Verstappen wins in Austria as Vettel grabs F1 lead

Austrian Grand Prix- Red Bull Ring Spielberg Austria

Austrian Grand Prix- Red Bull Ring Spielberg Austria

But it was a far from easy win; especially with teammate Daniel Ricciardo retiring - which prompted Red Bull to turn down the leading car's engine.

The afternoon began unravelling on lap 15 when pole-sitter Valtteri Bottas retired with a gearbox problem.

Perhaps most impressive though was how controlled the 20-year-old's performance was, particularly after a tumultuous start of the year blighted by incidents and criticism for what most saw as an over-impulsive approach to racing.

Verstappen hit the front after Mercedes kept Hamilton out on track during a virtual safety vehicle period that followed Bottas's retirement, with the other contenders pitting for fresh tyres.

Despite still being hampered by its Renault power unit, which has failed to close the gap to Mercedes and Ferrari, Red Bull has still been able to stay competitive this season.

It was Verstappen's fourth career victory as he came home ahead of the Ferraris of Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel, who regained the lead in the drivers' championship ahead of Hamilton by a single point.

After nine rounds in 2018, Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull have three wins apiece.

"He's put in... the last three races he's been third, second, and first with three very impressive drives so yeah, he tends to be looking forward not backwards. Today was a really good day for me and I just hope we can continue like this". "It was very hard to manage the tyres as well".

It, however, could have been a different story. "A very, very mature drive for him".

"So I think there is a chance in both championships and we certainly haven't written anything off at this point in the year".

Horner said that Verstappen did such a good job in ensuring that the tyres were being looked after that the critical left rear tyre was operating at a cooler temperature than the right. "The more we can attract the better for all of us and the better for the sport". It was one that looked a distant possibility following Red Bull's dire qualifying.

"Obviously it would've been nice to start further up", he said. "I was in the lead, I tried to do my own pace". "It was damage limitation for me and a positive day".

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.

Two-time champion Fernando Alonso came home eighth for McLaren ahead of Monegasque rising star Charles Leclerc and his Ferrari-powered Sauber team-mate Marcus Ericsson.

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