winners circle

Verstappen praises 'right decision' in controversial Austrian GP victory over Ferrari

The Dutchman said the incident that saw him make contact with Charles Leclerc was ‘just racing’.

RED BULL DRIVER Max Verstappen said the “right decision” was made as stewards opted against giving him a penalty for his overtake on Charles Leclerc in the closing stages of Sunday’s Austrian Grand Prix.

Motorsports: FIA Formula One World Championship 2019, Grand Prix of Austria Red Bull's Max Verstappen celebrates winning the Austrian Grand Prix. DPA / PA Images DPA / PA Images / PA Images

Verstappen made contact with Leclerc as he pulled off a late and ultimately race-winning move. Stewards investigated the incident but eventually ruled that no penalty was necessary as Verstappen won the race for the second year running.

Verstappen’s win ended a run of eight successive Mercedes triumphs to start 2019 and the 21-year-old said the officials made the right call.

“It’s the right decision – for the sport as well,” Verstappen was quoted as saying by Dutch News.

“He would have done the same thing in my place. It’s just racing.”

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner added: “It was a tense wait after the race but the stewards made the right decision.

What happened between Charles and Max is hard racing and I think that’s what Formula One is all about – it’s two young guys going for it.

“Formula One has come under a lot of criticism recently and I think the race was an exciting one with overtaking, tyre degradation and drama – exactly what the doctor ordered!”

FORMULA 1 / YouTube

Ferrari, meanwhile, were staying positive despite the decision not going their way.

“It was a positive weekend overall. Unfortunately, it did not end as we would have liked it to,” Leclerc said.

“Second place is not what we wanted, but we gave it our all and made a good step forward this weekend.

“I am convinced that this will bring further progress for the next few races and allow us to achieve the success that we want.”

Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto said: “With regards to the decision of the stewards, we fully accept it, even though we don’t believe it is the right decision.

“They are the judges and we have to respect that.”

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