Max Verstappen ends Mercedes’ dominance by winning Austrian Grand Prix as he overtakes Charles Leclerc with two laps to go… while Lewis Hamilton finishes fifth
- Max Verstappen produced a brave drive to overtake Charles Leclerc near the death at the Austrian Grand Prix
- Leclerc looked as if he would claim his first ever Formula One win but Verstappen had other ideas on Sunday
- Valtteri Bottas finished third for Mercedes while championship leader Lewis Hamilton placed fifth
- Verstappen is under investigation over the incident on Turn Three, which saw Leclerc bumped off the track
Max Verstappen drove like a man possessed to win the Austrian Grand Prix – despite being glued to the spot at the start.
Cheered on by thousands of orange-clad fans, the Dutchman passed Charles Leclerc two laps from the end for a heart-stopping win in 35C heat.
The win looked a possibility when he passed Valtteri Bottas with 15 laps to go to take second place. He still had nearly six seconds to close on Leclerc, who had looked untroubled for much of the afternoon.
Max Verstappen celebrates after winning the Austrian Grand Prix on Sunday afternoon, in what was an enthralling race
The 21-year-old celebrates on top of the podium after successfully defending his Austrian Grand Prix title
Verstappen gets ready to take his place on the podium, after placing ahead of Leclerc (second) and Valtteri Bottas (third)
Leclerc gives an interview while winner Verstappen walks behind him just moments after his brave victory
Red Bull celebrate as Verstappen takes the chequered, overtaking Ferrari driver Leclerc with just two laps remaining
Leclerc made no mistakes throughout but he could not contain the thunderbolt coming from behind – Verstappen with the wind in his sails.
But, my, how these two 21-year-olds – the future of Formula One – duelled and diced in the closing moments. Verstappen passed Leclerc, wheel to wheel at Turn Three. They touched. Leclerc ran off track. ‘What the hell is that?’ asked the Monegasque.
I thought it was fair. The stewards ‘noted’ the incident, and are now investigating it.
But who said F1’s boring?
This was magical racing on a fine track.
How fortunes change! Verstappen started second, behind Leclerc, but struggled to get away, possibly with anti-stall kicking in. it meant he plummeted to seventh.
On the Red Bull pit wall, team principal Christian Horner grimaced, holding his chin in his hands, presumably to stop it hitting the floor.
Ferrari’s Leclerc drives in the Austrian heat as the spectators watch on in anticipation in the background
Leclerc finished second, Bottas third. Sebastian Vettel was fourth, Hamilton fifth.
The race stopped Lewis Hamilton’s previously inexorable surge towards his sixth world title. He hampered himself by running over a kerb and needing to have a new front wing fitted, costing him nine seconds.
The Mercedes man still takes a 31-point lead into his home race at Silverstone on July 14.
There were red faces at Ferrari: as Vettel came in for his first tyre change, the mechanics were not ready. In a slapstick scene, they were still running into position with the tyres as Vettel came into the pits. Apparently, the radio to the mechanics was not working and they did not know in time that they were needed.
Vettel, who had suffered an engine-related problem in qualifying to start ninth, was running fourth when he stopped for the fateful change.
Brit Lando Norris, starting fifth for McLaren, drove well, even going up to third briefly at the first corner as he passed Hamilton. He pulled off a very smart move on Kimi Raikkonen’s Alfa Romeo at Turn Three. He finished sixth.
Hamilton overtakes Verstappen after the Dutchman’s car stalled on the starting grid on Sunday afternoon in Spielberg