Can Max Verstappen power to his fifth-straight grand prix victory? Or will someone — anyone — deny the Championship leader a win at the Austrian Grand Prix.
The Red Bull driver has won four-straight races, dating back to the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, and is coming off a win in Saturday’s F1 Sprint race. Verstappen has been dominant all weekend, qualifying on pole for the GP Friday, qualifying up front in the Sprint Shootout, and then pulling away from the field in the Sprint race itself.
His toughest competition? That is probably teammate Sergio Pérez. But Verstappen will start with a big advantage over his Red Bull teammate, as Pérez failed to advance to Q3 on Friday and will start the Austrian Grand Prix in 15th position.
Verstappen will also have the Ferrari duo of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz Jr. to contend with at the start, as they will start second and third, respectively. Lurking just behind them? Lando Norris, who has a pair of third-place finishes in his Red Bull Ring past, and Lewis Hamilton, who will start fifth.
We will have live coverage of the Austrian Grand Prix kicking off Sunday morning. Until then, you can revisit Friday’s qualifying session, relive the Saturday Sprint, and check out all our F1 coverage.
All updates are in Eastern time.
Grand Prix updates
Update 10:27: Pérez has been given the black-and-white flag for exceeding track limits, with just two laps to go. It might make for some tense moments at Red Bull, as that warning was given for a violation on Lap 61. Could another violation be found, resulting in a five-second penalty?
Update 10:26: Verstappen asks to pit for a set of softs, to try and lay down the fastest lap of the day to pick up the bonus point. Again, must be nice to have that kind of cushion late in the grand prix to do something like this.
Update 10:21: Consider it a “Schofield Curse.” Stroll overtakes Albon, putting the Aston Martin into P10 and dropping Albon out of the points for the moment.
Update 10:20: Quietly, Albon has put himself back into the points, running in P10 with under ten laps to go.
Here is the current top ten:
Update 10:17: Pérez finally gets the overtake, going to the outside of Turn 4 on Lap 62 to vault into P3.
Perhaps the biggest question left today? Can Leclerc hold off Pérez for P2?
Update 10:15: Pérez and Sainz are battling here on Lap 60. Sainz keeps P3 for now, but it seems like the Red Bull driver is going to get the better of him at some point.
Update 10:11: Some strategy from Ferrari and Sainz. Sainz wants to keep Norris within DRS range behind him, to use him as a shield against Pérez behind the McLaren.
Unfortunately for Sainz, Norris has a lockup which opens the door for Pérez. The Red Bull driver barges through for P4, and now has Sainz in his sights.
Update 10:09: Here is the current top ten on Lap 54:
Update 10:08: We now have our first ten-second penalty, given to Tsunoda for exceeding track limits.
Update 10:07: Wolff to Hamilton: “Lewis the car is bad we know. Please drive it.”
Update 10:05: A bit of a split strategy for Red Bull. Verstappen pitted and came back with a set of mediums, while Pérez comes in for a stop of his own, rolling back onto the track with a set of hards.
Update 10:03: Verstappen comes in for a quick pit stop, and comes back out still in first. Must be nice.
Update 10:01: Leclerc comes into the pits, giving up P2. Pérez gladly takes the spot, and it is a Red Bull 1-2 at the front of the field.
Update 10:00: Lap 47, and here is the top ten after some pit stops:
Also the Haas admin has to recant, after Magnussen is hit with his own black-and-white flag.
Update 9:58: Haas’s admin has jokes:
Plenty of penalties for rate limit exceeded, no sorry TRACK limit exceeded.
— MoneyGram Haas F1 Team (@HaasF1Team) July 2, 2023
Update 9:54: Norris comes into the pits on Lap 42, and this is his second stop.
Gasly has been given a five-second penalty for exceeding track limits.
Update 9:52: Hamilton asks the team if anyone else has been given penalties, and it is Team Principal Toto Wolff who lets him know that “everyone” is going to get penalties, so just keep pushing.
Update 9:50: F1TV opening the door to a potential three-stop race for a few different drivers, including the Ferrari duo. Tyre degradation might force some hands.
Update 9:48: Add Albon and Ocon to the list of drivers facing five-second penalties. Albon for exceeding track limits, Ocon for an unsafe release out of the pits where he almost came into contact with Logan Sargeant.
Update 9:46: And there it is. Verstappen gets to the inside of Leclerc at Turn 3 on Lap 35, and retakes the lead.
Update 9:45: It is just a matter of time now, as Verstappen has closed to within a second of Leclerc at the front.
Update 9:43: Now Norris is warned by his team about exceeding track limits. “I know you’ll hate me but we must be within track limits every lap. There is so much going on,” is the warning to the McLaren driver.
Update 9:41: Pérez is back into P8, after a lovely overtake of Russell on Lap 31.
Update 9:39: Norris, with DRS enabled, overtakes Hamilton for P4. He is now chasing down Sainz, who was just hit with a five-second penalty for exceeding track limits.
Update 9:37: Hilarious. Verstappen just posted the fastest lap of the race on the hard compound. F1TV notes that tyre degradation might be a little bit higher than perhaps the teams expected, which could change strategy calls.
Update 9:36: Pérez is being called into the pits.
Verstappen blows by Sainz and into P2. Verstappen is on the hards, as Red Bull might be looking to make this a one-stop race.
Update 9:34: Hamilton’s frustration is building as he lurks behind Pérez, as the Mercedes driver — facing a five-second penalty of his own — keeps pointing out the Red Bull exceeding track limits.
Verstappen pits, and he comes back onto the grid in third, behind Leclerc and Sainz.
Update 9:32: Sainz has now been given the black-and-white flag for exceeding track limits. Next violation will result in a five-second penalty.
