Verstappen wins thrilling race at the Red Bull Ring

That was an epic Austrian Grand Prix as Max Verstappen takes victory from Charles Leclerc in an exciting race, scoring Honda its first win since returning to the sport.

Verstappen fell down to eighth on the opening lap but charged through the race order and caught Leclerc late on before winning a wheel-to-wheel battle to secure the victory.

However, his race-winning pass – which resulted in minor contact and pushed Leclerc to the run-off, denying Leclerc a first Formula 1 win – led to a post-race investigation from the stewards.

Leclerc finished second, with Valtteri Bottas third as Mercedes’ perfect win record at the start of 2019 has finally ended.

Leclerc led from pole position and despite being on a strategy his rivals felt was “risky” managed to keep the lead Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas at length throughout the Austrian Grand Prix.

He then held on to withstand a late assault from Verstappen, who fell from second to eighth on the opening lap but charged back to score Red Bull Racing’s best result of the season with Honda.

Leclerc maintained his pole advantage, aided by the anti-stall kicking in on Verstappen’s Red Bull and dropping the home favourite back to seventh at the first corner.

Verstappen then fell to eighth as teammate Pierre Gasly passed him around the outside at Turn 3, but he retook the position around the outside of the penultimate corner.

As Leclerc built a small lead over Bottas at the front, Sebastian Vettel and Verstappen worked their way up the order.

Vettel started ninth after an engine-related problem in qualifying but was up to fourth by lap six, and Verstappen had made it to fifth three laps later.

Despite being on harder tyres that Mercedes thought would be an advantage to Leclerc’s softs, Bottas was the first driver to pit on lap 21, with Vettel stopping the same lap.

Vettel lost a big amount of time because a radio problem for Ferrari’s mechanics meant they did not get the instruction he was pitting.

Leclerc covered Bottas’s stop one lap after his pursuer, releasing Lewis Hamilton into the race lead as the other Mercedes and Verstappen extended their opening stints.

Hamilton pitted on lap 30 after quickly losing a lot of time over the last couple of laps of his first stint thanks to front wing damage likely picked up when he ran wide over the sausage kerb at Turn 1 – now renamed as Lauda Kurve, in honour of Niki.

The time loss and lengthy stop to change his wing meant Hamilton rejoined eight seconds behind Vettel despite the Ferrari driver’s own slow stop, and when Verstappen pitted one lap later he rejoined ahead of Hamilton as well.

While Leclerc held a lead of around four seconds out front, Verstappen – 12.9 seconds off the lead in fourth after stopping – began his charge.

It took him 17 laps to chip away at Vettel’s deficit but once in DRS range he quickly mounted an attack.

Vettel repeatedly struggled to make the apex of the Turn 3 right-hander at the top of the hill and on lap 50 of 71 Verstappen took advantage with a good run out of the corner, and used DRS to get ahead into the braking zone and pass Vettel around the outside into Turn 4.

Once clear of the Ferrari, which immediately made a second stop for soft tyres and rejoined behind a muted Hamilton, Verstappen quickly caught Bottas.

Both Mercedes drivers’ pace was reduced because of temperature management, and Verstappen nailed Bottas for second on the run up to Turn 3 on lap 56 – having only just reported a brief loss of power.

That released him to try to catch Leclerc, six seconds up the road with 15 laps left.

By the time just five laps remained, Verstappen was on the Ferrari’s gearbox and attacked on the outside into Turn 3 and 4, but Leclerc just held on.

The next lap, Verstappen dived inside Leclerc with a brilliant move at Turn 3, but Leclerc just held on around the outside and was able to outdrag the Red Bull down to Turn 4.

With three laps ago Leclerc half covered the inside but Verstappen moved right to the edge of the track, forced Leclerc wide – and the two bumped wheels as Leclerc tried to hang on again on the outside.

Leclerc took to the run-off and complained over the radio, while Verstappen accused his rival of turning in on him.

Verstappen was told to get his head down and escape, which he did – crossing the finishing line almost three seconds clear.

