Max Verstappen drove like a man possessed to win the Austrian Grand Prix – despite being glued to the spot at the start and then being involved in a controversial overtake to secure victory.
Verstappen kept his victory at the Austrian Grand Prix after he escaped a penalty for his winning move on Charles Leclerc.
More than three hours after the Red Bull driver took the chequered flag in Spielberg, Formula One’s governing body, the FIA, revealed the stewards had decided to take no further action over the incident.
AUSTRIAN GRAND PRIX – RESULTS
1 Max Verstappen (Ned) Red Bull 1hr 22mins 01.822secs
2 Charles Leclerc (Mon) Ferrari 1:22:04.546
3 Valtteri Bottas (Fin) Mercedes GP 1:22:20.782
4 Sebastian Vettel (Ger) Ferrari 1:22:21.432
5 Lewis Hamilton (Gbr) Mercedes GP 1:22:24.627
6 Lando Norris (Gbr) McLaren at 1 lap
7 Pierre Gasly (Fra) Red Bull at 1 lap
8 Carlos Sainz (Spa) McLaren at 1 lap
9 Kimi Raikkonen (Fin) Alfa Romeo Racing at 1 lap
10 Antonio Giovinazzi (Ita) Alfa Romeo Racing at 1 lap
11 Sergio Perez (Mex) Racing Point at 1 lap
12 Daniel Ricciardo (Aus) Renault at 1 lap
13 Nico Hulkenberg (Ger) Renault at 1 lap
14 Lance Stroll (Can) Racing Point at 1 lap
15 Alexander Albon (Tha) Scuderia Toro Rosso at 1 lap
16 Romain Grosjean (Fra) Haas F1 at 1 lap
17 Daniil Kvyat (Rus) Scuderia Toro Rosso at 1 lap
18 George Russell (Gbr) Williams at 2 laps
19 Kevin Magnussen (Den) Haas F1 at 2 laps
20 Robert Kubica (Pol) Williams at 3 laps
Cheered on by thousands of orange-clad fans, the Dutchman passed 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.
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.
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.