It was a case of deja-vu when Max Verstappen claimed victory in the 2019 Austrian Grand Prix.
The result saw the Red Bull driver replicate his superb win 12 months ago on the same circuit and brought to an end to Lewis Hamilton’s winning streak with Mercedes.
It was touch and go literally however after Verstappen and second placed Charles Leclerc in the Ferrari touched wheels as they jostled for the lead in the closing stages.
The incident took place as Verstappen launched an attack down the inside of the Ferrari at Turn 3 on the penultimate lap.
Verstappen snatched the lead to Leclerc’s fury who until then looked poised to claim victory after leading for most of the race.
The Ferrari driver barely put a foot wrong in the 71-lap race on the Spielberg circuit.
But as he struggled with tyres in the closing stages, Verstappen who had pitted later simply continued to get better.
Third place went to Valtteri Bottas in the Mercedes, with team mate Lewis Hamilton back in fifth.
Australia’s Daniel Ricciardo finished one lap back in a disappointing 12th spot for Renault.
Talking later about the incident where they touched tyres, Verstappen believed he had done nothing wrong.
“It’s hard racing otherwise we have to stay home,” he said.
“If those things are not allowed in racing, what is the point of being in F1?
“I don’t think we should get a penalty for that,” he added later.
“I never opened [the steering wheel] but the problem is that in that corner there is a crest, so when you then go a bit deeper at such a tight angle you just understeer because of that crest.
“The car on the outside he has to wait a bit because we went quite deep.
“I never opened the steering wheel. I was in front. He just had to cut back on me but he tried to go around the outside which is not possible.”
Leclerc, unsurprisingly, didn’t see it the same way as his rival.
“I’ll let the stewards decide but for me, it was pretty clear in the car,” he said in parc ferme. “I don’t know how it looked like from the outside.”
When asked if he didn’t think it was fair, Leclerc replied: “I don’t know. I was on the outside, like the lap before.
“The lap before was completely fine. He left space for a car width on the exit of the corner but he didn’t on the other lap so we touched and I had to go wide, and then obviously I didn’t have any chance to pass back so it’s a shame.”
The stewards invetigated but recommended no further action.
For Renault and Ricciardo it was the first time the team had not taken away any points since Spain, with Ricciardo 12th and teamate Nico Hulkenberg close behind in 13th position.
Ricciardo said it had been a tough weekend.
“From lap one today it was tricky and I struggled for grip,” he said.
“We improved as the race progressed, managed a decent stint on the Softs at the end, but it was probably a bit too late.
“We need to figure out why this weekend was so tough. There’s stuff we can improve, but I won’t put it all down to the car.
“I’ll look at myself and see what I can do better as well. Something wasn’t right this weekend and Nico shared the same feelings too.
“We’ll do our best to figure it out and get on top of it.”
Next race is the British Grand Prix at Silverstone on Juky 12-14.
|1||Max Verstappen||Red Bull||71 laps – 1:22:01.822s||1|
|2||Charles Leclerc||Ferrari||+ 2.724s||1|
|3||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes||+ 18.960s||1|
|4||Sebastian Vettel||Ferrari||+ 19.610s||2|
|5||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||+ 22.805s||1|
|6||Lando Norris||McLaren||+ 1 lap||1|
|7||Pierre Gasly||Red Bull||+ 1 lap||1|
|8||Carlos Sainz||McLaren||+ 1 lap||1|
|9||Kimi Räikkönen||Alfa Romeo||+ 1 lap||1|
|10||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo||+ 1 lap||1|
|11||Sergio Pérez||Racing Point||+ 1 lap||1|
|12||Daniel Ricciardo||Renault||+ 1 lap||1|
|13||Nico Hülkenberg||Renault||+ 1 lap||1|
|14||Lance Stroll||Racing Point||+ 1 lap||1|
|15||Alexander Albon||Toro Rosso||+ 1 lap||1|
|16||Romain Grosjean||Haas||+ 1 lap||1|
|17||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso||+ 1 lap||1|
|18||George Russell||Williams||+ 2 laps||1|
|19||Kevin Magnussen||Haas||+ 2 laps||3|
|20||Robert Kubica||Williams||+ 3 laps||1|
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