Sport

Verstappen claims win in Austria as Vettel grabs championship lead

Verstappen claims win in Austria as Vettel grabs championship lead

Only 14 cars finished the race, Mercedes' championship leader and pole sitter both retired with mechanical issues and it was not the straight-up one-stop grand prix that have led to many a tiresome Sunday afternoon drive.

The other Red Bull of Daniel Ricciardo retired due to an exhaust issue and Horner admits it would have been nice to see the birthday boy on the podium aswell. We really had to look after them - there was a lot of blistering.

"You've got to have confidence in your boys to nail a double stop with the proximity that the drivers were in there and we've got the best guys in the pit lane without any shadow of a doubt". And certainly our determination within the team is to keep pushing and try and ensure that we're getting both cars ahead of our opponents.

At the subsequent Red Bull media debrief Ricciardo was his usual smiley self.

Meanwhile, teammate Daniel Ricciardo had to pit from second place when his left rear tyre blistered in the middle of the race.

"He'd got enough in the tank to see off the challenge to the end of the race".

Christian Horner believes Red Bull would now be leading the Formula One world championship if it hadn't dropped so many points in the opening nine races of 2018.

He said: "For the race I was very happy in general with how the auto was behaving but I always just try to do my best race possible; if that is going to be first, second, third, it's not in your hand".

Kimi Raikkonen, who finished second, started to catch Verstappen in the closing stages, but the Dutchman suggested he didn't feel any pressure.

Despite Ricciardo's unhappiness, Verstappen did not think the situation between them would be too hard. "Maybe they still had half a second in hand".

Sebastian Vettel: You need to pay tax here then... If there's anybody who has a question, obviously ask but I don't find great motivation in telling people where I go, what I do. "My fourth victory, it's a good one".

"The margins in Formula 1 are so fine", said Horner. "He knew that the race was all about tyre conservation, because temperatures were hotter today, probably 10-12 degrees hotter than Friday".

"The amount of energy that these tyres have to take up round there".

That was Verstappen's fourth career victory, tying him with Eddie Irvine and Bruce McLaren for the most wins by any driver without ever taking pole position.

A Mercedes strategy error had already handed the lead to Verstappen by then and he responded with a mature drive to the chequered flag as his fans celebrated all around.


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