Charles Leclerc overtakes Max Verstappen three times for lead on his way to much-needed win; Ferrari’s race soured by Carlos Sainz’s late engine blow-up; Lewis Hamilton climbs from eighth to third for Mercedes; Verstappen leads Leclerc by 38 points in title race

Last Updated: 10/07/22 7:02pm

Check out the duel of the Austrian Grand Prix between Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Check out the duel of the Austrian Grand Prix between Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen.

Check out the duel of the Austrian Grand Prix between Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen.

Charles Leclerc overtook Max Verstappen three times on track for a brilliant and long-overdue win at the Austrian GP, with Lewis Hamilton third as Ferrari’s celebratory mood was dented by Carlos Sainz’s dramatic engine fire.

Leclerc had gone seven races without an F1 2022 victory but was the dominant driver in Sunday’s engrossing Grand Prix, passing Verstappen early on and then after the first and second stops to surge ahead.

He then survived a late reliability scare with his throttle to win by two seconds.

“Oh my god I was scared, I was really scared,” said Leclerc on team radio. He added on his win: “I definitely needed that one.”

Verstappen’s title lead is still 38 points, although Leclerc is now his closest title rival after Sergio Perez was forced to retire from the race in the other Red Bull, following a first-lap collision with George Russell.

Carlos Sainz's Ferrari burst into flames following an engine failure which ended his race in Austria.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Carlos Sainz’s Ferrari burst into flames following an engine failure which ended his race in Austria.

Carlos Sainz’s Ferrari burst into flames following an engine failure which ended his race in Austria.

Ferrari’s day could have been even better. The Scuderia were looking set for momentum-shifting one-two as Carlos Sainz gained on Verstappen on fresher tyres before he suffered a costly engine blow-up.

Sainz’s car was engulfed in flames as he clambered out, and it was Ferrari’s fourth mechanical failure of the season.

That lifted Hamilton up to third place, with the Mercedes driver recovering from eighth on the grid to show competitive pace – while still 40 seconds off the race winner at the chequered flag after a Virtual Safety Car.

Sergio Perez spins off the track after making contact with the Mercedes of George Russell on the opening lap of the Austrian Grand Prix.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Sergio Perez spins off the track after making contact with the Mercedes of George Russell on the opening lap of the Austrian Grand Prix.

Sergio Perez spins off the track after making contact with the Mercedes of George Russell on the opening lap of the Austrian Grand Prix.

Russell finished fourth in the other Merc despite his five-second time penalty for the Perez clash.

Esteban Ocon claimed fifth for Alpine while Mick Schumacher followed up his first F1 points with a career-best sixth place for Haas.

McLaren had both drivers in the points at the end of a below-par weekend, with Lando Norris managing seventh despite being one of three drivers to pick up five-second penalties for track limits infringements.

Austrian GP Race Result: Top 10

1) Charles Leclerc, Ferrari

2) Max Verstappen, Red Bull

3) Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes

4) George Russell, Mercedes

5) Esteban Ocon, Alpine

6) Mick Schumacher, Haas

7) Lando Norris, McLaren

8) Kevin Magnussen, Haas

9) Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren

10) Fernando Alonso, Alpine

How Leclerc reignited title bid in Austria

Leclerc had gone three months without a win and two without even a podium coming into the Spielberg race, but he was a man on a mission on Sunday and not even the world champion and title leader could stop him.

While Verstappen held Leclerc off at the start, the Ferrari appeared quicker than the Red Bull throughout and the Monegasque driver managed to stay in DRS range before getting past on Lap 12.

Charles Leclerc pulled of a sensational move to overtake Max Verstappen to take the lead of the Austrian Grand Prix.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Charles Leclerc pulled of a sensational move to overtake Max Verstappen to take the lead of the Austrian Grand Prix.

Charles Leclerc pulled of a sensational move to overtake Max Verstappen to take the lead of the Austrian Grand Prix.

