Leclerc holds off Verstappen for Austrian GP victory

Charles Leclerc secures his third win of the 2022 F1 season with victory at the Austrian Grand Prix

GP AUSTRIA F1/2022 - VENERDI’ 08/07/2022 credit: @Scuderia Ferrari Press Office

Charles Leclerc has taken victory at the Austrian Grand Prix, passing Max Verstappen three times at the Red Bull Ring for his third win of the season.

The title rivals both saw their teammates retire, while Leclerc struggled with a throttle issue in the closing laps, with Lewis Hamilton securing the final place on the podium.

Sergio Perez found himself at the back of the field on the opening lap when he tried to force his way past George Russell, leaving the Mexican spinning across the gravel, but it was the Mercedes driver who picked up a five-second penalty for causing the incident.

Verstappen initially looked to be pulling away at the front of the field, but Leclerc closed the gap to get within DRS range, while further down the order Mick Schumacher got ahead of Hamilton.

Verstappen defended well to keep Leclerc behind, but eventually the Ferrari driver spotted his opportunity and threaded his car down the inside to move ahead of the championship leader.

The Dutchman was the first of the frontrunners to pit, and had to work his way through traffic, but in clean air started to close back in on the Ferraris.

The battle for the lower points positions was closely contested with Kevin Magnussen, Lando Norris, Guanyu Zhou and Fernando Alonso all going wheel to wheel.

On lap 27, Perez was the first driver to retire from the race, with the damage from his early contact with Russell proving too much.

Leclerc and Carlos Sainz pitted on consecutive laps, promoting Verstappen back to the top of the order, while Sainz rejoined behind Hamilton in fourth.

Hamilton stopped on the next lap, but a slow stop from Mercedes meant he came back on track behind Esteban Ocon, but the seven-time champion found his way past the Alpine a lap later.

A number of drivers received warnings for breaching track limits, with Pierre Gasly picking up a five-second time penalty for crossing the white line too often, while Norris also found himself on the receiving end of a penalty.

Leclerc’s fresher tyres meant he moved back ahead of Verstappen, with the reigning champion responding by making a second stop.

Gasly’s second penalty of the day came when he tangled with Sebastian Vettel, pushing the four-time champion out wide and into the gravel.

Verstappen continued to close in on the Ferraris, forcing the Italian manufacturer to bring both drivers in for another pitstop, but Leclerc soon moved back in front of the Dutch driver.

Nicholas Latifi’s day was brought to an early end when Williams were forced to retire his car after debris caused damage to his floor.

Ferrari’s hopes of securing a double podium finish came to an end when Carlos Sainz’s engine failed with 13 laps to go. The Spaniard, fresh from his first career F1 win, had to leap from the car as it caught fire, with marshals rushing to stop the car rolling back on track.

A virtual safety car while marshals cleared the stricken Ferrari allowed several drivers to make another pit stop, including Leclerc and Verstappen.

Leclerc found himself struggling with a throttle issue in the final laps of the race, with Verstappen closing the gap to less than three seconds, but traffic allowed Leclerc to stay ahead and secure the win.

Provisional classification:

1 Charles Leclerc (Ferrari)

2. Max Verstappen (Red Bull)

3. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)

4. George Russell (Mercedes)

5. Esteban Ocon (Alpine)

6. Mick Schumacher (Haas)

7. Lando Norris (McLaren)

8. Kevin Magnussen (Haas)

9. Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren)

10. Fernando Alonso (Alpine)

11. Valtteri Bottas (Alfa Romeo)

12. Alex Albon (Williams)

13. Lance Stroll (Aston Martin)

14. Guanyu Zhou (Alfa Romeo)

15. Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri)

16. Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin)

17. Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri)


Carlos Sainz (Ferrari)

Nicholas Latifi (Williams)

Sergio Perez (Red Bull)

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