F1 2019: Verstappen wins epic Austrian GP after late Leclerc overtake

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen claims the first non-Mercedes victory of the season after a thrilling race saw the Dutchman battle back up the field after a difficult start. Long-time race leader, Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc finished in 2nd ahead of Mercedes Valterri Bottas.

30/06/19

Starting Grid

1.Leclerc  2.Verstappen  3.Bottas  4.Hamilton*  5.Norris  6.Raikkonen  7.Giovinazzi  8.Gasly  9.Vettel  10.Magnussen  11.Grosjean  12.Ricciardo  13.Perez  14.Stroll  15.Hulkenberg*  16.Kvyat  17.Kubica  18.Albon*  19.Sainz Jr*  Pit-lane: Russell*

Hamilton* was given a 5 place grid penalty for impeding Kimi Raikkonen in Q1, Magnussen* was given a 5 place grid penalty for a gearbox change, Hulkenberg* was given a 5 place grid penalty for an engine change, both Sainz Jr* and Albon* took power unit penalties while Russell* was given a 3 place grid penalty for impeding Kvyat in Q1 and then had to start from the pit-lane after a front wing change.

Tyre Choice

Charles Leclerc, Lando Norris, Kimi Raikkonen, Antonio Giovinazzi, Pierre Gasly, Sebastian Vettel and Kevin Magnussen will start on the red-marked Soft tyre while everyone else will start on the yellow-marked Medium tyre.

Race

What can we expect today? Hopefully a fantastic race! The first race of the season not to feature a Mercedes on the front-row and instead it’s a Ferrari and a Red Bull. The first few laps might be a bit chaotic, so try and keep up!

The lights go out and it’s a great start by Charles Leclerc but it’s a very poor start for Max Verstappen who is easily overtaken by Valterri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton. The Dutchman slips down the order as a cautious Hamilton allows Lando Norris to nip ahead. Using the straight-line speed of his Mercedes, Hamilton is able to get alongside his fellow Brit and the pair run side-by-side through turn 3. The pair are still side-by-side on the exit of turn 3 but its the Mercedes driver who gets ahead. Kimi Raikkonen now pressures Norris for 3rd and goes round the outside of turn 4.

Lap 2, Charles Leclerc leads ahead of Valterri Bottas, Lewis Hamilton, Kimi Raikkonen, Lando Norris, Sebastian Vettel, Max Verstappen, Pierre Gasly, Antonio Giovinazzi and Kevin Magnussen. By lap 3, Leclerc’s lead is up to 2 seconds as Vettel tries to find a way past Norris. Up into turn 3, Vettel dives down the insides. The Brit fights back into turn 4 but Vettel holds onto 5th. Onto lap 6, Vettel now overtakes Raikkonen up into turn 3 for 4th with Verstappen overtaking Norris in the same place on lap 7 and up into 5th.

Charles Leclerc’s lead is up to 2.5 seconds over Valterri Bottas. Romain Grosjean is the biggest loser from the start of the race after starting in 11th, he’s now 16th. Kevin Magnussen is under investigation for being out of position at the start of the race. Lap 9, Max Verstappen now overtakes Kimi Raikkonen down the inside of turn 3 for 5th place. After 10 laps, Vettel is 10 seconds off the lead in 4th and Verstappen is 14 seconds off the lead in 5th.

Lap 11, Charles Leclerc lead is up to 3 seconds ahead of Valterri Bottas with Lewis Hamilton in 3rd only 2.5 seconds behind Bottas. Sebastian Vettel in 4th is slowly catching the top 4 with Max Verstappen lapping well as well. Kevin Magnussen pits for Haas. He rejoins on the Hard in 20th after making his first pit-stop. He’s also been given a drive-through penalty for being out of position at the start. Lap 14, Lando Norris is now hustling Kimi Raikkonen for 6th. Into turn 3, Norris dives down the inside and up into 6th.

Lap 15, Charles Leclerc’s lead is up to 4 seconds as both Valterri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton are starting to struggle with grip on the rear tyres. Both are “lifting and coasting” before every braking zone. Lap 18, Pierre Gasly is now right up behind Kimi Raikkonen in the battle for 7th. Leclerc’s lead is up to 4.4 seconds ahead of Bottas with Hamilton only 1.8 behind Bottas in 3rd. Lap 22, Valterri Bottas and Sebastian Vettel pit form 2nd and 4th. Both go onto the hard tyre but it’s a slow pit-stop for Vettel and he rejoins in 8th with Bottas in 4th. Lap 23, Leclerc pits. He goes onto the Hard tyre and rejoins in 3rd as Hamilton sets the fastest lap of the race.

Lap 23, Sebastian Vettel overtakes Pierre Gasly for 7th into turn 3rd. Lap 24, Kimi Raikkonen pits. The Finn goes onto the Hard tyre and rejoins in 15th. Lap 25, Lewis Hamilton leads ahead of Max Verstappen, both who haven’t pitted. lap 26, Lando Norris, Pierre Gasly and Lance Stroll pit. Norris, on the Medium tyre, rejoins in 11th with Gasly in 13th and Stroll in 17th. With the pace that Hamilton is going at, the chance is very high of the Brit jumping team-mate Bottas.

