Verstappen wins in Austria as Vettel grabs F1 lead

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail SHINE, July 2, 2018
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Max Verstappen made the most of a rare Mercedes double retirement yesterday by claiming his first win this year, and Red Bull's first at "home", in an incident-packed Austrian Grand Prix.

The Dutch tyro grabbed victory after both Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas pulled up with power and gearbox failures respectively as their team's run of four straight Austrian wins came to an abrupt end at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg.

It was the first time Mercedes had suffered a double-retirement since Verstappen won on his Red Bull debut at the 2016 Spanish GP when Hamilton collided with then teammate Nico Rosberg on the opening lap.

It was Verstappen's fourth career victory as he came home ahead of the Ferraris of Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel, who regained the lead in the drivers championship. After nine of 21 races, Hamilton trails Vettel by one point heading into the British GP this weekend.

Having started the season with back-to-back wins and adding another victory in Montreal, Vettel recovered well from suffering a second serious setback in as many weeks on Saturday. After bumping into Bottas after the start of the French GP last week — and restarting his race from the back of the pack — the mishap this time happened in qualifying, with Vettel picking up a 3-place grid penalty for impeding Renault's Carlos Sainz.

Romain Grosjean was fourth ahead of his Ferrari-powered Haas teammate Kevin Magnussen, Esteban Ocon and his Force India teammate Sergio Perez.

Two-time champion Fernando Alonso was eighth for McLaren ahead of Monegasque rising star Charles Leclerc and his Sauber teammate Marcus Ericsson.

Verstappen's teammate Australian Daniel Ricciardo was also forced to retire on his 29th birthday. "It's amazing to win in a Red Bull at the Red Bull Ring," said Verstappen, who was supported by an "Orange army" of more than 20,000 fans.

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