Max Verstappen wins the Austrian Grand Prix for the seventh time in a row for Red Bull.
The Dutchman’s fifth consecutive victory puts him 81 points ahead of teammate Sergio Perez in the title.
The tussle for the podium spots between Perez and the Ferraris generated excitement behind him.
Leclerc won thanks in part to tenacious defense from teammate Carlos Sainz, with Perez finishing third.
Van ‘t Hoff, a Dutch driver, died in a car accident near Spa.
Max Verstappen wins the sprint ahead of Sergio Perez.
Sainz held off Perez, storming back through the field from 15th on the grid for four important laps, giving Leclerc the breathing room he needed to stay ahead of the Red Bull until the finish.
For several circuits, the two battled feverishly through Turns Three and Four, with Sainz masterfully repassing the Red Bull around the outside of Turn Four after Perez appeared to have grabbed the place, before the Mexican eventually won.
With nine laps to remaining, Leclerc was 12.9 seconds ahead of Perez, and the Red Bull made no inroads into that distance before the checkered flag.
Verstappen dominated the race, winning for the seventh time in nine races this season after converting his pole position into a lead at the first corner.
As a result of a later first pit stop that put him out of rhythm with the red cars, he had to pass both Ferraris during his middle stint between two pit stops.
But he did it with ease and glided off into the distance for another unassisted victory, leaving the field impotent to intervene.
In the closing circuits, Verstappen argued against his team’s suggestion to cool tyres – basically a plea to back off and cruise to the finish – in favor of a pit stop for fresh tyres, allowing him to claim Perez’s fastest lap.
Ferrari receives a small comfort.
The race did, however, provide some hope for Ferrari, whose car appeared to have improved in race pace and tyre consumption after a series of modifications in the previous three races.
After a spectacular qualifying performance on Friday that put him second on the grid, Leclerc performed incredibly well and deserved his second place, even if he did owe Sainz some gratitude.
During the initial half of the race, Sainz closely followed Leclerc, even asking the team if they would let him by so he could challenge Verstappen.
However, following the first pit stops, Leclerc pulled ahead of his teammate, who had his aspirations shattered by a five-second penalty for violating track restrictions.
Sainz was one of nine drivers – nearly half the field – to be penalized in this way, including Lewis Hamilton, who had a disappointing race for Mercedes and finished ninth.
Hamilton was reduced to asking his crew if anyone else had penalties, and team chief Toto Wolff had to tell him: “Lewis, we know the car is slow. Please simply drive it.”
Hamilton was also defeated by McLaren’s Lando Norris and Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso, whose fifth-place finish moved him slightly ahead of Hamilton in the championship standings.
Norris’ fifth-place finish, just four seconds or so behind Sainz at the finish, was encouraging for McLaren, who had brought a significant upgrade to his car for this race weekend.
It is the first of a series of modifications that will be employed in the future races, and it appeared to enhance not only the McLaren’s pace, but also another of its major problems, tyre wear.
Behind Hamilton, George Russell advanced from 11th on the grid to eighth place, with Alpine’s Pierre Gasly and Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll rounding out the points positions after a race filled with several frantic clashes involving the midfield runners.