Verstappen led from the start, as team-mate Sergio Perez went off while trying to pass McLaren’s Lando Norris for second at Turn 4 soon after a safety car restart. Norris received a five-second time penalty for the incident.
Hamilton took 20 laps to pass Norris for second, by which time Verstappen was 10s ahead. Hamilton then picked up car damage that affected his pace, and was passed by team-mate Valtteri Bottas and Norris, dropping back to fourth.
2021 Austrian Grand Prix race results
How the Austrian Grand Prix unfolded
From pole position, Verstappen led Norris, Perez, Hamilton and Bottas. Further back, Esteban Ocon was sandwiched by Mick Schumacher and Antonio Giovinazzi at Turn 3, damaging his right-front suspension and bringing out the safety car to recover his stranded Alpine.
At the restart, Perez attacked Norris at Turn 1. Perez ran wide on the exit and failed to get ahead, but he tried again on the outside at Turn 4 where Lando stood firm in his defence and Sergio ran wide into the gravel, sending him tumbling to 10th.
Behind them, the Mercedes duo briefly swapped places but Hamilton reestablished his position, now up to third.
Hamilton caught Norris, attacking from Lap 10 as Verstappen pulled five seconds clear. It took Hamilton 10 laps to find a way past, just as Norris received a five-second time penalty from the stewards for his earlier incident with Perez.
AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda was the first of the top 10 to stop, sacrificing his seventh position to jettison his soft tyres – a move followed by sixth-placed team-mate Pierre Gasly a lap later.
Ferrari’s Leclerc pulled a great, clean pass on Perez at Turn 4 on Lap 15, while Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren) passed the Aston Martin of Sebastian Vettel for fifth three laps later.
Norris and Bottas pitted together on Lap 31, Bottas moving ahead as Norris had to serve his five-second time penalty. Hamilton pitted a lap later, with Verstappen responding on the following tour and he rejoined over 13s ahead in the lead.
Hamilton picked up damage on his left-rear corner, which allowed Bottas to close. Initially he was told not to pass Hamilton, but with Norris closing on him, Bottas was told he was free to race his team-mate. He then received a team order, allowing him to pass Hamilton uncontested on Lap 52.
Norris passed Hamilton for third at Turn 6 on Lap 54, prompting Hamilton to make a second pitstop.
The real battle as the race entered its second half was Gasly versus Ricciardo, Perez and Leclerc. At Turn 4, Leclerc attacked Perez around the outside and he hit him twice, sending the Ferrari into the gravel. That resulted in a five-second time penalty for Perez.
A few laps later, after Gasly pitted for the second time on Lap 46, and then Perez and Leclerc clashed once more at Turn 6, with Leclerc again visiting the gravel. Perez picked up another five-second time penalty but did find a way past Ricciardo, to allow him to gain time with his 10s of penalties.
Verstappen won by over 17s, after making an extra pitstop to ensure the point for fastest lap, over Bottas and Norris. Hamilton finished fourth, ahead of the penalized Perez. Ferrari allowed Sainz to pass Leclerc to attack Ricciardo.
Sainz grabbed sixth from Ricciardo at the final lap at Turn 6, which became fifth (by 0.8s) when Perez’s penalties were applied, with Leclerc and Gasly finishing eighth and ninth behind Ricciardo.
Williams’s George Russell and Fernando Alonso fought out a great duel for the final point, with Alonso grabbing it with five laps to go.
Kimi Raikkonen (Alfa Romeo) and Vettel came together exiting Turn 6 on the last lap, both crashing out through the gravel.