Charles Leclerc restored his chances of winning the Formula 1 world title mid-season. Monegasque won the Austrian Grand Prix on Sunday in his Ferrari, ahead of Max Verstappen (Red Bull Racing). With his third win this season, Leclerc reduced the difference with the Dutchman in the World Cup standings to 38 points, with 11 races remaining.
Leclerc drove the final laps of the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg knowing that teammate Carlos Sainz had retired due to a broken engine. In addition, the accelerator pedal is no longer working properly. “I was scared. I was really scared,” Leclerc shouted over the onboard radio, after giving Ferrari their first victory in Austria since Michael Schumacher in 2003. Verstappen crossed the line in the second and a half, ahead of Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton.
“I needed that win,” Leclerc said right afterwards. “The last five races have been very tough.” He has pulled out twice and finished off the podium three times, leaving Verstappen – who has won three of his last five grands prix – in the battle for the world title.
Verstappen won the sprint ahead of Le-clerc on Saturday. With the fastest lap of the race on Sunday, the weekend gave him 27 points to Claire’s 32. Verstappen’s teammate Sergio Perez did not reach the finish line on Sunday and lost second place in the World Cup standings to Lee Clerc.
Verstappen was happy with his second place, even though he started the race from first. After twelve laps, Leclerc passed him for the first time. “It was a tough day,” Verstappen said. “We had a lot of problems, especially with the tires and that was with all types of tyres. There was a lot of wear, but second place is still a good result on a tough day.”
Verstappen noted that he once again enjoyed tens of thousands of orange Dutch fans and many orange clouds of smoke. “It was fun. It’s a shame I couldn’t give the fans a win.”
However, according to social media reports, some fans allegedly verbally misbehaved at the Red Bull Ring. “We have been informed of the totally unacceptable comments,” the F1 organization said in a statement. We will contact those who reported incidents. This could lead to network splitting.”
A version of this article also appeared in the July 11, 2022 newspaper
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