Max Verstappen has taken back to back wins at the Austrian Grand Prix, to take Honda’s first F1 win since Budapest in 2006 following an epic battle with Charles Leclerc in the closing stages of the race.
Verstappen made a minor contact when they fought for the lead, the Dutchman pushed the Ferrari to the edge of the track and they made contact. The stewards opted not to award any penalty to either the Dutchman or Leclerc, deciding that neither “driver was wholly or predominantly to blame for the incident. We consider that this is a racing incident.”
Verstappen made a minor contact when they fought for the lead, the Dutchman pushed the Ferrari to the edge of the track and they made contact. But the stewards could face more pressure in the wake of Canada. Leclerc led for most of the race and despite his risky strategy to hang on to lead for most of the race.
Leclerc maintained his pole advantage, aided by the anti-stall kicking in on Verstappen’s Red Bull and dropping the Dutchman back to seventh at the first corner. The Monacan looked to have covered the inside but Verstappen moved right to the edge of the track, forced Leclerc wide, and the two bumped wheels as Leclerc tried in vain to hang on again on the outside.
Verstappen then fell to eighth as teammate Pierre Gasly passed him around the outside at Turn 3, but he retook the position around the outside of the penultimate corner. Ferrari believes that Verstappen caused a collision and forced Leclerc off the track.
Verstappen said “It’s hard racing, otherwise we have to stay at home. If those things are not allowed in racing, then what’s the point of being in Formula 1? We had a little contact of course at the exit of the corner but from my side, I think it’s racing. It’s hard racing.
On the incident with Leclerc, he said: “It’s hard racing or we have to stay home. If those things are not allowed in racing then we have to stay home. The race was good. At the end I had a bit more [tyre] degradation than I thought so Max came back.”
“On the incident, I will let the stewards decide. I was on the outside, like the lap before – which was perfectly fine, he left a car space – but he didn’t on that lap and he pushed me wide so I didn’t have the chance to fight back. It’s a shame.”
Whatever the stewards decide, the race proved that the future of F1 looks very bright with both Verstappen and Leclerc, who have at least a decade or more.
Mercedes Valtteri Bottas was third ahead of Sebastian Vettel, who worked his way up from ninth following engine problems in qualifying. The German made a great start working his way up to fourth in the first six laps.
Lewis Hamilton had a difficult race in which he sustained front-wing damage. The world champion was overtaken by Sebastian Vettel in the closing stages. Mercedes being beaten for the first time compressively for the first time since Mexico last year, a run of eight consecutive wins.
Hamilton wreck his chances of the win when he was forced into replacing his front wing causing him to take a long pit stop.
Lando Norris showed McLaren has the pace they have shown all season, bouncing back from his difficult race last week to finish sixth, while teammate Carlos Sainz was eighth. The Spaniard using a long opening stint to come through from the back to finish ahead of the two Alfa Romeo’s.
Pierre Gasly split the McLaren’s with seventh, as the Frenchman continues to face questions over his future. The pressure is only likely to increase the pressure on his shoulders, especially given the fact his teammate was stood on the top step of the podium by the end of the day.
Alfa Romeo’s pace held up which they have shown all weekend to score their first double points finish of the year. Kimi Raikkonen ninth while teammate Antoino Giovinazzi scored his first points in F1.
Sergio Perez was eleventh ahead of both the Renaults of Daniel Ricciardo and Nico Hulkenberg. While Perez’s teammate Lance Stroll was fourteenth ahead of the Toro Rosso of Alex Albon.
Haas continues to drop further behind, Romain Grosjean sixteenth and Kevin Magnussen nineteenth splitting the two Williams.
- Austrian GP – Qualifying Result
- AUSTRIAN GP – Charles Leclerc takes pole as Mercedes face difficulties, Hamilton faces investigation
- Notebook – Austrian Practice
- AUSTRIAN GP – Charles Leclerc fastest by three tenths in an action-packed second practice
- AUSTRIAN GP – Lewis Hamilton sets the pace by a tenth over Sebastian Vettel in FP1
- Prixview – Austrian Grand Prix