Update 9:31: Admin over at Haas is a little frustrated right now:
Nico gets a black and white flag for exceeding track limits???
— MoneyGram Haas F1 Team (@HaasF1Team) July 2, 2023
Update 9:28: Sainz overtakes Hamilton. The Ferrari looks really strong, and his next target is Pérez, who is running on older mediums.
Sainz gets past Pérez on the outside the following lap, and he has that SF-23 on an absolute rail.
Update 9:27: Verstappen has pulled out to a 16-second lead over Leclerc. But Verstappen has yet to pit.
Tsunoda has been given a five-second penalty for exceeding track limits.
Update 9:25: They’re back racing. Verstappen and Pérez both stayed out, and they are running first and third now.
Sainz, who came in second in the double stack, has slid back to sixth and is frustrated on the radio. “Why didn’t we stay out?” He gets around Norris and back into P5, however, which should ease his frustration.
Hamilton has been given a five-second penalty for exceeding track limits.
Update 9:22: The Virtual Safety Car is out, and it is deployed after Verstappen, Leclerc and Sainz had crossed the entry to pit lane. Hamilton and Norris take advantage and duck into the pits for fresh tyres.
Ferrari brings Leclerc and Sainz in the next time around for the double stack.
Update 9:18: Hamilton has seen three laps deleted already for exceeding track limits, and as he continues to rack them up, penalties become possible. He has just been given the black-and-white flag, and with one more deleted lap he will be hit with a five-second penalty.
Hamilton tells his team that the car is “slow.” He also tells the team that “I can’t keep it on the track.”
Hülkenberg comes in to switch to the hards. Haas struggling with tyre degradation yet again. Things go from bad to worse when Hülkenberg rejoins the grid, and slides off the track at Turn 3. “I lost power,” is the report, and the Haas is out.
Update 9:17: Sainz is told to “stick with the plan” and not to attack Leclerc in front of him.
Someone who is attacking? Pérez. The Red Bull driver gets by Russell and is into P11 now, with P10 and Albon in his sights.
Update 9:14: Verstappen has pulled out to a two-second lead over the Ferrari duo. Leclerc and Sainz are linked up with Sainz just 0.594 seconds behind his teammate. Will they work together to chase down Verstappen, or expend their energy fighting each other.
Sainz sends a message to his team that he is probably the faster of the two and it might be time to swap places.
Update 9:13: Norris radios into his team that Hamilton has exceeded track limits “a third time.” Exceeding track limits has been an issue this weekend.
Update 9:10: Pérez gains another spot as he slides by Esteban Ocon, and the Red Bull driver is already up to P12.
Update 9:08: The safety car comes into the pits and things are back underway on Lap 3. Leclerc, Sainz, Hamilton and Norris round out the top five.
Update 9:05: Leclerc takes a few cracks at Verstappen but cannot complete the overtake.
A safety car comes out after Yuki Tsunoda slides into the gravel, and the AlphaTauri comes into the pits.
Update 9:04: Things are underway at Red Bull Ring. Verstappen holds onto his lead at the start, while Hamilton gets by Norris and into P4.
Update 9:01: Only three drivers are on the hard compound, including Fernando Alonso who is the only driver on the hards in the top ten. Everyone else is on the mediums.
This is likely a two-stop race with medium-hard-medium as the preferred strategy. Medium-hard-hard is also an option. A safety car or a red flag could shake that up.
Update 8:57: According to F1 journalist Albert Fabrega, Verstappen, Leclerc, Sainz, and Hamilton are all starting the Grand Prix on the mediums:
Leclerc : medios
Sainz : medios
— Albert Fabrega (@AlbertFabrega) July 2, 2023
Update 8:56: Things are just about to get going so, as is tradition around here:
Update 8:54: Barretto makes a bold call: Leclerc to win over Verstappen.
Update 8:53: Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner stops by the F1TV pre-race show. Horner notes that the potential for rain is one of the “few complications” that the team is facing during this race.
Update 8:45: McLaren CEO Zak Brown tells Barretto that the team is excited about the upgrades they brought to Austria for Norris’s MCL60, and is looking ahead to getting those upgrades on Oscar Piastri’s car for the British Grand Prix next weekend.
Update 8:42: “We are here to fight,” notes Guenther Steiner with Barretto. While Nico Hülkenberg is starting in the top ten, race pace has been the biggest problem for Haas this season. Hülkenberg started fifth in the Canadian Grand Prix, but slid back through the field and did not come away with points. Can Haas avoid a similar fate today?
Update 8:38: Lawrence Barretto makes the walk through the grid on F1TV ahead of the GP. He notes that George Russell’s gamble paid off during the F1 Sprint race, and that Russell is “optimistic” that the pace of the W14 shown in recent weeks could carry over to Austria.
He also chats with James Vowles, Williams Team Principal, who notes that Alex Albon is sitting in the top ten “on merit.” He also believes that Albon can race with both Alpine and Haas this weekend, and that points are possible.
Update 8:28: Jock Clear, the Ferrari Drive Coach, talks about how the team can put pressure on Max Verstappen given that Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz Jr. are starting second and third, right behind Verstappen. “If we can just make him make those tyres squeal a little bit more, then come pit stop time then perhaps we can make this a little bit of a race,” says Clear on the F1TV pre-race show.
Update 8:14: As a result of Magnussen and De Vries starting from pit lane, here is the final starting grid:
Update 8:03: It has been a busy day so far out at Red Bull Ring.
Nyck de Vries and Kevin Magnussen will both start from pit lane after making setup changes to their respective cars.
McLaren and Lando Norris had their “Right of Review” regarding his penalty at the Canadian GP for “unsportsmanlike conduct” denied.
And F1 announced that the Austrian GP will stay on the schedule through the 2030 season.