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Leclerc Always Remains Humble: ‘I learned That From My Father’…Gives Response To Verstappen Hate Speach On His Win

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Leclerc had gone seven races without an F1 2022 victory but was the dominant driver in Sunday’s engrossing Grand Prix, passing Verstappen early on and then after the first and second stops to surge ahead. He then survived a late reliability scare with his throttle to win by two seconds.

 

 

“Oh my god I was scared, I was really scared,” said Leclerc on team radio. He added on his win: “I definitely needed that one.” Verstappen’s title lead is still 38 points, although Leclerc is now his closest title rival after Sergio Perez was forced to retire from the race in the other Red Bull, following a first-lap collision with George Russell.

 

 

Ferrari’s day could have been even better. The Scuderia were looking set for momentum-shifting one-two as Carlos Sainz gained on Verstappen on fresher tyres before he suffered a costly engine blow-up. Sainz’s car was engulfed in flames as he clambered out, and it was Ferrari’s fourth mechanical failure of the season. That lifted Hamilton up to third place, with the Mercedes driver recovering from eighth on the grid to show competitive pace – while still 40 seconds off the race winner at the chequered flag after a Virtual Safety Car.

 

 

Russell finished fourth in the other Merc despite his five-second time penalty for the Perez clash. Esteban Ocon claimed fifth for Alpine while Mick Schumacher followed up his first F1 points with a career-best sixth place for Haas. McLaren had both drivers in the points at the end of a below-par weekend, with Lando Norris managing seventh despite being one of three drivers to pick up five-second penalties for track limits infringements.

 

 

Austrian GP Race Result: Top 10
1) Charles Leclerc, Ferrari
2) Max Verstappen, Red Bull
3) Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes
4) George Russell, Mercedes
5) Esteban Ocon, Alpine
6) Mick Schumacher, Haas
7) Lando Norris, McLaren
8) Kevin Magnussen, Haas
9) Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren
10) Fernando Alonso, Alpine

 

 

Leclerc had gone three months without a win and two without even a podium coming into the Spielberg race, but he was a man on a mission on Sunday and not even the world champion and title leader could stop him. While Verstappen held Leclerc off at the start, the Ferrari appeared quicker than the Red Bull throughout and the Monegasque driver managed to stay in DRS range before getting past on Lap 12.

 

 

Verstappen stopped early and gained the lead when Ferrari pitted their lead driver 12 laps later, but Leclerc made light work of the six-second deficit to close in and pass his rival on Lap 33. Verstappen was frustrated with his car’s pace on team radio and the Red Bull stop, Ferrari stop, Leclerc passes Verstappen sequence repeated itself again later on, with Leclerc decisively getting ahead again out of Turn 3 with 18 laps remaining.

 

 

Sainz was on the same strategy to Leclerc and had DRS on Verstappen before his extremely unlucky DNF. Sainz’s engine blew and then caught fire to cost the Spaniard a podium to follow up his British GP win. “Engine, engine… NO!” said Sainz on team radio. He told Sky Sports F1 later: “I am a little lost for words.” Leclerc then had his own reliability gremlins to cause more panic for Ferrari fans, as he reported a throttle issue in the closing laps. Verstappen closed the gap, but Leclerc hung on for a win that reignites his title challenge

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