It wasn’t easy for the Ferrari driver as he had to pass Red Bull’s Verstappen three times to claim his first podium finish since the Australian GP in April.

Despite struggling with his throttle near the end of the race, Leclerc was able to hold on, finishing 1.532 seconds clear of second place.

The win ends a run of rotten form for the 24-year-old – having missed out on the podium in the previous five races.

It also cuts Verstappen’s lead at the top of the Drivers’ Championship standings to 38 points as the Ferrari driver takes second place ahead of Red Bull’s Sergio Perez.

After the race, Leclerc underlined how important the victory was to him.

“It was a very good race,” said a relieved Leclerc. “The rhythm was there, at the beginning we had good fights with Max and the end was incredibly difficult. I had this problem with the throttle and it stuck at 20 or 30% throttle at low speed, so it was very tricky but we managed to hold on to the end and I’m so, so happy.

“I really needed that one. I mean the last five races have been incredibly tough for me but also for the team obviously, and finally showing that we have the pace in the car and we can do it. is unbelievable, so we have to push it all the way.”

It could very well have been a Ferrari one-two but, as the end of the race approached, with 14 laps to go, a fire broke out in Carlos Sainz’s car following an engine failure, putting a premature end to its course.

“It’s hard to find the right words”, Sainz wrote on Twitter. “A 1-2 was pretty straightforward but we had to give up. Lots of points lost for both championships but I feel better and better in the car. Congratulations Charles on the win! We will keep pushing.”

Despite being backed by thousands of Dutch fans, Verstappen was unable to claim what would have been a third consecutive victory at the Red Bull Ring as Leclerc’s speed was simply too much for him.

Seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton benefited from the retirement of Sainz, who moved from fourth to third.

Despite a torrid start to the season, it is the 37-year-old’s third consecutive podium finish, as he has improved from his starting eighth place.



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