Charles Leclerc overtakes station and Verstappen to win F1 Austrian Grand Prix
SPIELBERG, Austria – Resurgent Charles Leclerc challenges his Formula One title by holding on to Austrian victory grand opening on Sunday for the third win of the season, while Ferrari Teammate Carlos Sainz’s hopes of finishing second came to an end as his engine blew up as he prepared to strike. Max Verstappen‘S Red Bull.
Leclerc was clearly stressed in the last laps due to his throttle not working properly, making it harder to control his speed into turns.
“Right! Come on!” Leclerc shouted on the team radio after crossing the line. “I was scared. I was really scared. Yes!” The Monaco driver continued to beat Verstappen in second place by 1.5 seconds.
“I definitely need that win, the last five races have been extremely difficult,” Leclerc said. “In the end it was really hard, I had this problem with the throttle.”
A relieved Leclerc sings along as the song hits the podium, then joins a Champagne spray fun with a grinning Verstappen. Leclerc also didn’t forget Ferrari’s race director Laurent Mekies, infuriating him.
The mutual respect between Verstappen and Leclerc – both 24 years old and once fierce competitors – is growing stronger.
“You guys were too fast today,” Verstappen said in the post-race cooling room.
“Yes, we were very quick,” Leclerc replied.
Leclerc advanced to second overall but was still 38 points behind Verstappen – 208 to 170 – while Red Bull’s Sergio Perez dropped to third. He retired in 26 of 71 rounds after being hit in the opening round trying to get past George Russell’s Mercedes.
Verstappen received a bonus point for the fastest lap with the eight he earned for winning Saturday’s sprint.
Lewis Hamilton finished third for Mercedes and encouragingly took a straight third on the podium. Russell was fined 5th time for the incident with Perez but placed in 4th place. Even more impressive since Mercedes had to fix both cars after a late collision during Friday’s sprint qualifiers.
“Those are great points and we’ll move forward from here,” Hamilton said. “Many thanks to the team for their hard work.”
After cutting off Round 58 of 71, Sainz’s car caught fire and began to slide backwards on the gravel as a sheriff lunged toward it with a fire extinguisher and urged the Spaniard to jump out. Sainz escaped just in time as the flames licked his racing suit. He was unharmed, sitting on the grass contemplating his bad luck.
The incident spawned a virtual safety car, prompting Leclerc and Verstappen to get new tires in case an actual safety car appeared.
Leclerc’s fifth career win is one of his best, considering how he got on in the end. This is also a very happy thing for the driver after 5 difficult races without a podium and many doubts in the team’s decisions.
Last Sunday, it was Leclerc who vented his frustrations at the British GP when his team kept him on track instead of giving him new tires in a late safety car, leading to Sainz’s first win and discussion of squads in Ferrari.
This time it was Sainz’s turn to swallow bitterly.
“No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no,” he repeated incredulously as his engine started.
Seconds later, he had more pressing problems as flames rose around him.
Verstappen never really looked like his seventh win of the season and his fifth final at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg, where throngs of orange-clad fans cheered him on. in his team’s home race.
“It’s great to see so many fans coming to Austria, it’s a pity I couldn’t give them the win today,” he said. “We had to endure the tyres. Even so, second place is a good result.”
Six years after its debut, Esteban Ocon celebrates its 100th anniversary F1 race for fifth place for Alpine ahead of Mick Schumacher, who is rolling with Haas after taking the first point of his career with an eighth at Silverstone.
Lando Norris (McLaren), Kevin Magnussen (Haas), Daniel Ricciardo (Mclaren) and Fernando Alonso (Alpine) finished the top 10.
Leclerc twice overcame Verstappen with clean passes to control the race. But with about 20 laps, Verstappen took the lead again after Ferrari pitted briefly against Leclerc and Sainz.
But with just one small goal, Verstappen couldn’t hold out for long and Leclerc made it through smoothly – before the drama at the end of the film threatened to crush his victory.
Verstappen started from the pole ahead of Leclerc and Sainz. They nearly collided as they chased each other during Saturday’s sprint as tension crept in from Silverstone. By Sunday afternoon, Leclerc was smiling and Sainz was being comforted in the team garage.
Elsewhere, Pierre Gasly’s AlphaTauri collides with Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin into the gravel and given a five-second penalty. After emerging unscathed from a horrific crash last Sunday at the British GP, Chinese driver Zhou Guanyu placed 14th for Alfa Romeo.