Leclerc beats Verstappen to superb win | Sainz fire gifts Hamilton podium

Last Updated: 10/07/22 3:38pm

The battle for the lead continues as Charles Leclerc passed Max Verstappen for a third time at the Austrian Grand Prix.

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The battle for the lead continues as Charles Leclerc passed Max Verstappen for a third time at the Austrian Grand Prix.

The battle for the lead continues as Charles Leclerc passed Max Verstappen for a third time at the Austrian Grand Prix.

Charles Leclerc overtook Max Verstappen three times on track for a brilliant and long-overdue win at the Austrian GP, with Lewis Hamilton third as Ferrari’s celebratory mood was dented by Carlos Sainz’s dramatic engine fire.

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.

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, though. 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.

Carlos Sainz's Ferrari burst into flames following an engine failure which ended his race in Austria.

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Carlos Sainz’s Ferrari burst into flames following an engine failure which ended his race in Austria.

Carlos Sainz’s Ferrari burst into flames following an engine failure which ended his race in Austria.

Sainz’s car was engulfed in flames as he clambered out.

That gave Hamilton third place, with the Mercedes driver recovering from eighth on the grid to show competitive pace – while 40 seconds off the race winner at the chequered flag.

Russell was fourth despite his five-second time penalty for the Perez clash, with excellent damage limitation for Mercedes.

More to follow.