Max Verstappen produced a sensational display in Sunday’s Austrian Grand Prix to deny Charles Leclerc a first win of his career – passing the young Ferrari driver with just two laps to go.
The victory will go down as one of the most incredible comebacks in Formula One history, with the Red Bull driver reigning triumphant in a sweltering Spielberg.
Just like in Saturday’s qualifying there was another controversial incident, with Verstappen’s winning move angering Leclerc – with the former stating it was merely ‘hard racing’.
“What the hell is that?” Leclerc yelled over the team radio following the Dutchman’s move. Verstappen protested his innocence.
“It is hard racing, otherwise we have to stay at home,” said Verstappen when informed he was under investigation.
“If those things are not allowed in racing, then what is the point in being in Formula One?”
Leclerc said: “I will let the stewards decide. I was on the outside of the corner the lap before.
“He left the space, but he didn’t on the next lap. I had to go wide and didn’t have a chance to come back at him.”
After a prolonged period of deliberation the FIA upheld the the result with no penalty.
Verstappen began alongside Leclerc on the front row but dropped to seventh following a torrid start.
The Dutch driver was then running in fourth place with 20 laps to run, but passed Sebastian Vettel, Valtteri Bottas and finally Leclerc in a stunning end to the race.
Bottas finished third for Mercedes, while Vettel fought his way past Lewis Hamilton on the penultimate lap to take fourth.
Hamilton will head to his home race at Silverstone in a fortnight’s time, 31 points clear of Bottas in the championship.
British teenager Lando Norris finished sixth for McLaren, equalling his career best.
Leclerc did not put a foot wrong, and his initial cause was aided by troubles for his rivals.
As Leclerc roared down to the first corner, Verstappen, who started alongside the Ferrari driver on the front row, staggered away from his marks, losing five places to seventh.
Vettel made up five spots, and was running in fourth when he made his first stop, but his Ferrari crew were not ready for him.
As the mechanics came running out from the garage with Vettel’s tyres, one almost got mowed down by Bottas’ Mercedes.
He stayed on his feet, but the stop took three times longer than it should have, and the German fell down the order to eighth.
Then, with Hamilton mounting a charge, he ran off the road, damaging his wing.
That left Leclerc leading from Bottas, Vettel, Verstappen and Hamilton at the midway stage.
Verstappen, at Red Bull’s home race, then began to make amends for his slow getaway.
Turning on the style, he roared past Vettel on lap 50. Five laps later he dived underneath Bottas to take second place, with Leclerc five seconds up the road.
Surely, he couldn’t do the unthinkable?
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But by this stage, Verstappen was one second faster than Leclerc, and with a handful of laps to go was crawling all over the back of the Monegasque’s gearbox.
The two 21-year-olds went wheel-to-wheel in a brilliant finale, before Verstappen’s contentious move at the right-handed Turn 3 on lap 69 of 71.
Leclerc felt Verstappen did not leave him enough room, the pair banging wheels on the exit, Leclerc falling off the circuit.
The stewards immediately noted the decision with both Verstappen and Leclerc now to report to the stewards – the Dutchman’s fine win in doubt.
Source: TalkSport.com Motorsport