Max Verstappen’s victory in the Austrian Grand Prix has been confirmed after the stewards opted against penalizing him for his race-winning overtake on Charles Leclerc.
Having fought through the field to challenge for the win in the closing laps, Verstappen then got down the inside of Leclerc on Lap 68 and tried to park the car on the apex. Leclerc accelerated around the outside and Verstappen left room as the Ferrari came back at him, with Leclerc taking the lead on the run to Turn 4.
On the next lap, Verstappen braked deeper into Turn 3 after again being able to get down the inside, and Leclerc had no space as he turned in, with the pair touching wheels and the Ferrari running wide.
The two drivers were summoned to the stewards and spent more than 30 minutes discussing the incident, with a decision following over an hour later — and more than three hours after the race finished — stating that no further action would be taken.
“Car 33 sought to overtake car 16 at Turn 3 on Lap 69 by out-braking car 16,” the stewards’ decision read. “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 corner 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.”
As a result, Verstappen wins his first race of the season and gives Honda its first victory since returning to Formula 1 in 2015. (Pictured above: Honda F1 Technical Director Toyoharu Tanabe celebrates with Verstappen on the podium.)