Lando Norris makes 'dangerous driving' claim after Max Verstappen Austria GP crash

-Credit: (Image: Getty Images)
-Credit: (Image: Getty Images)

George Russell took a dramatic Austrian Grand Prix victory after Max Verstappen and Lando Norris collided with just seven laps remaining as they duelled for the lead.

Verstappen and Norris were caught up in a ding-dong battle for top spot with the British driver accusing his Red Bull rival of "dangerous" driving.

Then, on lap 64 of 71, Norris crashed into Verstappen's Red Bull as he attempted a move for the lead with both cars suffering significant damage. Verstappen and Norris limped back to the pits with the former able to continue after stopping for repairs. However, Norris, from Glastonbury, was forced to retire.

Verstappen was then slapped with a 10-second penalty by the stewards for causing a collision. The remarkable 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 land just the second win of his career.

McLaren's Oscar Piastri took second spot, one place ahead of Ferrari's Carlos Sainz. Lewis Hamilton finished fourth, with Verstappen fifth.

Verstappen converted his pole into a victory in Saturday's sprint, and after blasting away from the front of the grid for Sunday's main event, his eighth victory from the 11 rounds so far appeared inevitable.

But a processional race dramatically came alive with 20 laps remaining following a botched pit-stop for Verstappen. Red Bull were slow to bolt on the Dutch driver's left-rear tyre to allow Norris to take 4.5 seconds out of his seven-second lead.

There was further drama for Verstappen as he ran wide at Turn 4 on his out-lap. Suddenly, Norris was within one second of his rival and, crucially, within DRS range. On lap 55, Norris made his first 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," protested Norris over the radio. Three laps later, and Norris was at it again. He launched his McLaren down the inside of Verstappen at the third bend but carried too much speed into, and the world champion swooped back ahead of the next turn.

Norris was back on the intercom, taking angst at Verstappen's tactics. "He cannot keep moving after I move," said the Englishman. "It is just dangerous. We will have a big shunt."

-Credit:Getty Images
-Credit:Getty Images

With eight laps to run, an increasingly-frustrated Norris tried for a third time to take the lead. Verstappen ran off the road at the third corner in his defence and rejoined the asphalt with his lead still intact. "He has to give the position back," said Norris. "I was ahead on the apex."

Verstappen hit back over the radio. "He forced me off again," said the Dutchman. "He just divebombed me. That is not how you overtake."

And on the next lap, the two drivers sensationally collided. Again, at Turn 3, Norris moved to Verstappen's outside but they came together and banged wheels.

Verstappen suffered a left-rear puncture and one of Norris' tyres was also shredded. Verstappen emerged from the pits in fifth but Norris' race was over. And the stewards took a dim view of Verstappen's driving as he was slapped with a 10-second sanction.

-Credit:Getty Images
-Credit:Getty Images

But the demise of the top two allowed Russell to swoop by and claim both his and Mercedes' first win since the Brazilian Grand Prix at the end of the 2022 season.

"They (Verstappen and Norris) were going for it," said Russell. "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." "He (Norris) didn't behave correctly," said Red Bull team principal Christian Horner. "You were desperately unlucky."