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Red Bull driver Max Verstappen of the Netherlands arrives at the finish line after winning the Austrian Formula One Grand Prix at the Red Bull Ring racetrack in Spielberg, Austria. Image Credit: AP

Spielberg: Formula One championship leader Max Verstappen won the Austrian Grand Prix from pole position today, clinching a third straight victory and extending his lead over title rival Lewis Hamilton to 32 points after nine races.

It was Verstappen’s fifth win of the season compared to three for Hamilton, who dropped down from second place to fourth late on after going too wide on a turn and rolling over a kerb, damaging one of his tires.

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.

Youngest on podium

The 2020 top-three finish made him the youngest British driver on a podium and third-youngest overall behind Lance Stroll and Verstappen. The ultra-consistent Norris is the only driver to have scored points in every race this season.

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Red Bull's Dutch driver Max Verstappen celebrates with his trophy on the podium after winning the Formula One Austrian Grand Prix at the Red Bull Ring race track in Spielberg, Austria, on July 4, 2021. (Photo by ANDREJ ISAKOVIC / AFP) Image Credit: AFP

Hamilton has not won since the Spanish GP two months ago, a dismal streak of five races for the defending champion seeking a record eighth F1 title. All of those have gone to Red Bull, with Sergio Perez taking the other.

This was another crushing success for Verstappen on at the Red Bull ring, his team’s home track and with thousands of his orange-shirted fans cheering on his 15th career win. He also won here last weekend at the Styrian GP.

Third straight pole

Verstappen clinched his third straight pole on Saturday and got away cleanly again for another lights-to-flag win, the way Hamilton has so often done.

A great day for him and his adoring fans was completed by a bonus point for the fastest lap.

Meanwhile, Hamilton’s wait for a 99th F1 win continues and he will hope for a change of fortune at the British GP in Silverstone in two weeks’ time.