'Absolute disgrace': F1 world explodes over 'ridiculous' farce

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·Sports Editor
·5-min read
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Lando Norris, pictured here behind Max Verstappen after copping a penalty in the Austrian Grand Prix.
Lando Norris was third behind Max Verstappen after copping a penalty. Image: Getty

F1 fans were left raging on Sunday after Max Verstappen claimed a controversial Austrian Grand Prix littered with penalties.

Verstappen claimed his third-consecutive win and fifth of the season to extend his lead over title rival - seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton - to 32 points after nine races.

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Hamilton dropped from second to fourth late in the race after going too wide on turn 10 at Spielberg's Red Bull Ring circuit and rolling over a kerb, damaging one of his tyres.

His Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas finished second ahead of McLaren's Lando Norris, who clinched the fourth podium of his career on the same track where he secured his first last year.

However Norries was at the centre of major controversy over an incident with Red Bull's Sergio Perez.

Norris said he had mixed feelings on the podium, happy to be third and Driver of the Day but angry with Perez and a clash that cost him a possible second place.

The 21-year-old Briton had started on the front row for the first time, but collected a five-second time penalty after stewards ruled he had forced Perez off track.

Norris, who dropped to fourth but fought back to third, felt that was unfair.

"He tried to go around the outside, which was a bit stupid, and he ran off the track himself. I didn’t even push him," he told reporters after the fourth podium of his career and third of the season.

"You watch Formula Two or Formula Three or any category and people who try to go around the outside there and don’t commit to it end up in the gravel. That’s just the way that corner runs.

"So, he took the risk, and not me. He didn't commit to his overtake the way he should have done and he put himself in the gravel. 

"So I don’t feel it was my mistake but I don’t make the penalties."

Max Verstappen, pictured here celebrating on the podium after winning the Austrian Grand Prix.
Max Verstappen celebrates on the podium after winning the Austrian Grand Prix. (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner said he had no major issue with Norris's move: "It was hard racing, it was wheel to wheel," he said.

McLaren principal Andreas Seidl said the penalty was undeserved.

Perez, who was handed two time penalties for later incidents involving Ferrari's Charles Leclerc, said having to go into the gravel had ruined his race but accepted blame for the later incidents.

"That's not the way I like to race and I'm really sorry if I affected Charles' race," he said. 

"I don't feel happy with myself knowing I ruined a race for another driver."

Fans were left enraged by the penalty handed to Norris.

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Verstappen shines again as Lewis Hamilton stumbles

The ultra-consistent Norris is the only driver to have scored points in every race this season.

Norris' teammate Daniel Ricciardo finished seventh - a phenomenal result after starting 13th.

Hamilton has not won since the Spanish Grand Prix two months ago - a dismal streak of five races for the defending champion.

All of those victories have gone to Red Bull, with Perez taking the other.

But it was another crushing success for Verstappen at the Red Bull Ring - his team's home track - with an army of his orange-shirted fans cheering on his 15th career win in the 60-000-strong crowd.

He also won here last weekend at the Styrian GP.

"It is incredible for everyone to have delivered this," said Verstappen.

"Today has been amazing. It was insane to see all the fans and so much orange. 

"It is great motivation for me, too."

with agencies

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