Verstappen wins 2022 Austrian GP sprint race ahead of squabbling Ferraris


The 2022 Austrian Grand Prix sprint race brought a full eight points for Max Verstappen who was unchallenged after starting on pole, as Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc fought for second place behind

MAx Verstappen holds No1 medla after 2022 Austrian GP sprint race

Verstappen has been king of the sprint so far in 2022 – but he's not a fan of the format

Lars Baron/F1 via Getty Images

Max Verstappen led from start to finish to win the Austrian Grand Prix sprint race, the top grid spot for Sunday’s race and another eight points in the world championship.

The Red Bull driver quickly built a gap as the two Ferraris behind squabbled for second place. Charles Leclerc came out on top of that battle but never got close enough to threaten the leader.

Lewis Hamilton’s attempt to make amends for his qualifying crash took a literal hit when he made contact with Pierre Gasly at the start and dropped to 11th as the AlphaTauri spun off.

Hamilton spent most of the shortened 23-lap race stuck behind the two Haas cars running in seventh and eighth.

Sergio Perez had much more luck from his 13th place grid slot, where he was demoted after his best Q2 lap was deleted after yesterday’s qualifying session. He hauled himself up to fifth, where he will start the Grand Prix.

Sergio PErez in the 2022 Austrian GP sprint race

Perez scythed his way to fifth

Peter Fox/Getty Images

Going in the opposite direction was Fernando Alonso, who never started the race due to a fault, and Sebastian Vettel who slid into the gravel after making contact with Alex Albon as he tried to overtake the Williams.

After a miserable Friday, both McLarens made progress, ending the race 11th and 12th.

All but Williams and Aston Martin, which fitted their cars with soft tyres, chose to start the sprint race on mediums, there was a delay before the action began.

First, Alonso remained on the grid with tyre blankets still on, unable to start the car. Then they processed round a second time when Zhou Guanyu’s Alfa Romeo cut out just as he approached his grid slot.

It was terminal for Alonso, and a blow after Alpine arrived in Austria confident; Alonso qualifying eight, behind fifth-placed team-mate Ocon.

Zhou lined up from the pitlane but that wasn’t quite the end of the story: a number of drivers were summoned after the race for receiving messages during the formation laps when drivers must not be aided.

However, with the race distance reduced to 23 laps from 24, the lights finally went out.

MAx Verstappen leads at the start of the 2022 Austrian GP

Verstappen produced a commanding drive to win the sprint

Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

Verstappen led from Leclerc on lap 1, blocking the Ferrari from the inside of Turn 1, which gave Carlos Sainz a run around the outside and into second place.

The emboldened Spaniard then took aim at Verstappen, lining up around the outside of Turn 3, but this only made himself vulnerable to Leclerc who cautiously pointed his nose up the inside.

Sainz successfully defended, but Leclerc got his slipstream on the run to Turn 4 and dived up the inside with more conviction.

Further back, ninth-starting Hamilton had been caught between Gasly on the right and Albon on the left at the start. Once more, Mercedes and AlphaTauri rubbed on the grid. At the British Grand Prix, that resulted in George Russell sliding into Zhou with dramatic effect. This time Gasly spun off and Hamilton dropped to 11th.

Lewis Hamilton and Pierre Gssly collide at the start of the 2022 Austrian GP

Gasly collides with Hamilton

Antonin Vincent / DPPI

He soon got past Albon, who had started quickly on soft tyres from 11th, but was falling back. On lap 4, he was caught by Lando Norris who tried to get past on the outside of Turn 3 but was sent bouncing along the kerb on the outside, a defence deemed too firm by stewards who later imposed a 5sec penalty.

Lelerc set the fastest lap of the race so far on lap 5 after allowing the gap to Verstappen to grow to 2.5sec. Behind him, Perez was already up to eighth. Ricciardo had climbed from 16th to 13th and Vettel was up from the back of the grid to 14th, helped by his soft tyres.

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Leclerc’s pursuit wasn’t aided by Sainz, who wasn’t giving up his second place, making a move on the inside of Leclerc at Turn 3 on lap 6, but remaining behind.

He tried again on lap 7, diving down the inside at Turn 3, passing Leclerc but then locking up and sliding wide. He locked into Leclerc’s slipstream heading up to Turn 4 and tried again around the outside but his team-mate closed the door.

It was Sainz’s final challenge before he had to fall back and preserve his tyres after the lock-up, unthreatened by Russell who didn’t have the pace to stick with the Ferraris. The Mercedes was also untroubled by Ocon behind.

Max VErstappen leads in the 2022 Austrian GP sprint race

Verstappen converted pole into the lead

Peter Fox/Getty Images

Hamilton was past Bottas on lap 8, moving up to ninth behind Perez who had been stuck behind the Haas cars, with Mick Schumacher’s defence aided by DRS courtesy of his team-mate ahead. Inside the car, Schumacher was increasingly frustrated as he believed he was faster than Magnussen and should be allowed through.

Perez would soon unlock the roadblock, however as lap 9 saw the Mexican overtake with an inch-perfect pass at Turn 3, diving up the inside of Mick Schumacher, who was looking to pass his team-mate on the outside, and slotting into a gap behind the defending Magnussen.

He was easily past the DRS-less Magnussen on lap 10, breezing past on the outside on the approach to Turn 3.

Sebastian Vettel’s march up the standings went into reverse on lap 11 when his left-rear tyre  clipped the front-right of Alex Albon as the Aston Martin driver tried to pass on the outside of Turn 6. He reversed out but went on to retire.

Mick Schumacher in the 2022 Austrian GP sprint race

Schumacher put in a stout defensive performance against Hamilton for much of sprint

Joe Portlock/F1 via Getty Images

There was no stopping Perez, who climbed to fifth on lap 12, past Ocon. Hamilton remained ninth behind the Haas cars despite his best efforts: Mick Schumacher again with DRS thanks to Magnussen.

With ten laps to go on lap 14, Verstappen remained 2.5sec ahead of Leclerc, with Sainz a further second back and Russell 1.5sec further down the track, pursued by Perez who had closed the gap by a second.

That order remained until the end of the race, the top five untroubled by Hamilton who finally made it past Schumacher on lap 22, moving up to eighth.

2022 Austrian Grand Prix sprint race results

Position Driver Team Time Points
1 Max Verstappen Red Bull 26min 30.059sec 8
2 Charles Leclerc Ferrari +1.675 7
3 Carlos Sainz Ferrari +5.644sec 6
4 George Russell Mercedes +13.429sec 5
5 Sergio Perez Red Bull +18.302sec 4
6 Esteban Ocon Alpine +31.032sec 3
7 Kevin Magnussen Haas +34.539sec 2
8 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes +35.447sec 1
9 Mick Schumacher Haas +37.163sec
10 Valtteri Bottas AlphaTauri +38.580sec
11 Lando Norris McLaren +39.738sec
12 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren +48.241sec
13 Lance Stroll Aston Martin +50.753sec
14 Zhou Guanyu Alfa Romeo +52.125sec
15 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri +52.125sec
16 Alex Albon Williams +52.412sec*
17 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri +54.556sec
18 Nicholas Latifi Williams +1min 08.694sec
Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin DNF
Fernando Alonso Alpine DNF

*Includes 5sec penalty