However that incident between the two at Turn 3 is currently being investigated. Hopefully the race results will stand as this is motor racing.

Behind the top three, Vettel used his soft tyres to catch and overhaul Hamilton for fourth.

Championship leader Hamilton was limited to a muted fifth place, but only lost five points to teammate and title rival Bottas.

Lando Norris made up for his heartbreaking end to last week’s race in France by winning the best of the rest battle for McLaren in sixth.

He kept the second Red Bull of Pierre Gasly comfortably at bay to score the best result of his rookie season.

Carlos Sainz executed a long first stint to rise to eighth from the back of the grid, while Alfa Romeo duo Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi completed the point scorers – Giovinazzi finally banking his first Formula 1 point in the process.

Austrian Grand Prix, race results:
1 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Honda 71 1h22m01.822s
2 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 71 2.724s
3 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 71 18.960s
4 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 71 19.610s
5 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 71 22.805s
6 Lando Norris McLaren-Renault 70 1 Lap
7 Pierre Gasly Red Bull-Honda 70 1 Lap
8 Carlos Sainz Jr. McLaren-Renault 70 1 Lap
9 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 70 1 Lap
10 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 70 1 Lap
11 Sergio Perez Racing Point-Mercedes 70 1 Lap
12 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 70 1 Lap
13 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 70 1 Lap
14 Lance Stroll Racing Point-Mercedes 70 1 Lap
15 Alexander Albon Toro Rosso-Honda 70 1 Lap
16 Romain Grosjean Haas-Ferrari 70 1 Lap
17 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Honda 70 1 Lap
18 George Russell Williams-Mercedes 69 2 Laps
19 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari 69 2 Laps
20 Robert Kubica Williams-Mercedes 68 3 Laps

Drivers’ standings:
1 Lewis Hamilton 197
2 Valtteri Bottas 166
3 Max Verstappen 126
4 Sebastian Vettel 123
5 Charles Leclerc 105
6 Pierre Gasly 43
7 Carlos Sainz Jr. 30
8 Lando Norris 22
9 Kimi Raikkonen 21
10 Daniel Ricciardo 16
11 Nico Hulkenberg 16
12 Kevin Magnussen 14
13 Sergio Perez 13
14 Daniil Kvyat 10
15 Alexander Albon 7
16 Lance Stroll 6
17 Romain Grosjean 2
18 Antonio Giovinazzi 1
19 George Russell 0
20 Robert Kubica 0

Constructors’ standings:
1 Mercedes 363
2 Ferrari 228
3 Red Bull-Honda 169
4 McLaren-Renault 52
5 Renault 32
6 Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 22
7 Racing Point-Mercedes 19
8 Toro Rosso-Honda 17
9 Haas-Ferrari 16
10 Williams-Mercedes 0

5 thoughts to “Verstappen wins thrilling race at the Red Bull Ring”

  1. Race winner Max Verstappen commented that there will be oo point being in Formula 1 if the Charles Leclerc move is punished by the race stewards. has the details.

    Max Verstappen said drivers “have to stay at home” and there is no point “being in Formula 1” if his move on Charles Leclerc to win the Austrian Grand Prix gets punished.

    Red Bull driver Verstappen caught and overtook Ferrari’s Leclerc with three laps remaining, but the two made wheel-to-wheel contact as Leclerc tried to hang on around the outside.

    That incident is under investigation by the stewards.

    Immediately after the grand prix, Verstappen said: “It’s hard racing, otherwise we have to stay at home.

    “If those things are not allowed in racing, then what’s the point of being in Formula 1?”

    Leclerc had led the race from pole position and looked in control as Verstappen, who started on the front row but fell to eighth on the opening lap, charged up the order.

    After losing a maiden F1 win late on for the second time this season following his Bahrain engine problem, Leclerc said: “Overall the race was good at the end I had a bit more degradation than I thought and Max came back.

