Max Verstappen wins Austrian GP thriller and other talking points

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Max Verstappen won the Austrian Grand Prix on Sunday after overtaking Charles Leclerc in the closing laps. Verstappen’s Red Bull touched wheels with Leclerc’s car triggering an immediate investigation with Leclerc forced off the circuit.

Valtteri Bottas came in third, with Sebastian Vettel in fourth. Here are our key talking points from the race.

VERSTAPPEN STARS

A scintillating drive from the Dutchman. Verstappen, who won the Austrian Grand Prix last season, started from second on the grid but a poor start saw him drop down to seventh by turn one.

At this early point of the race, it was hard to see him climb back up to a podium spot. However, it’s not about the start of the race but the end, and Verstappen roared back, benefiting from fresher tyres to mount successful attacks on both Sebastian Vettel and Valtteri Bottas.

He pushed hard in the final frenetic laps, and after reeling in Leclerc, he finally dived in to take the lead with two laps remaining – touching Leclerc’s wheels in the process.

It may be split opinion with the touch of tyres, but this is racing against two drivers of the future, and should be allowed.

HEARTBREAK FOR LECLERC

More heartbreak for the Monaco man. The 21-year-old drove superbly around the Spielberg circuit all weekend, maintaining his pace for large spells of the race before conceding the lead with two laps to go.

Leclerc was the faster driver for much of the weekend but couldn’t hold off the searing pace of Verstappen late in the race, despite the Dutchman touching his wheels.

After being denied victory in Bahrain three months ago, Sunday’s second place will at least add more positives for a driver who is only in his second season in Formula One.

He will be disappointed no doubt, but let’s hope this podium finish will at least be the start of more success for the Scuderia.

HAMILTON STRUGGLES

The Briton qualified second fastest but was given a three-place grid penalty for impeding Kimi Raikkonen.

Starting from fourth, he could only manage fifth, with his edginess in the car down to a lack of pace on the straights, where Red Bull and Ferrari dominated all weekend.

Although he will be disappointed with the result, it doesn’t have much affect on the drivers’ standings where he still holds a 31-point lead over Bottas. His confidence won’t be affected either, with six wins from the first nine races.

Next up is the British GP – a track Hamilton has won a joint-record five times.

MIXED SHOWING FOR VETTEL

Poor old Seb. The German started ninth after an engine-related problem stopped him from setting a laptime in Q3 on Saturday.

A bright start to the race saw move up to fourth and threaten a podium position early on.

However, when Vettel came in to pit on lap 22, the Ferrari mechanics had an issue with their radios and they didn’t receive the message. As a result the stop took 6.1 seconds, denting his hopes of a podium finish.

Overtaking Hamilton for fourth late on will put some gloss on a mixed weekend.

MCLAREN SHINE AGAIN

The McLaren duo Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz are slowly becoming one of the most likable driver line-ups on the gird.

Not only do they come across as genuine and outgoing people, but they are also fearless, pacey and continue to get the best out of the McLaren car.

Norris finished a joint-season’s best sixth, while Sainz crossed the chequered flag in eighth after starting from the back of the grid.

A superb weekend for the Woking side.

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Formula One: Lewis Hamilton handed grid penalty as Charles Leclerc claims pole in Austria GP

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Charles Leclerc , Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen after qualifying at Austria GP.

Lewis Hamilton was dealt the first significant blow of his title bid after he was penalised three grid places for Sunday’s Austrian Grand Prix.

The world champion, having qualified second at the Red Bull Ring, was expected to be demoted to fifth, punished for blocking Alfa Romeo driver Kimi Raikkonen in qualifying.

But confusion reigned in the Styrian Mountains when the provisional grid, published more than four hours after the result, instead placed the Briton in fourth.

This is despite the FIA, Formula One’s governing body, insisting that Hamilton would definitely start one place lower.

F1’s complex rule book favoured Hamilton after Kevin Magnussen, the Haas driver who finished fifth, was also penalised five places for a gearbox change.

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, 21, secured pole position, with Red Bull star Max Verstappen, also 21, promoted to second. The duo will form the youngest front row in the sport’s history.

