Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc recorded his third win of the year and second since April’s Australian Grand Prix after some tense final laps at the Red Bull Ring in Austria.
In a race characterized by scores of drivers being black flagged, cautioned and given a five-second penalty for exceeding track limits, the Monegasse finished just under 1.5 seconds ahead of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, after suffering gas problems with less than nine laps to go.
Leclerc, finding himself behind a fast-starting Verstappen, was forced to relax to deal with the situation, which hadn’t been diagnosed at the time of writing, only to make a brave move on lap 12 thanks to DRS’s almost four Seconds were trimmed as frantic calls to the pits prevailed over the final few laps.
“The pace was there. In the beginning we had some good fights with Max and the ending was incredibly difficult. I had this problem with the throttle body.
“It got stuck at 20 or 30 percent throttle at low speeds, so it was very difficult. We managed to see it through to the end and I’m so happy,” said a relieved Leclerc after the race in David Coulthard, the former Williams, McLaren and Red Bull driver and now Channel 4 commentator perc ferme.
In the end, the Ferrari driver emerged victorious, with Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton third after Leclerc’s teammate Carlos Sainz retired with 16 laps from the finish with an engine failure.
Running behind Verstappen after the second series of pit stops after Leclerc had already overtaken the Dutchman on the previous lap, Silverstone winner Sainz made a stop exiting turn three with smoke and fire emanating from under the engine cover.
The race was then neutralized under a virtual safety car as marshals doused the flames before towing the stranded Cavallino Rampante off the track.
A visibly distraught Sainz was later seen heading back into the pits after retiring for the fourth time this year following hydraulic problems in Baku and two separate spins at the Australian and Emilia Romagna Grands Prix at Imola.
“There was no feedback from the engine that this would happen very suddenly. I’m a bit lost for words because obviously this is a big loss in points and results for the team today because I think it could have been an easy 1-2,” said Sainz SkyF1 after the race.
Behind Hamilton, Mercedes team-mate George Russell finished fourth after receiving a five-second penalty for tagging Red Bull’s Sergio Perez early in the race.
In a nearly resounding copy of the 2020 incident between Hamilton and then Red Bull, now Williams, driver Alex Albon, Perez’s attempt to drive around the outside of Russell again resulted in four contacts which resulted in Red Bull sliding over in the gravel and with significant damage to the side pod.
The Mexican, who finished second last time out at Silverstone, eventually retired as a result of damage on lap 24, a similar fate to second Williams of Nicholas Latifi, with alleged damage following an unseen incident, and Sainz.
In a hard-fought battle in midfield, Alpine’s Esteban Ocon finished fifth, the last rider to complete the 71 laps without a lap down, while Haas’ Mick Schumacher clinched his second career points by clinching one over teammate Kevin Magnussen, who went down placed eighth behind Lando Norris’ McLaren.
Sainz’s problems on the last lap put Norris’ teammate Daniel Ricciardo in ninth ahead of Fernando Alonso’s second Alpine.
Outside of the points, Alfa Romeo’s Valterri Bottas was 11ththAlbon in the 12thth Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll in the 13thth and Zhou Guanyu’s second Alfa Romeo, which had progressed to sixth place in the early stages, finished 14thth.
Another hot weekend for AlphaTauri ended on April 15th and 16th for Pierre Gasly and Yuki Tsunoda, while Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel crossed the line last after a touch with Gasly towards the end, followed by a five-place penalty for exceeding the track limits.
Following last week’s British Grand Prix, the season will be suspended for two weeks before heading to Paul Ricard for the French Grand Prix on July 24.
Leclerc survives Gasproven on final lap to win Austrian Grand Prix
Source link Leclerc survives Gasproven on final lap to win Austrian Grand Prix