Late charge hands Verstappen win in Austria

Max Verstappen passes Charles Leclerc late on at the Red Bull Ring to win the Austrian Grand Prix for the second year in a row

Max Verstappen recovered from a poor start to win the Austrian Grand Prix for the second year running, overtaking three cars in the final 20 laps, also securing the bonus point for setting the fastest lap of the race.

Charles Leclerc had to settle for second place having led for the majority of the race, while Valtteri Bottas held off a late push from Sebastian Vettel to clinch the final spot on the podium.

Verstappen started on the front row, but his hopes of challenging for the lead were dashed when he went into anti-stall, dropping him back to seventh.

Bottas, Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen all made strong starts, while Lando Norris defended well trying to capitalise on his strong qualifying, but the McLaren started to fall back.

Haas had shown good one-lap pace on Saturday, but the team’s tyre struggles dropped them towards the back of the field early on. There were further issues for Kevin Magnussen though as he was judged to have overshot his grid box, earning him a drive-through penalty for starting out of position.

Bottas was the first of the front runners to stop for fresh tyres, but was hindered by Vettel coming in behind him, forcing Mercedes to hold the Finn in the pitbox to avoid an unsafe release. However, Vettel also had problems, as his mechanics weren’t ready with his tyres, resulting in a 6-second pitstop for the four-time champion.

Lewis Hamilton stayed out longer, hoping to build a gap over some of the cars behind him, but he picked up damage to his front wing, meaning a longer pitstop while the team put on a new nose, leaving Hamilton fifth.

Having stopped later than some of the other front-runners, Verstappen found himself on fresher tyres than his rivals as he continued to recover from his sluggish start, passing Vettel for a place on the podium with 20 laps to go before quickly closing up on the back of Bottas, and cruising past the Finn for second.

Ferrari reacted, bringing Vettel in for a second pitstop, dropping him back behind Hamilton but giving him fresher rubber to finish the race on.

Verstappen had a gap of a little over 5 seconds to close to Leclerc with 10 laps remaining, and got in the Monegasque drivers’ DRS zone with four laps to go. After some brave defending from the Ferrari driver, Verstappen planted his car on the inside line, forcing Leclerc the long way around. The pair banged wheels, but the Red Bull man came out ahead.

Vettel’s newer tyres helped him find a way past Hamilton on the penultimate lap, and he quickly closed the gap to Bottas on the last lap, looking to steal the final spot on the rostrum, but the German ran wide while pushing too hard, allowing the Mercedes driver to hold on for third.

Pierre Gasly tried to catch Norris in the final moment, but the Briton did enough to keep his McLaren in front of the Red Bull, while teammate Carlos Sainz also finished in the points, despite starting at the back of the grid due to an energy penalty. Both Alfa Romeo cars were also in the points, backing up their strong qualifying performance.

Verstappen’s overtake on Leclerc was under investigation by the stewards as the drivers headed to the podium.

Provisional classification:

1 Max Verstappen (Red Bull)

2. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari)

3. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes)

4. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari)

5. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)

6. Lando Norris (McLaren)

7. Pierre Gasly (Red Bull)

8. Carlos Sainz (McLaren)

9. Kimi Raikkonen (Alfa Romeo)

10. Antonio Giovinazzi (Alfa Romeo)

11. Sergio Perez (Racing Point)

12. Daniel Ricciardo (Renault)

13. Nico Hulkenberg (Renault)

14. Lance Stroll (Racing Point)

15. Alexander Albon (Toro Rosso)

16. Romain Grosjean (Haas)

17. Daniil Kvyat (Toro Rosso)

18. George Russell (Williams)

19. Kevin Magnussen (Haas)

20. Robert Kubica (Williams)


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  1. 2019 Austrian Grand Prix - what the drivers said - 3Legs4Wheels
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