For Sebastian Vettel, his torrid time of late extended into another weekend. An engine problem prevented him from starting a lap in the shootout for pole, and the German, already 76 points Hamilton in the championship standings, will start a lowly ninth.

Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas was promoted to third, while British teenager Lando Norris, just 19, will line up fifth – the rising McLaren star continuing to impress.

Hamilton should have been on the front row, but for an uncharacteristic mistake in the opening moments of qualifying.

He had just left the pits when Raikkonen, who was on a quick lap, came across the Briton’s sluggish Mercedes at the top of the hill on the approach to Turn 3.

Hamilton saw Raikkonen at the last minute, but in attempting to get out of the fast-approaching Finn’s way, he crossed in front of him and thwarted his lap.

“Hamilton completely blocked me,” said an angry Raikkonen on the team radio, giving Hamilton the middle finger.

Hamilton was hauled in front of the stewards, but after hearing from the world champion, and reviewing the video evidence, they deemed he “unnecessarily impeded” Raikkonen, throwing the Briton down the grid.

“I totally deserved the penalty and have no problem accepting it,” said Hamilton. “It was a mistake on my behalf, and I take full responsibly. It wasn’t intentional.”

Hamilton’s Mercedes boss Toto Wolff added: “The rule book says if you impede someone, and it is clear, then you get a three-place penalty.

“It is not the driver’s fault, but there is a precedent, and we have to accept that.”

Hamilton’s punishment has played its part in the topsy-turvy grid, providing hope of an exciting race – much-needed after last week’s tedious affair in France.

Leclerc will line up from the front for the second time in his career, the power-heavy track suiting the straight-line grunt in his Ferrari. The young Monegasque will be the favourite to win his first grand prix and end Mercedes’ unbeaten streak.

Meanwhile, Norris, the teenager from Somerset, has adapted to Formula One life with staggering ease. Here, he got the very best out of his McLaren to qualify sixth, before he was bumped up one spot after Magnussen’s punishment.

Norris’s fellow novice George Russell beat Robert Kubica in the sister Williams to extend his qualifying record over the Pole to a remarkable 9-0.

Provided by Press Association Sport

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Charles Leclerc tops FP2 at Austrian GP as Valtteri Bottas and Max Verstappen crash

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Valtteri Bottas was taken to the medical centre after crashing out of second practice for the Austrian Grand Prix.

Bottas lost control of his Mercedes at 130mph through the left-handed sixth corner before slamming into the barriers.

The Finnish driver sustained serious damage to the front of his Mercedes in the accident.

Bottas emerged from his cockpit before heading to the on-track hospital after he triggered an impact of more than 25G.

Bottas’s incident was the second flashpoint at the Red Bull Ring after Max Verstappen also crashed out.

The Dutchman was taking on the penultimate corner when his Red Bull snapped away from him.

Verstappen spun backwards into the barriers, writing off the rear of his car. Like Bottas, he would play no further part in the session.

There was drama for Sebastian Vettel, too, who produced an almost carbon-copy of Verstappen’s mistake, but avoided any damage, the German coming to a halt before the barriers. He managed to limp back to the pits in his Ferrari.

It was Vettel’s team-mate Charles Leclerc who set the pace, the Monegasque finishing a third of a second faster than anybody else.

Mercedes have won every race this season, but Leclerc’s pace will provide the Scuderia with the hope they can finally challenge the all-conquering Silver Arrows this weekend.

Bottas’ time before his accident was good enough for second, with the Red Bull of Pierre Gasly third in the order.

Lewis Hamilton, who heads into Sunday’s race with a commanding 36-point championship lead over Bottas, topped the time charts in the opening running, but could finish only fourth later in the day.

The world champion, who is bidding for his fifth successive victory after dominating in France last weekend, finished 0.443 sec down on Leclerc.

Vettel, whose running was compromised by his spin, ended the day down in eighth.

McLaren are enjoying something of a resurgence this year, and Carlos Sainz posted the fifth quickest time. The Spaniard was within half a second of Leclerc.

His team-mate, British teenager Lando Norris, finished 10th, more than four tenths off Sainz.

George Russell again held the advantage over his Williams team-mate Robert Kubica. Russell was an eye-watering 1.3 sec faster than the struggling Pole.

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