Lewis Hamilton left with NO ANSWERS as he falls 18 points behind ‘on fire’ Max Verstappen in the Formula One title race after Red Bull star DOMINATED the Styrian Grand Prix and easily took the victory
Max Verstappen dominated the Styrian Grand Prix to record his fourth victory of the season and extend his world championship lead over Lewis Hamilton to 18 points.
The Briton started second and finished second – a reflection of the sterile nature of the afternoon’s ‘action’. He stopped late on to secure the fastest lap.
It was a perfect day for Verstappen, however, as he and his Red Bull led every lap in the Styrian mountains and established a comfortable lead that he never looked likely to squander. The Dutchman’s advantage at the end was 35.7 seconds.
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen celebrates winning the Styrian Grand Prix at the Red Bull Ring
Verstappen took second ahead of Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton (left) and Valtteri Bottas
The Mercedes drivers soak race winner in champagne on the podium after the race
‘The car was on fire today,’ said the winner after a clinical drive at his team’s home track.
Third place went to Valtteri Bottas, 11.5sec behind Mercedes team-mate Hamilton. Red Bull’s Sergio Perez was fourth with McLaren’s Lando Norris fifth.
The seven-time world champion said beforehand that he would need a wet track to have any chance of overtaking the Red Bull and, despite some slight darkening of the skies as the race wore on, his prayers for external help went unanswered.
With 20 laps remaining, Hamilton, then eight seconds adrift of Verstappen, asked: ‘What should I do, I can’t close the gap?’ There was real answer, just vague encouragement to look after his tyres.
Verstappen celebrates on top of his Red Bull car after winning the race in Spielberg
Red Bull team members congratulate Verstappen on his performance after a dominant win
Hamilton had no answer for Red Bull’s pace as he investigates his car after the race
Hamilton and Bottas found themselves on the back foot in their battle with Red Bull
Despite fears over a brake pedal issue, Verstappen comfortably strolled to victory in Austria
Then, clutching at another straw, he returned to the subject of his main hope, asking: ‘Is there rain coming?’
‘Nothing on the radar,’ he was told by race engineer Peter Bonnington.
What a bore this was after a season of high drama, with a first-lap kiss between Pierre Gasly and Charles Leclerc about the only notable incident. Gasly retired with a rear suspension damage to his AlphaTauri as a result.
George Russell drove superbly well all weekend to run seventh – as high as he has ever figured for Williams – only to retire with engine trouble.
Verstappen led away comfortably at the start, seeing off the Hamilton charge
Charles Leclerc had to pit for a new front wing on the first lap before making an incredible recovery drive to finish seventh for Ferrari
Red Bull staff celebrate on the fence by the pitlane as Verstappen takes the chequered flag
The picture-esque Red Bull Ring hosted the Styrian Grand Prix in Spielberg
RE-LIVE ALL THE ACTION AS IT HAPPENED…
Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen are once again expected to go head-to-head for victory when they face off in battle at the Styrian Grand Prix.
Verstappen leads Hamilton by 12 points in the world championship and drew first blood at the Red Bull Ring after claiming pole position in front of the current and seven-times champion in qualifying on Saturday.
Follow Sportsmail’s DAN RIPLEY for live Formula One coverage of the Styrian Grand Prix, including build-up, updates and result for the 2pm BST race.