Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc (10/3 Drivers Championship 2022) admitted he “needed that one” after taking his first victory since Australia by outlasting Max Verstappen to take the Austrian Grand Prix.
Despite a late throttle issue, the Monagesque driver claimed his third victory of the season, coming home 1.532 seconds ahead of Verstappen (1/4 Drivers Championship 2022), who boosted his tally at the top on Saturday by winning the sprint race.
The Dutchman remains atop the Drivers’ Championship standings but Leclerc has now moved into second, leapfrogging the other Red Bull of Sergio Perez, after the Colombian retired on Sunday.
Carlos Sainz in the second Ferrari also failed to finish due to a similar issue to which his colleague experienced but it was another encouraging day for Mercedes (14/1 Constructors Championship Outright), who took third and fourth in Spielberg through Lewis Hamilton and George Russell.
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The Austrian Grand Prix is considered Red Bull’s home race and Ferrari ace Leclerc will be hopeful that his victory can reignite his title push, while simultaneously wounding his rivals.
Having podiumed just once since his success in Melbourne, the 24-year-old admitted he needed a result to get his campaign back on track.
“It was a really good race, the pace was there and the end was incredibly difficult with the throttle problem, but we managed to make it stick until the end,” he said.
“Weirdly my problem was at the same time as Carlos, but I knew it was a pedal problem rather than an engine problem.
“I definitely needed that one. The last five races have been difficult for me and the team and it is great to finally get one.”
The Formula 1 fraternity now have a fortnight off before the next race, the French Grand Prix, at the Circuit Paul Ricard, Le Castellet, on July 24.
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