‘If we can’t race what is the point being in Formula One?’: Max Verstappen furious as his Austrian Grand Prix win is investigated… and Red Bull chief Christian Horner says change of winner would be ‘stealing’ from F1
- Max Verstappen produced a stunning drive to win the Austrian Grand Prix
- The Dutchman passed Charles Leclerc with two laps to go but is in hot water
- That move is being investigated by stewards and he could lose the race win
- Verstappen criticised the investigation and described it simply as ‘hard racing’
- Red Bull principal Christian Horner said changing the winner would be ‘stealing’
Max Verstappen hit out at the decision to investigate his victory at the Austrian Grand Prix while Red Bull team principal said the decision to strip his driver would be ‘stealing’ from Formula One.
The Dutchman produced a stunning drive after a poor start to take the lead with two laps to go after a thrilling battle with young Ferrari rival Charles Leclerc.
Drama arrived on Lap 69 at Turn 3 when Verstappen got the inside line on Leclerc and as they went wheel-to-wheel, Leclerc was bumped off the track on the outside as Verstappen took the lead.
Max Verstappen (left) got the inside line as he looked to overtake Charles Leclerc on Lap 69
The two drivers went wheel-to-wheel as they battled to take the lead with two laps remaining
Leclerc in his Ferrari got bumped as Verstappen valiantly defended the inside line of the track
The Ferrari driver went off track and he was left furious with Verstappen’s decision-making
But Verstappen said after his win that we ‘should go home’ if drivers are not able to race hard
That decision appeared, on the face of it, to be hard racing but there was a near instant announcement that the overtake was under investigation, a decision that left all at Red Bull seething.
‘It was hard racing otherwise we have to stay at home,’ Verstappen fumed to Sky Sports.
‘If we can’t race what is the point being in Formula One?’
It was the talk of the paddock at the end as Verstappen took to the podium and help the trophy aloft.
It was stunning for Verstappen as he caught up to pole-sitter Leclerc before drama arrived
The Dutchman defended the title he won in 2018 but he is sweating over the investigation now
Drivers and pundits were split on whether it was a fair move but the feeling was unanimous among the drivers that it is wrong for stewards to strip them of victory long after the race has ended.
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner added: ”I think he did [give enough room]. (Charles) Leclerc has the opportunity. He is fully alongside and at that point he can’t just get out of the way. Leclerc has to concede the corner at some point.
‘What are you supposed to do? This is just what Formula One needs. Hard racing between two guys of the future.
‘If they take the win off Max that would be stealing from F1. We need drivers side by side fighting each other.
‘The fact the stewards haven’t made a decision yet, but to change that podium around it would be an enormous call by the stewards.’
He was absolutely delighted at the end as he claimed his first race win of the current season
Red Bull principal Christian Horner (L) said it would be ‘stealing’ to take the result off his driver
Verstappen started the race in Spielberg in second but was the victim of anti-stall off the line and his disastrous start looked to have cost him a podium finish.
But after a smart pit-stop, he rallied and soon began setting the fastest lap as he flew past his rivals before getting Leclerc in his sight.
‘After that start I thought the race was over but we kept pushing hard,’ Verstappen added.
‘After the pit stop we were flying and you could see we had good pace on the straight. I am so happy for the whole team but also for Honda, it was incredible.’