Verstappen claims he can still be a contender after Austria GP win

05 July, 2018, 01:38 | Author: Anita Tucker
  • Austrian Grand Prix- Red Bull Ring Spielberg Austria

Verstappen's win in Red Bull's home race confirmed his status as F1's form man following his second place last week in France and a third position at the Canadian GP before then. Nico Hulkenberg's engine let go early in the race while pole-sitter Valtteri Bottas had a gearbox failure.

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Verstappen led Raikkonen by more than six seconds but with everyone behind the Dutchman seemingly anxious to protect tyres, he was unchallenged.

Indeed, Hamilton dropped to fourth when Mercedes pitted him on Lap 26, and he was unable to charge forward, with Vettel eventually diving inside of Hamilton entering Turn 3 on Lap 39 to take that position.

Horner added that Verstappen drove with experience beyond his years in keeping the two Ferraris of Finn Kimi Raikkonen and German Sebastian Vettel, who took over as championship leader, at bay.

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"To win here in Austria with him in attendance, because he doesn't come to many races, it's fantastic, and for the Dutch fans as well".

"We could see the start of blisters just starting to happen". "Today was definitely a very good day for me". "Very hard to manage the tyres, lot of blistering, but we manged to hang on", he said.

The 20-year-old profited from Lewis Hamilton's retirement eight laps from the end of the race to claim an unexpected victory, 1.5 seconds ahead of Kimi Räikkönen. It's just not my thing, I don't have the need to share.

The Top 6 was rounded out by Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo and Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen coming 5th and 6th, respectively. "A very, very mature drive for him". On lap 53, he pitted again for super-softs, dropping a place to fifth behind Ricciardo, who nearly immediately slowed and stopped.

Horner says the team is being realistic about where it can compete this season but has no doubts it can stay in the hunt. "It's a shame, we had a great vehicle today".

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Red Bull looked to be third-best in terms of race pace based on the long-run data gathered on Friday, but the warmer weather brought them into the mix come race day and their good reactions with regards strategy were crucial. "That's why he obviously started to back off a bit".

After a torrid start to the season littered with errors and mistakes, Verstappen has enjoyed an upturn in form, finishing on the podium in four of the last five races.

Meanwhile there were double points finishes for both Haas and Force India, but it was another disappointing weekend for Williams and McLaren.

Sauber duo Charles Leclerc and Marcus Ericsson finished ninth and 10th.

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