    “I’ll let the stewards decide. It was pretty clear in the car, I don’t know how it looked from the outside.

    “We’ll see what the decision is.”

    When it was suggested he did not think the move was fair, Leclerc pointed to the previous lap where Verstappen had tried to pass him on the inside but left more space on the outside.

    “I was on the outside just like the lap before,” said Leclerc. “The lap before was completely fine, he left the space, a car width on the exit of the corner, but he didn’t on the other lap.

    “I had to go wide and then I didn’t have any chance to come back. It’s a shame.”

    Verstappen’s victory marked Red Bull’s first with new-for-2019 engine partner Honda and the Japanese manufacturer’s first win since returning to F1 in 2015.

    He said: “You could see now on the straights I had good pace as well so we could make the pass.

    “I’m extremely happy for the whole team and also for Honda. To win here is incredible.”

  2. Austrian Grand Prix race review as reported by

    Charles Leclerc came agonisingly close to becoming an F1 race-winner in Bahrain – and he was denied that honour again at the Austrian Grand Prix after being overtaken two laps from the end by a brilliant Max Verstappen, who closed out his second win in two years at the Red Bull Ring. However, as the chequered flag fell the result was under investigation as the stewards announced they would review the Dutchman’s pass of Leclerc.

    The two drivers enjoyed a fantastic late race scrap before the Red Bull driver nipped past long-time race-long leader Leclerc at Turn 3 on Lap 69 of 71, the duo banging wheels as Leclerc ran off the road.

    Verstappen held on to cross the line and close out the fifth win of his career, and the first for a non-Mercedes runner in 2019. It also ensured Honda’s first win since 2006.

    Valtteri Bottas finished third on the road for Mercedes, while a late overtake on Lewis Hamilton saw Sebastian Vettel finish fourth after making a two-stop strategy work, with Hamilton coming home in fifth, the first time he’s finished outside the top two this year.

    Behind Hamilton, Lando Norris was a fantastic sixth for McLaren, holding off the Red Bull of Pierre Gasly, while Carlos Sainz, having started at the back of the grid, was eighth, ahead of the two Alfa Romeos of Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi, the Italian scoring his first F1 point.

    If you’d predicted how the race was going to finish from watching the start, you’d have got it badly, badly wrong. The two drivers on the youngest ever F1 front row suffered two very different getaways, Leclerc easing away perfectly from his second career pole, while Verstappen bogged down horribly. As the anti-stall kicked in, Lewis Hamilton was forced to veer wildly around the struggling RB15, with Verstappen eventually slotting into P7 by the end of Lap 1, having briefly been behind his team mate Pierre Gasly.

    Bottas slipped into second place through Turn 1 behind Leclerc, while a cheeky Lando Norris nipped around the outside of Hamilton to briefly hold third before being repassed by the Mercedes. Vettel enjoyed a fine start from ninth too and was sixth by the end of the first lap, while his old Ferrari team mate Kimi Raikkonen was impressive too, muscling past Norris on Lap 1 to run as high as fourth.

    With a McLaren and an Alfa Romeo running the top five, the early laps were characterised by some fantastic battles, as the faster cars behind tried to force their way through the plucky upstarts. Norris and Raikkonen put up staunch defences, but ultimately neither were unable to resist the superior speed of Vettel and Verstappen as they came through.

    Up at the front, by Lap 20 it was Leclerc from Bottas from Hamilton from Vettel from Verstappen. Two laps later, Bottas was brought in by Mercedes, with Ferrari covering off their rivals by calling in Vettel. But as the German pulled in, there was panic in the Ferrari pit as a radio communication issue meant the mechanics were ate out of the garage with the tyres as their driver sat stationary in his box – one of those mechanics then very lucky to avoid being hit by Bottas the Finn powered out of his pit box behind. Vettel got away after a 6.6 second stop, emerging in P8 to Bottas’ P4 – and he had it all to do again to get back up to the front.

