F1: Max Verstappen and Red Bull end Mercedes dominance in Austrian Grand Prix | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 30.06.2019
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F1: Max Verstappen and Red Bull end Mercedes dominance in Austrian Grand Prix

After months of Mercedes dominance, Max Verstappen emerged victorious in Red Bull’s native Austria, ahead of Charles Leclerc and Valterri Bottas. Germany's Sebastian Vettel finished fourth.

On an exhilarating weekend of racing in Spielberg, Austria, Dutch driver Max Verstappen became the first racer other than Lewis Hamilton and Valterri Bottas to win a Grand Prix this season.

The Red Bull driver took the checkered flag ahead of Charles Leclerc and Valterri Bottas, both of Ferrari, in a dramatic finale, cheered on by thousands of his orange-clad compatriots and despite a poor start - although he had to await a stewards' enquiry for confirmation of his victory after a contoversial overtaking manouver on the final lap.

Germany's Sebastian Vettel, also of Ferrari, endured a frustrating afternoon and had to deal with technical problems, a midfield grid position and sloppy pit-stops, but still managed to secure fourth, while world champion Lewis Hamilton finished fifth.

After an impressive performance in qualifying, it was Leclerc who got off to a perfect start at the Red Bull Ring – the first Ferrari driver to start on pole in Austria since Michael Schumacher in 2003.

But, in an intense battle between Formula One's two emerging young talents, Verstappen overcame his initial problems to haul in Vettel and Bottas before attacking Leclerc. Twice, the Monegasque was able to fend the Dutchman off but Verstappen eventually overtook him with an aggressive manouver in the final stages.

"What the hell was that?" cursed Leclerc over the radio but it was too late; Verstappen crossed the line ahead of him.

On the podium shortly after, the tension was palpable as Leclerc and Verstappen neglected to shake hands and generally ignored each other, before Leclerc temporarily left the podium to avoid being sprayed with champagne by his rival. 

The two had just become F1's youngest ever top-two finishers, and it could be the start of a rivalry which will endure for years to come.

mf'/ (SID/AFP)