Sports Desk, Jul 10 (EFE).- Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc won the Austrian Grand Prix on Sunday to get his world championship bid back on track.
After five weeks of not finding the podium, the Monegasque driver ended his drought to claim his third victory of the season and reduce the gap to championship leader, Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.
“I definitely needed that one. The last five races have been incredibly difficult for me but also for the team, and to finally show we have the pace in the car and can do it was incredibly important,” Leclerc said.
Verstappen, who had started on pole, struggled with tire degradation and was pleased to hold onto a second-placed finish in front of strong support from Dutch fans at the Red Bull Ring.
“It was a tricky day. We were struggling quite a bit with the tires, too much degradation to attack Charles,” he said, but “second place is a good result for us on a difficult day.”
In the other Ferrari, the Spaniard Carlos Sainz had to abandon the race with 15 of the 72 laps to go when his car’s engine caught fire.
Third-placed Lewis Hamilton completed the podium as he benefited from Sainz’s failure to finish to continue Mercedes’ improved form after starting back in eighth.
His teammate George Russell, who ended Red Bull’s Sergio Perez race when the pair crashed at turn four, finished in fourth.
Russell was ahead of Esteban Ocon (Alpine) and Mick Schumacher (Haas), who maintained his recent improved form and, by finishing sixth in Austria, registered his best result in F1.
Seventh was England’s Lando Norris (McLaren), who crossed the finish line ahead of Denmark’s Kevin Magnussen, who completed another great race for Haas by finishing eighth at the picturesque Styrian circuit.
The other McLaren, that of Australian Daniel Ricciardo, finished ninth: one place ahead of Fernando Alonso, who staged the comeback of the day after starting nineteenth to claim the last point at stake.
Verstappen, who set the fastest lap in the race, continues to lead the World Championship, with 208 points, 38 more than Ferrari’s Leclerc, who snatched the second place in the championship from ‘Checo’ Perez, who is now third, with 151.
Sainz, who like the Mexican also failed to add to his tally on Sunday, remains fourth, with 133.
Red Bull remained at the top of the Constructors’ World Championship, with 359 points, 56 more than Ferrari; and 122 more than Mercedes.
The next race, the French Grand Prix, will be held at the Paul Ricard circuit in Le Castellet, on July 24. EFE