Red Bull continues to dominate in this Sprint Race at the Red Bull Ring circuit, with Max Verstappen taking the victory. The race starts in wet conditions, and everyone is on intermediate tires. Some drivers take a gamble and switch to dry tires in the final laps when the track improves. Carlos Sainz delivers a good performance, finishing third, ahead of the two Aston Martin cars of Lance Stroll and Fernando Alonso. Nico Hülkenberg impresses as he manages to secure the second position in the early laps but finishes the Sprint Race in sixth place. Let’s take a look at the pace of the Austrian GP Sprint race.
First, let’s analyze the race pace of the top four drivers who crossed the finish line in this Sprint Race: Max Verstappen, Sergio Perez, Carlos Sainz and Lance Stroll. The four drivers maintained the same set of intermediate tires throughout the 24 laps. We immediately notice that the two-time World Champion has a significantly better pace than the other three drivers. It’s impressive to see that even his teammate, Sergio Perez, struggles to keep up with the Dutchman. Sergio Perez finishes in second place, over 20 seconds behind Max Verstappen. Carlos Sainz and Lance Stroll have a pace similar to the Mexican. Max Verstappen is comfortable with his car and the wet conditions, as he has demonstrated on multiple occasions throughout his career.
Now let’s take a look at the race pace of all the drivers who participated in this second Sprint race of the 2023 Championship. We can see that Max Verstappen has the lowest median lap time, despite not using more performant tires like some other drivers did. The Red Bull driver also maintained consistency throughout the 24 laps. His teammate was also consistent but, as we have seen, with a slightly higher average time. Other drivers who were very consistent are Carlos Sainz and Lance Stroll, also on intermediate tires. The median lap time of the Spanish Ferrari driver is lower than that of Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll.
We can also observe that some drivers, such as Oscar Piastri, Zhou, George Russell, Nick De Vries, Kevin Magnussen, Nico Hülkenberg, and Sargeant, had inconsistent lap times. However, this is because they decided to switch to dry tires a few laps before the end. These drivers even recorded much lower times than the others, going below 1:11.000.
Finally, we see that Hamilton, Tsunoda, Albon, and Charles Leclerc didn’t improve their lap times significantly despite switching to dry tires in the last laps of the Sprint.
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Fastest lap time
Nico Hülkenberg sets the fastest lap time of the Austrian GP Sprint Race with 1:10.180, on the yellow tire compound, on the last lap. Oscar Piastri follows with 1:10.274 and George Russell with 1:10.385 on the red tires. The other Haas driver, Kevin Magnussen, records the fourth fastest lap time with 1:10.539, also on the yellow tires. The two Haas drivers have shown great speed this weekend, confirming their performance. Charles Leclerc also performs well on yellow tires, setting a fastest lap time of 1:10.686, ahead of Lewis Hamilton, who records a fastest lap time of 1:10.775 on the red tires.
At the bottom of this ranking, we find the drivers who didn’t switch to dry tires, with Max Verstappen recording the fastest lap time among them, four seconds slower than Nico Hülkenberg.
Tomorrow, Max Verstappen will start from the first position, ahead of the Ferrari cars of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz. Will the Dutchman secure another victory? We’ll have to wait and see.