Points for Ricciardo as Leclerc wins Austrian thriller

Monday 11 July, 2022
Daniel Ricciardo on his way to P9 in the Austrian Grand Prix. (Photo: McLaren Media)
The 2022 Austrian Grand Prix has been run and won with Daniel Ricciardo claiming Formula 1 Championship points for just the third time this year, while Charles Leclerc won his first race since April’s Formula 1 Heineken Australian Grand Prix.
 
It’s been a mixed year for Leclerc, but the Ferrari star was on point in Austria, producing a stellar drive throughout the 71-lap affair to claim his second win for the year despite facing technical issues late in the race.
 
Having started on the front row alongside championship leader Max Verstappen, Leclerc gained the lead after just 12 laps thanks to a brilliant move on the Dutchman.
 
From that point on, Leclerc had the pace to enjoy a comfortable run during the race and even though he lost his lead twice to Verstappen after each of his first two pit stops, he easily regained it back on both occasions.
 
The race win still didn’t come easy for Leclerc as he experienced throttle issues in the final stages, but he held on to reach the chequered flag ahead of Verstappen by a few seconds.
 
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While there was elation for one Ferrari star, there was devastation for the other as Carlos Sainz was forced to retire with 14 laps remaining after his Ferrari’s power unit blew, resulting in the car catching on fire. 
 
Sainz’s DNF saw Lewis Hamilton promoted to third place with the Mercedes driver claiming a podium for the third consecutive race, while teammate George Russell bounced back from his first DNF of the season last week with fourth respectively. 
 
Rounding out the top five was Esteban Ocon with the Frenchman getting his best result of the year – a similar scenario for the sixth placed Mick Schumacher, who placed in the points for the second race running. 
 
As for Ricciardo, the West Australian picked up some much needed points in a solid effort that saw him finish in ninth after starting in P11.
 
Ricciardo had a good start to the race, passing teammate Lando Norris early on, however he couldn’t stay there as he struggled with pace at times during the race.
 
Fortunately for the 33-year-old, a retirement to Sergio Perez in the early stages and Sainz’s dramatic DNF helped him make up the two places and he was able to finish with two championship points.

“It was OK. I’m obviously happy to have moved forward and got a couple points out of it," Ricciardo said post-race.

“But yeah, I would have loved a bit more pace.

“There were certainly some areas where I felt better yesterday (Saturday's Qualifying). didn’t quite have at all times what I wanted in the car today, particularly the first stint.

“I locked up at the start and got a very big flat spot on the first stint and I struggled a lot through all the right hand corners.

“That was quite a shame because I think we had good track position — I think I made up one or two spots on the first lap. That was good but then didn’t have the pace.

“With newer tyres, it was a little bit better but it still wasn’t everything I hoped for. All that being said, it was a decent race. It was solid but just decent.”
 
It’s a two-week break for the Formula 1 World Championship with the French Grand Prix to take place on 24 July. 
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