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Verstappen ends Mercedes run but stewards investigate

The Dutchman’s dramatic overtaking move was immediately announced as under investigation by the officials.

MAX VERSTAPPEN OVERCAME a poor start to storm to the sixth victory of his career and end Mercedes’ record unbeaten start to the season when he triumphed in Sunday’s thrilling Austrian Grand Prix.

Austria F1 GP Auto Racing Red Bull's Max Verstappen celebrates after winning the Austrian Grand Prix. Source: Ronald Zak

The 21-year-old Dutchman, who won last year’s race at the Spielberg circuit, recovered after dropping to seventh and charged through to battle past Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc in stirring fashion with two laps remaining.

His dramatic overtaking move was immediately announced as under investigation by the stewards, Leclerc feeling that he was given insufficient space as Verstappen forced him wide off the circuit.

Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas came home third ahead of Sebastian Vettel in the second Ferrari and defending five-time champion Lewis Hamilton in the second Mercedes, the series leader having suffered front wing and heating problems.

British rookie Lando Norris was an excellent sixth for McLaren ahead of Pierre Gasly in the second Red Bull, Carlos Sainz who finished eighth in the second McLaren after starting from the back of the grid, Kimi Raikkonen and his Alfa Romeo team-mate Antionio Giovinazzi.

“After that start, I thought my race was over,” said Verstappen. “But after the pit-stops we were flying. It was hard racing – and if that’s not allowed, what’s the point in racing in F1. We may as well go home.”

His victory brought Red Bull’s engine supplier Honda their first win since the 2006 Hungarian Grand Prix after returning to Formula One.

Leclerc said: “I had more degradation than I thought at the end – we touched and I had to go wide and I didn’t have a chance to fight back.”

© – AFP 2019

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