Verstappen takes dominant win in Styrian Grand Prix

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Red Bull’s Max Verstappen beat Lewis Hamilton to take a dominant victory in the Styrian Grand Prix and extend his championship lead to 18 points.

It was his second and Red Bull’s fourth consecutive win, as he moves into a position of control in the title race.

Hamilton in his Mercedes had no answer to his rival, and dropped back through a largely uneventful race. It was bad news for the seven-time champion, with Austria’s Red Bull Ring hosting a second race next weekend.

A rare, unexciting grand prix

This season has been marked by a series of gripping races and ultra-tight battles between Verstappen and Hamilton, but this was race was notable for his lack of excitement.

There was entertainment provided by Charles Leclerc, though, as the Ferrari driver fought back up to seventh place after damaging his front wing and dropping to last on the first lap with a superb attacking drive in which he several times flirted with the limits while passing rivals.

But at the front there was little jeopardy, as Verstappen converted his pole position into a lead at the first corner and controlled the race thereafter. Verstappen was 1.4 seconds clear after two laps and calmly and slowly extended his advantage for the rest of the race.

Hamilton’s only consolation was a late pit stop to claim the point for fastest lap. The battle for the final podium place was also a Mercedes v Red Bull affair.

Verstappen’s team-mate Sergio Perez held third for the first part of the race but lost it to Bottas, who had qualified second but was given a three-place grid penalty for spinning in the pit lane in practice, with a slow pit stop.

As the second string developed, though, Bottas began to run into tyre trouble and Perez had closed to 1.5secs behind him when Red Bull decided to pit the Mexican for fresher tyres.

He dropped 20 seconds back with 15 laps to go and was 1.3secs behind Bottas at the start of the last lap but was not close enough to challenge before the flag. (BBC Sport)

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