Max Verstappen was confirmed as the winner of the Austrian GP following the stewards’ review of the on-track clash between the Red Bull driver and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc in the closing stages of the race.
The pair were dicing for the lead as they entered Turn 3 on lap 69, with Verstappen overtaking his rival but then pushing Leclerc wide on the exit.
The Red Bull charger defended the move, saying it was just “hard racing” while a fuming Leclerc felt he had been pushed off the track, a view predictably shared by Scuderia boss Mattia Binotto.
After hearing from the two protagonists, the stewards labeled the issue a racing incident and deemed that no further action was required, confirming Verstappen sixth career win in F1.
“The Stewards reviewed video evidence, heard from the driver of car 33 (Max Verstappen), the driver of car 16 (Charles Lecletc) and team representatives and determined the following,” the stewards stated in their report.
“Car 33 sought to overtake car 16 at Tum 3 on lap 69 by out-braking car 16. When doing so, car 33 was alongside car 16 on the entry of the corner and was in full control of the car while attempting the overtaking move on the inside of car 16.
“However, both car 33 and car 16 proceeded to negotiate the comer alongside each other but there was clearly insufficient space for both cars to do so. Shortly after the late apex, while exiting the corner, there was contact between the two cars. In the totality of the circumstances, we did not consider that either driver was wholly or predominantly to blame for the incident. We consider that this is a racing incident.”
The drivers’ representative among the FIA stewards at the Austrian Grand Prix was nine-time Le Mans winner Tom Kristensen.
The Stewards made the right call. Perhaps Formula 1’s ‘Let them race’ policy has a future after all…