Lap 29, Lewis Hamilton is losing time to Max Verstappen behind. It looks like he’s lost a bit of downforce on his front wing. Lap 31, Hamilton pits from the lead. He changes his tyres and he receives a new front wing. The Brit goes onto the Hard tyre, gets a new front wing and rejoins in 5th behind team-mate Valterri Bottas and Sebastian Vettel. Lap 32, Max Verstappen now leads having not pitted yet. He dives into the pits, goes onto the Hard tyre and rejoins in 4th. So Charles Leclerc leads ahead of Bottas, Vettel, Verstappen and Hamilton. Finally, Pierre Gasly overtakes Kimi Raikkonen for 9th.

Running in 6th and 7th, Carlos Sainz Jr and Daniel Ricciardo have yet to make their first pit-stops. Lap 42, Lando Norris overtakes Ricciardo for 7th into turn 4 and now Pierre Gasly will fancy his chances. Sainz Jr pits from 6th, goes onto the () and rejoins in 14th.

Charles Leclerc leads by 4 seconds over Valterri Bottas with Sebastian Vettel 3.7 seconds behind Bottas. Max Verstappen, in 4th, is now 2 seconds behind Vettel with Lewis Hamilton now 10 seconds behind Verstappen. Lap 45, Vettel is just ahead of Verstappen by 1.5 seconds as Pierre Gasly overtakes Daniel Ricciardo for 7th. Lap 47, Ricciardo pits, goes onto the Soft and rejoins in 14th.

Lap 48, now with DRS, Max Verstappen is all over the rear of Sebastian Vettel. Vettel fends off the Dutchman for now and the pair are now catching Valterri Bottas. Lap 49, Vettel defends well into turn 3 and 4 to keep Verstappen at bay. Lap 50, Verstappen does it and sweeps round the outside of Vettel into turn 4 and up into 3rd. Now, up into the podium, he now sets his eyes on Bottas. Vettel pits. The German goes onto the Soft tyre and rejoins in 5th behind Lewis Hamilton.

Lap 52, Charles Leclerc leads by around 4 seconds ahead of Valterri Bottas, Max Verstappen, Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel. After pitting, Carlos Sainz Jr is storming his way up the field. He’s now 9th after overtaking 4 drivers in the last 10 laps. Verstappen is now only a second behind Bottas as Vettel, who sets the new fastest lap, is on 6.6 seconds behind Hamilton in 5th. Sainz has done it, he’s overtaken Kimi Raikkonen for 8th. What a drive after starting in 19th from the Spaniard. Lap 55, Verstappen reports a “loss of power”. The Dutchman continues on and is now overtakes Bottas with ease into turn 3 for 2nd.

Charles Leclerc is going to have to fend off Max Verstappen for the lead. The gap between the two is only 5 seconds with only 15 laps to go. The power issue that Verstappen reported is under control. Lap 61, the gap between the top 2 is now 4 seconds. Behind the top 5, Lando Norris hangs onto 6th ahead of Pierre Gasly, Carlos Sainz Jr, Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi. Lap 63, the gap between the top 2 is down to 3 seconds. This is going to be a grandstand finish!

Not only is the gap up-front is close but the gap between Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel in 4th and 5th is now only 1.5 seconds. Lap 66, Charles Leclerc leads by 1 second ahead of Max Verstappen. Lap 67, after lapping Pierre Gasly, Leclerc narrowly leads ahead of Verstappen. Verstappen with DRS attacks the Ferrari driver into turn 3 and 4. Hamilton and Vettel are only separated by 1 second in the battle for 4th and 5th. Lap 68, Verstappen dives down the inside of turn 3 but the speed of the Ferrari gets him back ahead!

Lap 69, Max Verstappen dives down the inside of Charles Leclerc for the lead into turn 3. The pair bang wheels with Leclerc taking off track. Verstappen takes the lead. Lap 70, Sebastian Vettel swoops round the outside of Lewis Hamilton for 4th at turn 4 as Verstappen leads by 1.8 seconds.

Lap 71, Max Verstappen wins the Austrian GP ahead of Charles Leclerc and Valterri Bottas. Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton round out the top 5. However, the Stewards are investigating the incident between Verstappen and Leclerc.

Several hours after the race, the Stewards found that “no further action” was necessary.

Race Result

  1. Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing Honda, 71 Laps
  2. Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, + 2.724s
  3. Valterri Bottas, Mercedes, +18.960s
  4. Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, +19.610s
  5. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, +22.805s
  6. Lando Norris, McLaren Renault, + 1 Lap
  7. Pierre Gasly, Red Bull Racing Honda, + 1 Lap
  8. Carlos Sainz Jr, McLaren Renault, + 1 Lap
  9. Kimi Raikkonen, Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari, + 1 Lap
  10. Antonio Giovinazzi, Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari, + 1 Lap
  11. Sergio Perez, Racing Point BWT Mercedes, + 1 Lap
  12. Daniel Ricciardo, Renault, + 1 Lap
  13. Nico Hulkenberg, Renault, + 1 Lap
  14. Lance Stroll, Racing Point BWT Mercedes, + 1 Lap
  15. Alexander Albon, Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda, + 1 Lap
  16. Romain Grosjean, Haas Ferrari, + 1 Lap
  17. Daniil Kvyat, Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda, + 1 Lap
  18. George Russell, Williams Mercedes, + 2 Laps
  19. Kevin Magnussen, Haas Ferrari, + 2 Laps
  20. Robert Kubica, Williams Mercedes, + 3 Laps

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