Charles Leclerc held on to win his first race at the Austrian Grand Prix and reignited his World Championship bid.
At a Red Bull Ring doused in the orange flare smoke of Max Verstappen fans, Leclerc silenced the home crowd with an impressive drive that looked comfortable at times and very uncomfortable at others.
Having made the move on Verstappen near the start of the race, Leclerc almost saw the victory snatched from him once more when he complained of a faulty throttle pedal towards the end of the race. Counting down the laps, Leclerc made it over the line to win for the first time since the Australian Grand Prix.
Elsewhere, there were penalties galore as many drivers fell foul of exceeding the track limits one too many times while Sergio Perez was forced to retire in the first lap following an incident with George Russell.
Here are the driver ratings for the 2022 Austrian Grand Prix:
Charles Leclerc: When Leclerc left the track on Saturday evening with a smile on his face, you would have been right to wonder why. He had just been comfortably beaten by Verstappen to a Sprint victory and Red Bull looked set for another win at their home grand prix. But just 24 hours later, it was clear why all was not lost for Leclerc and Ferrari.
Verstappen may have gotten away well, moving himself out of the one-second DRS zone between himself and Leclerc but soon the pace of the Ferrari began to show. Leclerc chased after Verstappen, debating when to make his move, before sending it on the inside at Turn 4 and getting the overtake done.
From then on, it was a case of maintaining his lead as Ferrari looked to block off any undercut that Red Bull may have attempted. In typical Ferrari fashion, it was not a win without a scare. Shortly after Sainz’s engine exploded, Leclerc reported he had a faulty throttle pedal.
He counted down the laps, pleading for his car to make it, and sure enough it did to give him his first win since the Australian Grand Prix. 9.5
After the last 5 race weekends where everything went wrong, it feels so good to be back on top.
Feel sorry for Carlos as it should have been a 1-2.
Let’s keep pushing ❤️ pic.twitter.com/6GmF8rrw40
— Charles Leclerc (@Charles_Leclerc) July 10, 2022
Max Verstappen: Following his comfortable Sprint victory, Verstappen may have thought he was in for another smooth drive following his excellent start. But soon he had Leclerc on his gearbox and was unable to stop the Ferrari driver from passing him.
Once Sainz had overtaken him as well, the Dutchman and Red Bull faced a choice, chase after the Ferraris or keep a comfortable distance between him and Hamilton behind. The team may have preferred the latter but, unsurprisingly, Verstappen did not.
He pushed and while it looked certain to be a third-place finish if Sainz had not DNFed he at least took second in a race with a clear pace disadvantage. Credit must be given too for the pole position and the dominant Sprint victory on Saturday. 9
Lewis Hamilton: After battling with Schumacher for what felt like the entirety of the Sprint race, Hamilton was able to get by other drivers quickly during Sunday’s race as he made his way up the grid.
He continued his good run until he found himself just outside of the podium places going into the latter stages of the race. With Sainz’s retirement, it bumped him up one spot to give him his second third-place finish in as many grands prix.
Indeed, it seemed Hamilton’s biggest battle in this race was the track limits. As penalties were being dished out across the grid, he was heard annoyed over the radio at being told he was getting dangerously close.
Hamilton recovered pretty well from his costly Q3 crash on Friday, but you can’t help think whether he could have finished on the podium on pure merit if he didn’t have a patched up car to work with for the rest of the weekend.7.5
George Russell: Started the race in terrible fashion by shunting Perez off the track at Turn 4 and not only effectively ending the Mexican’s race but also picked up a time penalty.
He recovered though and bounced back from his disappointment last time out at Silverstone to finish in P4 for the fourth time this season. Considering that Toto Wolff did not believe the Mercedes car would be quick at the Red Bull Ring, it was impressive to see the ease in which Russell was able to overtake the midfield pack.
The young Brit, who has suffered from a costly Q3 crash, was 19th at one point but cleared all but three other drivers to earn some more valuable points. 7.5
Esteban Ocon: The Frenchman found himself in no man’s land for most of the race as he was not quick enough to keep up with the front three, as demonstrated by Hamilton’s passing in Lap 30, but also showed enough pace to keep the two quick Haas cars behind him.
For this consistent drive, Ocon was rewarded with a P5 finish, which is his highest of the season so far, following up on rock-solid qualifying and Sprint performances as well.9
P🖐🏼!! What a weekend 🔥 Next up: HOME GP! 💙🤍❤️ pic.twitter.com/fCJvt0g0fS
— Esteban Ocon (@OconEsteban) July 10, 2022
Mick Schumacher: It has been quite the upturn in form for Schumacher. From a DNF in Canada to his first points score at Silverstone, he built on it even further in Austria with a superb P6 finish.
It was an impressive performance too and, after giving an interview complete with less expression than Darth Vader following the Sprint race, Schumacher turned that disappointment into points.
The Haas car had shown pace all weekend, especially on the straights, and Schumacher used that pace to first overtake Hamilton before working with team-mate Magnussen to move further up the grid.
With the retirement of Perez and Sainz, it shoved him further up the leaderboard and produced the highest finish of his career. 8.5
Lando Norris: Speaking before the race, Norris said he thought the Haas cars would be his main rivals and that was proved correct as they spent much of the grand prix jostling for position.
It was a case of picking your moments for Norris who made the most of a five-car battle for a position to come out on top and was able to pass Magnussen, if not Schumacher, by the time of the chequered flag, an impressive feat considering he was handed a five second penalty for exceeding track limits. 8
Fighting until the end for every last point, even after a penalty. 👊
— McLaren (@McLarenF1) July 10, 2022
Kevin Magnussen: One half of the Haas team which has now secured back-to-back double points finishes. While he seemed unable to produce the same kind of speed as team-mate Schumacher, he did make the most of the Haas’ pace to put in some nice overtakes including a double one over Norris and Alonso.
