impressive performances from drivers adapting to changing track conditions.