Verstappen stopped early and gained the lead when Ferrari pitted their lead driver 12 laps later, but Leclerc made light work of the six-second deficit to close in and pass his rival on Lap 33.

Verstappen was frustrated with his car’s pace on team radio and the Red Bull stop, Ferrari stop, Leclerc passes Verstappen sequence repeated itself again later on, with Leclerc decisively getting ahead again out of Turn 3 with 18 laps remaining.

The best of the action from an epic Austrian Grand Prix as Charles Leclerc took the win.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

The best of the action from an epic Austrian Grand Prix as Charles Leclerc took the win.

The best of the action from an epic Austrian Grand Prix as Charles Leclerc took the win.

Sainz was on the same strategy to Leclerc and had DRS on Verstappen before his extremely unlucky DNF. Sainz’s engine blew and then caught fire to cost the Spaniard a podium to follow up his British GP win.

“Engine, engine… NO!” said Sainz on team radio. He told Sky Sports F1 later: “I am a little lost for words.”

Leclerc then had his own reliability gremlins to cause more panic for Ferrari fans, as he reported a throttle issue in the closing laps. Verstappen closed the gap, but Leclerc hung on for a win that reignites his title challenge.

Charles Leclerc crosses the line first to win the Austrian GP, his first win not starting from pole!

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Charles Leclerc crosses the line first to win the Austrian GP, his first win not starting from pole!

Charles Leclerc crosses the line first to win the Austrian GP, his first win not starting from pole!

Ferrari, while claiming back to back victories for the first time this season, will surely still be ruing not taking a bigger chunk out of Red Bull’s title leads.

The epic racing, clashes and Hamilton’s salvaged podium

The Austrian GP, the final to a bumper weekend after qualifying and the Sprint, was another fine advert for F1 and the new-for-2022 cars with overtaking throughout the 71 laps.

The most memorable battles came in a thrilling five-car battle for ninth – eventually won by Norris – while the most controversial both happened at Turn 4.

Check out this dramatic five-car battle for the eighth spot at the Austrian Grand Prix.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Check out this dramatic five-car battle for the eighth spot at the Austrian Grand Prix.

Check out this dramatic five-car battle for the eighth spot at the Austrian Grand Prix.

On the first lap, Perez went around the outside of Russell before he was squeezed and then by the Mercedes. He continued after a pit-stop but had too much damage, and too little pace, and was retired.

Sebastian Vettel and Pierre Gasly also came together at that corner, with the AlphaTauri driver giving Vettel even less room than Perez had earlire. Both Gasly and Russell got five-second penalties.

Sebastian Vettel expressed his frustration over team radio after contact with Pierre Gasly caused him to spin off the track.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Sebastian Vettel expressed his frustration over team radio after contact with Pierre Gasly caused him to spin off the track.

Sebastian Vettel expressed his frustration over team radio after contact with Pierre Gasly caused him to spin off the track.

Hamilton wasn’t involved in many wheel-to-wheel scraps – minus with the Haas again at the start – but had good pace in clear air and made his way up to fourth as Mercedes mirrored and even extended Ferrari’s lengthy stints.

That became third after Sainz’s fire, which Hamilton and Mercedes gleefully accepted with excellent damage limitation – not for the first time this season – considering Ferrari and Red Bull’s pace advantage.

Lewis Hamilton overtakes the Haas duo of Mick Schumacher and Kevin Magnussen to climb to fourth in Austrian GP.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Lewis Hamilton overtakes the Haas duo of Mick Schumacher and Kevin Magnussen to climb to fourth in Austrian GP.

Lewis Hamilton overtakes the Haas duo of Mick Schumacher and Kevin Magnussen to climb to fourth in Austrian GP.

“This is a great recovery for us as a team to get a third and a fourth,” said Hamilton. It’s really good points.”

The season continues with the French GP on July 22-24, the first of a double header before the summer break.