Earned his highest finish since the P5 in his comeback race in Bahrain. 8
Daniel Ricciardo: The Daniel Ricciardo mini-revival continues with his first points score since the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. Qualifying in 11th, he improved on that to move up into the points and did well to hold off the charging Alonso behind.
The eternal question of his future is still there but if the Australian can go into the summer break having finished in the points in the last three races then those doubts may start to disappear. 7.5
Fernando Alonso: For the second time this season, Alonso produced a solid drive to rise from the back of the grid to finish in the points in P10.
After his failure to start the car before the Sprint race on Saturday, Alonso quickly moved through the back-markers and by Lap 18, he was within the points. The Spaniard was also involved in a five-car battle for position during Lap 25 but unfortunately for him, he came out behind Norris and Magnussen.
Still, his performance showed that even at 40 years of age, he has still got it and, having said he believed he was one of the highest levels of his career, he will be hoping the car finally matches it. 8
Valtteri Bottas: For whatever reason, the Alfa Romeos seemed to struggle this weekend. Bottas has been reliable for at least challenging for points but has now gone without them in three of the last four races.
In Austria, he was constantly closer to the back of the grid than he was to the front and was battling for position with the Williams of Albon for a lot of the race. He eventually won that fight but it was not enough to earn him a points-scoring spot. 7
Alex Albon: Fought on the edge of the points but was never able to break into them, which, considering he has finished 12th or 13th three times in the last four races would suggest it is becoming the pattern of his season.
In Albon’s defence, he may be maximising all he can out of the Williams car and compared to his team-mate he is showing some signs of pace at least, even if it is not enough to get him those all important points. 6.5
Lance Stroll: An uneventful race for Stroll which compared to his team-mate he may be pleased with – but it is another grand prix in which he has failed to score points.
Of the 11 races so far this season, he has finished within the top 10 on just three occasions and all three were P10. His performance and lack of speed in Austria suggest either he is struggling to adapt to the car or the Aston Martin is just not as quick as they may have hoped. Probably a combination of both. 6
The chequered flag falls on the #AustrianGP! 🏁
There was action up and down the field for the boys today, but points were out of reach. pic.twitter.com/eje2i8yrMF
— Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant F1 Team (@AstonMartinF1) July 10, 2022
Zhou Guanyu: Considering at the same time last week, Zhou was trapped in his car between a fence and a wall, the 23-year-old would have been happy to have just finished the race in Austria.
Before Silverstone, Zhou had been showing signs of pace that could push him up into the points on a consistent basis but that was not to be seen this time round as both he and Bottas never really looked likely of finishing in the top 10. 6
Pierre Gasly: A disappointing day out for both AlphaTauris. Gasly started 14th but slipped one place to end the day in 15th.
The worst moment in the Frenchman’s race came during the 40th lap when Gasly clipped the inside of Vettel’s car and sent him spinning into the gravel. The FIA deemed Vettel had made it passed Gasly by the time of contact and the AlphaTauri driver was handed a five-second penalty as well as two penalty points. He also received a penalty for track limits which he was also unable to properly overcome. 4.5
Yuki Tsunoda: The Japanese driver showed a real lack of pace all weekend. Starting in 16th, he rarely looked like moving much higher up the grid.
Tsunoda eventually finished 17th meaning he has gone five races without scoring points. 5
Sebastian Vettel: “What is wrong with these people?” Vettel asked as he was spun off the track at Turn 4 by Gasly. It was not a race to savour for the four-time World Champion.
Starting in 18th, he was unable to repeat the performance of Alonso and struggled to make any headway in moving up the grid. He was in 16th when he made contact with Gasly and was the last driver to cross the line – but that wasn’t his fault. 5.5
Did not finish
Carlos Sainz: “No, no, no, no, no,” Sainz pleaded over the team radio as he went from the highs of winning his first race last week to seeing yet another podium ripped away from him.
Before his fourth DNF of the season, Sainz had been somewhat of a passenger in the race. Too far away from leaders Leclerc and Verstappen but also comfortably ahead of fourth-placed Hamilton but still he was doing the job that was asked of him, keeping within reach of the leaders and when the Ferrari started to show clear pace over the Red Bull, he targeted Verstappen.
The distance between them was closing with every lap until disaster struck. Sainz’s engine violently exploded, ripping apart the sidepod as flames erupted from the car. Sainz escaped unhurt but cut a forlorn figure as he watched on from the top of a nearby hill at his burning car. 7.5
🇦🇹 It's difficult to find the right words…A 1-2 was pretty straightforward but we had to retire. Good amount of points lost for both championships but I'm feeling better and better in the car. Congrats to Charles for the win! We'll keep pushing
— Carlos Sainz (@Carlossainz55) July 10, 2022
Sergio Perez: Went for the overtake on Russell in Turn 4 and had his car in front before the Mercedes driver clipped him and sent him spinning into the gravel. Perez was able to recover and get it back on track but with the addition of a new hole in his sidepod. The Mexican tried to recover what he could but the team decided to retire in the car in Lap 25. 6
Nicholas Latifi: Ran at the back of the grid for much of the race, behind even Sebastian Vettel who had spun. Retired the car due to damage caused to the floor from debris on the track as he felt it was too dangerous to drive. 4.5
Highlights from the Austrian Grand Prix
Charles Leclerc took his first win in eight races, and Ferrari definitely needed it.