Published: Tue, July 02, 2019
Sport | By Kayla Schwartz

Leclerc: Verstappen pass 'not the way you overtake'

Leclerc: Verstappen pass 'not the way you overtake'

In front of crowds of fans?

The incident investigated by the race stewards, who confirmed the result almost three hours after the race ended.

Reports emerged over the weekend claiming that Verstappen's Red Bull contract, which runs through until the end of the 2020 season, had an exit clause allowing him to negotiate with other teams if he failed to win a race by the summer break, due after the Hungarian Grand Prix in the first week of August.

With Vettel and Hamilton out of the equation, Formula One feasted on a battle of its next generation as the two 21-year-olds went toe-to-toe for the win.

A memorable fight with Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel and Bottas was just the appetiser as Verstappen and Leclerc fought for supremacy.

Despite the poor showing Hamilton still leads his team-mate in the world championship by 31 points.

The result ensures Red Bull's power unit supplier Honda of their first victory since the 2006 Hungarian Grand Prix.

It also showed that one week on from the dreary procession at the French Grand Prix, Formula One remains a sport that can produce a thrilling spectacle in the right conditions and at the right circuit.

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The Verstappen and Red Bull camp said it could hardly believe that the victory on Sunday was ever in doubt.

The Monegasque, forced wide as Verstappen went through, said he would let the stewards decide.

Wolff said his team's cars had the speed to win but were unable to unleash it on a hot day with air temperatures touching 33 degrees centigrade at the start of the race and track temperatures in the 50s.

"We think the verdict is wrong", Ferrari's Mattia Binotto said afterwards.

Asked by Motorsport.com if he felt he could have done anything different to avoid the contact, Leclerc said: "I did the same thing from the first to the second lap". Ten yards along the paddock, a beaming Red Bull team principal Christian Horner could not hide his delight. "We need drivers going wheel-to-wheel and fighting with each other". An engine issue cost Leclerc victory in Bahrain in March. Bottas had to settle for third with Hamilton only fifth - the first time he has been off the podium since Mexico last October.

Verstappen's hopes of the first non-Mercedes victory of the year appeared to be over after a matter of yards as from second on the grid he staggered off the start-line, falling to seventh.

Ferrari's botched pit stop opened the door for Hamilton to stay out longer at the front on medium tyres, but the defending champion suffered wing damage pushing to extend his lead.

"Totally deserved the penalty today and have no problem accepting it", Hamilton said. "We couldn't really race with our vehicle".

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