Monegasque driver Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) won the Austrian Grand Prix in Spielberg this Sunday, beating Dutchman Max Verstappen, on a circuit where Red Bull was racing at home.
Amid the orange sea of the stands at the Red Bull Ring, Leclerc’s Ferrari was stronger, in a historic triumph for the Monegasque, who had never won a race in Formula 1 without starting from pole. The 24-year-old managed to pass Verstappen three times to take the lead in the race at laps 12, 33 and 53 and endured the final apprehension with the throttle to maintain margin and prevent a final attack from the reigning world champion.
The 11th race of the season, animated practically from start to finish with several duels from front to back of the standings, was marked by the abandonment of a Red Bull and a Ferrari and numerous warnings and some penalties due to track limits.
The Mexican Sergio Pérez collided on the first lap with George Russell (Mercedes), had to pit and dropped to 20th and last place, retiring on the 26th of 71 laps. After Latifi’s retirement on lap 51, Carlos Sainz starred in the surprise retirement on lap 57, when he was in third place and close to Max Verstappen. The Spaniard’s Ferrari engine “burst” and starts to burn, with Sainz getting out of the car already off the track, without being braked and almost engulfed in flames.
The afternoon at Spielberg was, on the other hand, very positive for Mercedes, who put Lewis Hamilton on the podium with third place, followed by teammate George Russell. Verstappen got the fastest lap. Mick Schumacher confirmed Silverstone’s good indicators and achieved the best result of his career in Formula 1, sixth place, behind Esteban Ocon’s Alpine.
Bad start for Red Bull at home
Max Verstappen, winner of the sprint race on Saturday, kept the lead at the start and, if on the one hand this marked a good start for Red Bull, the team would suffer a hard setback in the first lap. Sergio Pérez was looking to overtake George Russell in fourth place and then chase the two Ferraris, but he collided with the Mercedes, left the track and left the race spoiled, until confirming the first retirement with just over a third of the race completed. Russell would then serve a five-second penalty.
Leclerc showing Max to the lead
The first signs of attack by Leclerc’s Ferrari came from the eighth lap, when it was almost glued to Verstappen’s Red Bull. The Monegasque could even, on the 12th lap, take the lead in a beautiful overtake of the Dutchman, who two laps later made the first of two stops in the race.
In the midst of a lively fight for victory, the peloton had other interesting duels, such as the one that, for example, Kevin Magnussen, Lando Norris, Fernando Alonso, Mick Schumacher and Guanyu Zhou starred in lap 24: in the fight between the seventh and 11. In th positions, the five pilots were practically “glued” to the track.
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July 10, 2022
New Leclerc pass confirming necessary second stop
With a stop made by all the drivers in front and after Leclerc had passed Verstappen for the second time, on lap 33, the Dutchman confirmed what would prove to be a necessity in the strategy: stopping a second time. Red Bull put new hard tires on Verstappen, who fell behind Sainz and Leclerc, who would stop at laps 51 and 50 respectively.
Ferrari showed that it was fine immediately after the second stop, not least because Leclerc, who came out about four seconds behind Verstappen, regained ground and made the overtaking hat-trick on the 53rd lap. Sainz was getting ready to follow his teammate’s feat, but when he was glued to Verstappen on lap 57, engine problems dictated the retirement. Sainz pulled the car off the road and scrambled out of the vehicle, consumed by the flames. The momentary virtual Safety Car was used by Leclerc and Verstappen for a third stop for medium tires and, with ten laps to go, the Monegasque managed to manage the advantage, finishing 1.532 seconds ahead of the current championship leader.
Leclerc passes Pérez at Worlds
Max Verstappen follows the lead with 208 points, now followed by Leclerc, who has 170 and surpassed Pérez, who is third with 151. Above 100 points are, in that order, Carlos Sainz (133), George Russell (128) and Lewis Hamilton. (109). In the constructors, Red Bull leads with 359 points, Ferrari follows with 303 and Mercedes has 237, consolidating third place.