    Leclerc had a much slicker stop a lap later, emerging P3 as Hamilton led. But all was not well in the #44 Mercedes, with Hamilton reporting front wing damage that was causing his lap times to drop off dramatically. A worried Mercedes decided to combine his Lap 31 pit stop with a front wing change – impressively managing the feat in 11 seconds. Following Verstappen’s pit stop a lap later, once the frontrunners had all pitted – and Vettel and Hamilton suffered their respective issues – the order was Leclerc, Bottas, Vettel, Verstappen and Hamilton, with Carlos Sainz and Daniel Ricciardo yet to stop in P6 and P7. Lando Norris was in eighth but a net P6, the rookie driving an impressive race having repassed Raikkonen on Lap 15, and keeping Pierre Gasly behind him in the Red Bull.

    In the other Red Bull, Verstappen was the man on the move was. Despite the power advantage of the Ferrari, the Dutchman saw off Vettel for P3 on Lap 50, to the delight of the massive Dutch contingent at the Red Bull Ring – with Ferrari then reacting by bringing Vettel in for a second stop for soft tyres, dropping him to fifth behind Hamilton – while on Lap 56, Verstappen overcame an exhaust sensor scare to pass Bottas for second on the run up to Turn 3.

    With Leclerc now just five seconds up the road in the lead, Verstappen could clearly sniff a second straight win in Austria, and duly began setting a blistering pace in his pursuit. With nine lap fresher hard tyres than his Monegasque rival, by Lap 68, he was in a position throw one up the inside of Leclerc into Turn 3.

    He was past and into the lead, but Leclerc fought back brilliantly around the outside of the corner to retake the place before the drivers reached Turn 4. The writing, however, was on the wall for Leclerc, and when they approached the same corner a lap later, Verstappen moved decisively to the inside. As the pair teetered around the apex, they banged tyres, with Leclerc forced off into the run-off area – but the place was Verstappen’s.

    There were incredible scenes as the Dutchman then swept through ahead as he closed out his second straight victory in Austria, and the first for the Red Bull-Honda partnership – Honda’s first since 2006 – assuming the stewards didn’t find any fault with the overtake as the decided to investigate the move.

    A disgruntled Leclerc was left to come home second, having been so close to taking his first victory and after driving brilliantly all weekend. A late move around Turn 4 saw Vettel take Hamilton for P4, justifying Ferrari’s decision to attempt a two-stopper. That meant that, having won every race so far this year, the Mercedes runners could only finish third and fifth, with Hamilton failing to win for the first time in five races.

    Behind, it was a fantastic day for McLaren, Lando Norris finishing sixth while Carlos Sainz drove brilliantly to come home in P8 after his back-of-the-grid start.

  3. Charles Leclerc says Max Verstappen’s controversial move to win the Austrian Grand Prix is “not the way you overtake” after their wheel-to-wheel Formula 1 battle ended in contact.

    The two drivers bumped wheels as Verstappen finally overtook the Ferrari at the Turn 3 right-hander at the top of the hill, one lap after a failed attempt in which they ran side-by-side without touching.

    Immediately after the grand prix Verstappen questioned “the point of being in Formula 1” if that pass was considered illegal.

    When asked by in the official post-race press conference if he felt the win had been stolen from him, Leclerc said: “Red Bull was very quick today, very good at keeping the tyres better than us. [I’d have no qualms] if I feel that the overtake was done rightly – I don’t think the second one was.

    “I believe that anyway the end will have probably been the same but it’s just not the way you overtake, I think.”

    Verstappen had charged up the order from eighth on the opening lap after his Red Bull’s anti-stall kicked in and dropped him from the front row.

    His first attempt to pass Leclerc was unsuccessful after Leclerc made use of more room on the outside line to hold on and outdrag Verstappen down to Turn 4.

    However, the second attempt led to contact and a post-race stewards investigation that was due to begin at 18.00 local time.

    Asked by to talk through the differences between the two moves, Verstappen said: “I think the second one I braked a bit deeper into the corner. We had a little contact of course, mid-to-exit of the corner.

