Charles Leclerc reignited his World Championship hopes by driving to victory at the Austrian Grand Prix when teammate Carlos Sainz escaped unharmed from his Ferrari after it caught fire. Leclerc passed leaders Max Verstappen three times to claim his first triumph since taking the checkered flag in Australia on April 10. Verstappen was second after Sainz’s engine stalled with 14 laps to go.
Sainz collapsed on the uphill at Turn 4, but shortly thereafter his car caught fire dramatically. With Sainz still in his cockpit and his car rolling downhill, the Spaniard had to fight gravity as he unbuckled his seat belts and attempted to jump off his burning machine.
TV cameras cropped from focus, but seconds later Sainz was seen walking away from his wreckage while the flames were being put out by marshals. The retirement of Sainz allowed Lewis Hamilton to finish third, with Mercedes team-mate George Russell fourth despite a first-lap collision with Red Bull’s Sergio Perez.
At the halfway point in the 2022 season, Verstappen has a 38-point lead over Leclerc in second place, while Perez – who retired from Sunday’s race – is third, a further 19 points adrift. The next race is the weekend of July 22-24 at the Circuit Paul Ricard in the French Grand Prix.
Follow the latest reactions to Sunday’s race at the Austrian Grand Prix: