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GEORGE RUSSELL CLINCHES VICTORY AT DRAMATIC AUSTRIAN GRAND PRIX

Russell Seizes Opportunity as Verstappen and Norris Collide in a High-Stakes Duel

02.07.2024
BY MAXWELL SOETOMO
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In a thrilling turn of events at the Austrian Grand Prix, George Russell secured a much-needed victory for Mercedes, marking the team's first win in over a year and a half. The race was defined by a dramatic collision between Max Verstappen and Lando Norris, which ultimately altered the course of the event.

Verstappen's Dominance and Downfall

Max Verstappen dominated the early stages of the race, building a significant lead of eight seconds over Norris. However, an extended stint on hard tyres that Verstappen found challenging, coupled with a slow final pitstop due to a stuck left rear tyre, saw him rejoin the track just ahead of Norris.

Norris, equipped with new medium tyres, quickly closed the gap and entered Verstappen's DRS range. A fierce battle ensued, with both drivers exchanging terse radio messages about each other's driving tactics. Norris briefly overtook Verstappen at the Turn 3 hairpin but had to relinquish the position due to running wide, which also marked his fourth track limits breach, earning him a five-second time penalty.

The Pivotal Collision

As the race neared its conclusion, Verstappen and Norris collided on the approach to the hairpin. The wheel-to-wheel contact caused punctures to both cars, sending them off the track and leading to a dramatic downhill battle as both vehicles struggled with damage. Norris retired his car due to extensive damage, while Verstappen managed to finish fifth despite a subsequent 10-second penalty for causing the collision, which did not affect his final position.

Russell's Opportunistic Victory

With Verstappen and Norris out of contention, George Russell capitalized on the opportunity. Despite an early tussle with his Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton, Russell maintained his position as the best of the rest throughout the race. He navigated the chaos to claim a jubilant victory for Mercedes.

Piastri's Impressive Performance

Oscar Piastri, Norris's teammate at McLaren, delivered a remarkable performance despite facing setbacks. A contentious track limits penalty in qualifying relegated him from third to seventh on the grid. Nevertheless, Piastri fought his way through the field, overtaking Charles Leclerc, Sergio Perez, Lewis Hamilton, and Carlos Sainz to finish just 1.9 seconds behind Russell.

Sainz and Hamilton on the Podium

Carlos Sainz completed the podium with a third-place finish, while Lewis Hamilton, hindered by a time penalty for crossing the pit entry line, finished fourth. Hamilton's race was marred by a wild slide during his first pitstop, but he managed to secure a respectable position.

Haas's Strong Showing

The Haas team delivered an exceptional performance, with Nico Hulkenberg finishing sixth and Kevin Magnussen eighth, sandwiching Sergio Perez's Red Bull. Early pitstops and excellent tyre management contributed to Haas's impressive result. Perez, affected by damage from an early collision with Piastri and Leclerc, could only manage seventh place.

Other Notable Performances

Charles Leclerc, struggling to recover from the first-lap incident, finished 11th. Daniel Ricciardo and Pierre Gasly rounded out the top ten, with Gasly engaging in a fierce battle with his Alpine teammate Esteban Ocon.

The Austrian Grand Prix will be remembered for its dramatic twists and intense on-track battles, ultimately handing George Russell and Mercedes a long-awaited and well-deserved victory.

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