Mercedes driver Russell wins Formula 1's Austrian GP after Verstappen, Norris clash at front

SPIELBERG, Austria (AP) — George Russell clinched Mercedes' first win of the season at Formula 1's Austrian GP after taking advantage of a late clash between McLaren driver Lando Norris and championship leader Max Verstappen in a Red Bull on Sunday.

It was Russell's second F1 win.

McLaren's Oscar Piastri was second, ahead of Ferrari's Carlos Sainz Jr.

Norris was trying to take the lead from Verstappen with just seven laps remaining when the pair came together. The incident left Norris' car unable to continue, and Verstappen was given a 10-second time penalty.

Verstappen and Norris had been caught up in a fight for top spot, with the British driver accusing his rival of “dangerous” driving.

On Lap 64, Norris crashed into Verstappen’s Red Bull as he attempted a move for the lead with both cars suffering significant damage. After Norris had gone to the outside, Verstappen's maneuver saw the front right of the McLaren collide with the rear left of the Red Bull. Verstappen suffered a left-rear puncture and one of Norris’ tires was also shredded.

Verstappen and Norris limped back to the pits with the former able to continue after stopping for repairs. However, Norris was forced to retire.

The flashpoint provided Russell, who was sitting in third place, 15 seconds back, to assume the lead. And the British driver was able to take advantage to win for the first time since the Brazilian GP in November 2022.

Lewis Hamilton finished fourth, with Verstappen fifth.

Verstappen had dominated the weekend, following up his victory in the sprint race with another dominant performance in qualifying to take pole position.

A processional race dramatically came alive with 20 laps remaining following a botched pit-stop for Verstappen.

Red Bull was slow to bolt on the left-rear tire to allow Norris to take 4.5 seconds out of his seven-second lead.

On Lap 55, Norris made his bid for the lead at Turn 3 but Verstappen put his Red Bull on the apex to stay ahead.

“He reacted to my move and you are not allowed to do that,” Norris protested over the radio.

Three laps later, Norris launched his McLaren down the inside of Verstappen at the third bend but Verstappen swooped back ahead of the next turn.

“He cannot keep moving after I move,” Norris said. “It is just dangerous. We will have a big shunt.”

With eight laps to run, Norris tried again to take the lead. Verstappen ran off the road at the third corner in his defense and rejoined the asphalt with his lead still intact.

“He forced me off again,” Verstappen said. “He just divebombed me. That is not how you overtake.”

Russell wasn't surprised when the pair clashed again.

“They (Verstappen and Norris) were going for it,” Russell said. “I knew it (the collision) was a possibility. You are always dreaming and you have got to be there to pick up the pieces.”

Verstappen was informed of his 10-second penalty and replied: “That is just ridiculous.”

Haas driver Nico Hulkenberg held off Red Bull's Sergio Perez for sixth place with the other Haas of Kevin Magnussen in eighth. RB driver Daniel Ricciardo and Alpine's Pierre Gasly rounded out the top 10.

Verstappen has 237 points, ahead of second-place Norris with 156.

The British GP is the next race on July 7.

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