Max Verstappen won the Austrian GP sprint race without much trouble to add 8 more points to his lead.

The win also guarantees that the Dutchman will start the actual race ahead of the pack as well.

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc will line up alongside Verstappen on the front row after a fight for second with Spanish teammate and British Grand Prix winner Carlos Sainz, who finished third.

The victory at the Red Bull Ring stretched Verstappen’s championship lead to 38 points over teammate Sergio Perez, who recovered from 13th to finish fifth while Leclerc sits a further six points behind the Mexican.

Verstappen has won both the sprint races this year at Imola and now at the Austrian GP and his army of Dutch fans let off flares to send clouds of orange smoke billowing from the stands before and after the 23-lap race.

Mercedes’ George Russell took fourth place with his teammate the seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton taking a point in eighth after jostling with Mick Schumacher

Alpine’s Esteban Ocon was sixth, the Frenchman stopping on track after the chequered flag, with Kevin Magnussen seventh for Haas.

Ocon’s teammate and twice world champion Fernando Alonso failed to start the sprint after his car remained jacked up on the grid with tire blankets still on.

It was then pushed back into the garage with Alonso set to start at the back on Sunday with Aston Martin’s four-times champion Sebastian Vettel the only other retirement.

Despite Verstappen’s dominance, there was plenty of drama between the two Ferrari’s as Leclerc passed Sainz on lap one but the Spaniard remained on his tail, trying to retake the position in a battle that would have done little to calm the nerves of Ferrari bosses on the pit wall.

“Probably tomorrow we cannot afford to do what we did today,” said Leclerc, mindful of tire wear.

Sainz and Leclerc are separated by just 11 points in the standings which does not bode well for Ferrari’s chances of winning the drivers championship if the two continue to battle for points.

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