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Verstappen steals Austria win from Leclerc in Austria classic

Verstappen steals Austria win from Leclerc in Austria classic


Max Verstappen beat Charles Leclerc to a second consecutive win at the Austrian Grand Prix after a thrilling race, which saw the Red Bull driver recover from an anti-stall start. 

Verstappen beat Leclerc over the line by 2.7 seconds, however the Dutchman faced a stewards enquiry for his race-winning move on Charles Leclerc, with Vettel splitting the two Mercedes cars, and just needed one more lap from having the Mercedes of Bottas for the final step on the podium.

Story of the race 

As the lights went out, Leclerc bolted away, but Verstappen hit anti-stall and went straight down the order. Meanwhile, Lando Norris hit above of Lewis Hamilton into fourth place, but the British driver cleared him before the end of the first lap.

Vettel, too, who had problems was up to sixth place from ninth on the opening lap, and on lap four cleared the McLaren of Norris on Lap 4, and was chasing after Raikkonen, with the front-runners quickly pulling a big gap.

Lap 6 and Vettel and Verstappen were on the charge, as Vettel cleared Raikkonen for fourth place – but that left Vettel almost 10 seconds off the lead, whilst Verstappen cleared Lando Norris’ McLaren.

As we approached just after the lap-10 mark, the midfield battle was heating up, as Norris sent a lunge at Raikkonen and got sixth place to himself, with Pierre Gasly next up the list to have a go at Raikkonen’s Alfa Romeo, who started to go backwards.

Lap 22 and Bottas and Vettel pitted, however they weren’t prepared for the German driver, and spent more than six seconds stationary in his pit-box, which compromised the Ferrari driver on his undercut attempt on the Mercedes cars. Meanwhile, Leclerc was in the following lap in the other Ferrari.

Whilst Hamilton stayed up-front trying an overcut, he sustained front-wing damage, and had to take a front-wing change during his pit-stop, which left his behind both Vettel and Verstappen after the first round of pit-stops.

Lap 50 and Verstappen treated the fans as he passed Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel for third place. The pushed Vettel into the pits, as they opted to switch strategies and bring Vettel in for a two-stop strategy.

With Verstappen’s superb pace, it put the Red Bull right at the back of the Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas, as he still aimed to repeat another victory at the Red Bull Ring for the second straight year. After an engine scare, Verstappen cleared Bottas for second place and was now chasing after Leclerc for the win.

With three laps to go, the race was set for a cliffhanger, as Verstappen was in Leclerc’s DRS range.

On Lap 69, Max Verstappen powered past the Ferrari to sneak past into the lead, as Vettel cleared Hamilton for fourth place.