Verstappen snatches dramatic Austrian Grand Prix win from Leclerc

Charles Leclerc was not impressed with a late move from Max Verstappen which appears to have denied the Frenchman a first win.

Max Verstappen celebrates after winning the Austrian Grand Prix.   -  Getty Images

Max Verstappen made an incredible recovery to win the Austrian Grand Prix after forcing Charles Leclerc off track in a gripping late battle.

Leclerc looked set to claim his maiden Formula One win at the Red Bull Ring, but the Ferrari driver was passed by Verstappen on lap 69 of 71.

Verstappen's win was under investigation after a clash of wheels with the Frenchman in a dramatic end to an eventful race, at a track where he was also victorious last year.

He first hit the front on lap 68 as he went wheel-to-wheel with Leclerc, only for the Ferrari man to regain first place.

Verstappen passed again on the inside at Turn 3, with the pair touching wheels again, and he did not allow Leclerc to hit back.

Leclerc was clearly unimpressed with the way the Dutchman overtook, but it is down to the stewards to decide the outcome.

Verstappen had dropped from second to seventh in a poor start but stormed his way through the field - roared on by a huge army of Dutch fans.

Valtteri Bottas took third ahead of Sebastian Vettel after passing championship leader Lewis Hamilton late on, completing Formula One's youngest ever podium at 24 years and 156 days.

VERSTAPPEN TAKES IT TO THE MAX

Verstappen started in second after Hamilton was given a three-place grid penalty for impeding Kimi Raikkonen in qualifying.

The 21-year-old Dutchman gave himself work to do when he slipped five spots in a nightmare start. He appeared to thrive on the challenge of forcing his way through the field, though, and passed Bottas a little too easily with 15 laps to go after overtaking Vettel, before attacking Leclerc.

Verstappen said of his Leclerc pass: "It's hard racing. If those things are not allowed in racing then what's the point in being in Formula One."

Max Verstappen stormed his way through the field after dropping from second to seventh in a poor start at the Austrian Grand Prix.   -  Reuters

 

MORE WOE FOR FERRARI

Not a lot has gone right for Ferrari this season and it was not only Leclerc who endured more misery. The engineers were not ready for Vettel's pit stop on lap 23 due to a radio issue, a slow stop costing the German time and also Bottas, who had to wait for Vettel.

That opened the door for Mercedes, but they experienced issues of their own as they failed to secure victory for the first time this season.

WING DAMAGE COSTS HAMILTON

It was looking promising for Mercedes when Verstappen started so badly, with Bottas second and Hamilton third.

Ferrari's botched pit stop opened the door for Hamilton to stay out longer at the front on medium tyres, but the defending champion suffered wing damage pushing to extend his lead.

Hamilton had to pit earlier than planned and his championship lead now stands at 31 points after Vettel passed him in the closing stages. The Grand Prix outcome marked the end of a 10-race winning streak for Mercedes.

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