    “From my side I think it’s racing. We all know there’s a crest in that corner as well, so if you take the crest wrong, because we both went a bit straight on, at one point you run out of room.

    “But it’s hard racing. It’s better than just following each other and having a boring race.”

    Leclerc said straight after the race that it was “pretty clear” in the car who was to blame.

    Asked by if he felt he could have done anything different to avoid the contact, Leclerc said: “I did the same thing from the first to the second lap. The only thing that changed from the first to the second lap was contact. And then I had to go wide, I lost quite a bit of time there.”

    Pushed again on his role, Leclerc said: “I did not expect any contact on the second lap.

    “As Max said he braked a little deeper. I don’t know if he lost it or not. But then there was the contact.

    “I felt I was quite strong in traction on the first attempt, I managed to have a better traction and kept my position. On the second one I couldn’t do that because I was off-track.”


  4. It’s been an incredible run – but Mercedes’ chances of taking a clean-sweep of victories in 2019 came to a disappointing end at the Austrian Grand Prix, with Valtteri Bottas the Silver Arrows’ highest finisher in third and Lewis Hamilton down in fifth.

    Having failed to get a car on the front row of the grid for the first time this season – following Hamilton’s demotion from P2 to P4 in qualifying – both Mercedes then struggled with overheating in the 33 degree conditions, with Bottas and Hamilton conceding places late in the race to finish P3 and P5, and take their lowest points haul since Mexico last year.

    “We knew already before the race started that we’d been in trouble,” said Hamilton, who’d been on a run of four straight victories up to this point. “Those guys [the Ferraris and Red Bulls] were pushing flat-out all the way and we couldn’t do that at all. When you’re doing 400, 600 metres of lift-and-coast…

    “We’ve struggled for years here,” he added. “I don’t really understand why we haven’t prepared for this race particularly, but we’ve been struggling in that area with temperature, and today you saw the worst of it.”

    Bottas at least managed to claim a podium for the Silver Arrows – but having put up no defence against a charging Max Verstappen as he managed the temperatures on his W10, the Finn agreed that Mercedes had had no chance to fight for victory on the day.

    “It was difficult,” he said. “We suffered a lot with overheating today of our power units, the amount of lift-and-coast we had to do to keep the temperatures low. It was getting pretty difficult to drive, and that’s why I couldn’t really attack, couldn’t really defend that well.

    “It was a bit of a survival game, so in that sense, really pleased to be on the podium, but for sure, a weekend we need to learn from. We had no chance to fight for the win today.”

    A bad race it may have been for Mercedes – but the Silver Arrows won’t be too distraught, given that their lead over Ferrari in Austria slimmed down to just 135 points with nine races now run.


  5. UPDATE: Verstappen keeps Austrian Grand Prix race victory. News article provided by

    Max Verstappen has kept his Austrian Grand Prix victory after stewards deemed no further action was needed following his incident with Charles Leclerc.

    Red Bull driver Verstappen and Ferrari’s Leclerc engaged in a wheel-to-wheel battle for victory in the closing laps of the race.

    They bumped wheels at the Turn 3 right-hander at the top of the hill with three laps remaining, after Verstappen dived inside Leclerc and gave his rival no room on the outside.

    The incident was investigated after the race, but Verstappen has kept victory as stewards deemed it a racing incident.

    The stewards’ explanation read: “Car 33 [Verstappen] sought to overtake car 16 [Leclerc] at Turn 3 on lap 69 by out-braking car 16.

    “When doing so, car 33 was alongside car 16 on the entry of the corner and was in full control of the car while attempting the overtaking move on the inside of car 16.

    “However, both car 33 and car 16 proceeded to negotiate the corner alongside each other but there was clearly insufficient space for both cars to do so.

    “Shortly after the late apex, while exiting the corner, there was contact between the two cars. In the totality of the circumstances, we did not consider that either driver was wholly or predominantly to blame for the incident.

    “We consider that this is a racing incident.”

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