F1: Verstappen Wins at Red Bull Ring

Max Verstappen celebrates an extraordinary victory at Red Bull home race in Spielberg, Austria. Image sourced from Sky Sports.

Max Verstappen won the Austrian Grand Prix after pulling off an overtake on Charles Leclerc in the final laps of the race.

It was Verstappen’s second successive Austrian Grand Prix victory and his sixth career win with a sensational drive at Spielberg’s Red Bull Ring.

Verstappen was forced to perform a comeback drive, after he dropped down the order off the line.

The Dutchman’s Red Bull kicked into anti-stall as the lights went out, but managed to storm his way through the field and pass Sebastian Vettel and Valtteri Bottas.

Soon after he set his sights on first, he chased down Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and passed the Monegasque driver in an intense battle during the closing laps.

Sebastian Vettel congratulates Ferrari team-mate Charles Leclerc after the latter’s performance in the Austrian Grand Prix. Image sourced from @leclercnews via Twitter.

“Overall the race was good… I don’t know [about legality of Verstappen’s pass],” Leclerc said after the race.

“I was on the outside [at Turn 3] but he didn’t leave space and I didn’t have any chance to pass back.”

Leclerc added: “I’m angry. Feeling it from the inside at the end, it felt like a fair move but I still need to watch the outside video.”

“To me on the first try he has done he left me a car width, on the 2nd one he didn’t. We will see.”

The incident was investigated post race, where the stewards ruled it as a racing incident.

Before conceding the place to Verstappen, Leclerc led for the majority of the race having pitted after Vettel and Bottas.

However, Vettel’s stop was compromised due to a communication issue with the mechanics’ team radio. As a result, his tyres weren’t ready and compromised his pit stop.

Mercedes Struggle in Spielberg

Once again, the race win eluded the dominant Mercedes in Austria. However, the early stages seemed to prove otherwise.

Lewis Hamilton was comfortable with his pace early on and extended his first stint, only for his race to unravel. It would later emerged that he was losing downforce after an element on his front wing failed.

Mercedes opted to replace Hamilton’s front wing during his pit stop, which dropped the championship leader down to fifth place.

Hamilton would move up to fourth after Vettel’s second stop on Lap 50, only for the German to reclaim the position in the closing stages.

Consequently, the ended Hamilton’s run of ten consecutive podium finishes, stretching back to the 2018 Brazilian Grand Prix.

The second Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas managed to hold off Vettel on the last lap to take the final podium spot.

“I think the race pace was not much different – but once we had to start to manage the temperatures we couldn’t catch up,” Bottas conceded.

Honda Win Again and McLaren Best of the Rest

Verstappen’s victory marks Red Bull’s second consecutive home race win, and Honda’s first since returning as an engine manufacturer in 2015.

Verstappen: “After that start I thought the race was over but we just kept pushing hard.”

McLaren enjoyed another strong race as Lando Norris powered his way to sixth place. Pierre Gasly claimed seventh in the second Red Bull and was lapped by his race-winning team-mate.

The Brit endured a lengthy battle with Gasly and Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Räikkönen and successfully fended them off.

Team-mate Carlos Sainz Jr. also experienced a challenging race after starting from the back row. The Spaniard climbed his way through the field and finished in a brilliant eighth.

Räikkönen and Antonio Giovinazzi rounded up the top ten for Alfa Romeo. The result also saw the Italian pick up his first world championship point.

Austrian GP Top Ten

Image sourced from @F1 via Twitter.