Austria was one of the best races of 2019 so far and in the end, we got a surprise winner with Max Verstappen snatching victory from a dominant Charles Leclerc, but was is it deserved.
Things didn’t start out well for Max after qualifying 3rd, almost half a second off pole sitter Leclerc, he bogged down on the started dropping down to P7. It was then a case of fighting back through the field to salvage as many points as possible.
This was of course helped by Mercedes having a pretty torrid weekend for the first time this season and Vettel starting in P9 after an oil leak meant he failed to compete in Q3.
For Leclerc, on the other hand, it was pretty much smooth sailing, only dropping the lead post-pit stop and regaining it as soon as the others pitted as well. I must admit I was cheering him on desperate for him to take his debut win.
After the start, Verstappen fought back up to 5th before the front runners started to pit. By lap 32 he was in the lead before taking his stop and dropping back to 4th.
A dramatic overtake on Vettel on lap 50 started the comeback as the Dutchman flew past Bottas six laps later and went on the charge for Leclerc.
In the final few laps, Verstappen caught up to the leader and commenced an epic two-man battle for the win. With three laps to go, he dived down the inside at turn 3, nudged Leclerc off track and took the lead and race win. The move was reminiscent of the 2016 race in which Rosberg dived Hamilton in the same place damaging his front wing and loosing out as a result.
As amazing as it was, Honda’s first F1 win in 13 years was in doubt for a number of hours before the stewards decided Verstappen’s move was a racing incident.
As much as I did say I wanted Leclerc to win, I can not deny that Verstappen drove an incredible race and deserved the win just as much if not more than Charles. And had the stewards awarded a penalty I would not have been happy.
But I have no doubt that Leclerc will in a race this year having already had two stolen from him after dominant drives.
Do you think Verstappen deserved the win or had Leclerc do enough to eran his first win?
Let me know below and please share.
Images from f1-fansite.com