Red Bull’s Max Verstappen reeled off his third win in a row from pole in the Austrian Grand Prix on Sunday to consolidate his world championship lead over Lewis Hamilton who finished fourth.
Hamilton’s Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas took second with McLaren’s Lando Norris in third.
Verstappen’s latest step towards ending Hamilton’s hold on the drivers’ title triggered a carnival atmosphere in Formula One’s first capacity crowd since the coronavirus pandemic struck with most of the 100,000 in attendance decked out in his Dutch orange colours.
“To see so much orange in the stands is incredible, it’s an extra motivation, thank you” he told his cheering congregation at the Red Bull-owned Spielberg circuit.
“The car was unreal,” added the 21-year-old threat to Hamilton’s bid for an unprecedented eighth world crown who was following up his win at the track last week.
“On every tyre set we put on, it was really enjoyable to drive. A great effort by the whole team. These two weeks here have been incredible.”
Verstappen moved on to 182 points in the standings, 32 clear of Hamilton ahead of the seven-time world champion’s home British Grand Prix at Silverstone on July 18.
Hamilton, without a win since Barcelona in early May, had forecast after qualifying Saturday that beating Verstappen looked unlikely.
Aside from his Red Bull rival’s superior pace, damage to Hamilton’s car late on in the race cost him a likely second place.
“We’re miles away from them (Red Bull). They’ve brought a lot of upgrades and we haven’t so we’ve got to bring some,” he said.