F1 Correspondent Michael Butterworth
BEIJING, July 10 (Xinhua) — Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc overtook Red Bull’s Max Verstappen three times and survived a late throttle scare to win Sunday’s 2022 Formula One Austrian Grand Prix.
Verstappen, who won Saturday’s sprint in convincing fashion, started the Grand Prix from pole position, but second-placed Leclerc proved to be better with his tires and overtook Verstappen for the lead on lap 12.
Verstappen came in for new tires on lap 13, while Leclerc waited until lap 26 to make his first pit stop.
Around four seconds behind Verstappen, Leclerc quickly overtook his rival on fresher tires and easily passed the Dutchman on lap 33 to regain the lead.
Verstappen made his second stop on lap 37 and regained the lead when Leclerc did the same on lap 50.
However, such was his pace on the new rubber that the Manegasque needed just three laps to catch and pass Verstappen for a third time to take the lead, which he retained at the flag.
Leclerc’s team-mate Carlos Sainz had been running clear of the Monegasque throughout the race and was catching up to Verstappen when, on lap 57, his engine suddenly burned out and flames erupted from the back of the F1-75 as the Spaniard went off the track.
After Sainz’s mishap, Leclerc soon radioed his team to complain about a throttle problem that allowed Verstappen to close within two seconds of him, but the Monegasque man held on to take a second consecutive victory for Ferrari following Sainz’s victory in last week’s British Grand Prix.
“It was a really good race, the pace was there and the end was incredibly difficult with the throttle problem, but we managed to hold on until the end,” said Leclerc, who is winless in eight races heading into the Austrian. Grand Prix.
“Surprisingly, I had my problem at the same time as Carlos, but I knew it was a problem with the pedal and not the engine.
“I definitely needed it. The last five races have been tough for me and the team and it’s great to finally get one.”
Behind the top two, Lewis Hamilton finished third for Mercedes for the third race in a row, with team-mate George Russell fourth.
Esteban Ocon finished a strong fifth for Alpine, with Mick Schumacher a fine sixth for his second consecutive points.
Lando Norris finished seventh for McLaren, ahead of Schumacher’s team-mate Kevin Magnussen in eighth.
Daniel Ricciardo finished ninth in the second McLaren, with Ocon’s teammate Fernando Alonso rounding out the top ten.
Apart from Sainz, the other drivers who failed to finish were Williams’ Nicolas Latifi and fellow Red Bull Sergio Perez, who retired with injuries after a clash with Russell on the first lap.
At the halfway point in the F1 2022 World Championship, Verstappen leads the drivers’ standings with 208 points. Leclerc is in second place with 170 points, while Perez has not scored any points and dropped to third place with 151 points.
In the constructors’ championship, Red Bull is still in the lead and now has 359 points. Ferrari remains in second place with 303, while Mercedes remains in third place with 237 points.
The next stage of the 2022 Formula 1 World Championship will be the French Grand Prix at the Paul Ricard circuit on July 24.