Verstappen gives his orange army the win they wanted

Formula One Grand Prix Friday free practise sessions Lewis Hamilton Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 W08 EQ Energy

The F1 season returns to Austria and the Red Bull Ring Credit ACTION PLUS

Max Verstappen still believes he can be a world championship contender in the wake of his unexpected victory at the Austrian GP.

With Mercedes winning the last four drivers' and constructors' championships, and trading the lead with Ferrari this year, Horner recognised the champions could have lured Ricciardo away.

"I'm not too impressed to be honest", said Ricciardo. "We could have been more fair".

The normally upbeat and broad-smiling Australian, who will celebrate his 29th birthday on Sunday and whose future with the team remains unresolved, qualified a disappointing seventh, two behind Red Bull team-mate Max Verstappen.

"That was perhaps the most apprehension that I had in the last 25% of the race".

How did Verstappen do it?

The Finn had started from pole, his first of the season, but lost out to Hamilton at the start and dropped to fourth before fighting back to second. Ricciardo said he was unhappy that Verstappen did not "play fair" by refusing to give him a slipstream in a tense and hotly-contested session.

Ricciardo then pitted at the same time Vettel squeezed beyond Hamilton on the 39th of the 71 race laps.

"He was keeping the rear left cooler than the rear right and the left here is the one that takes all the load. Today was a really good day for me and I just hope we can continue like this". "A very, very mature drive for him".

With the rear tyres placed under particular strain through the Red Bull Ring's tricky final two corners, Horner added: "He was pretty cute today, backed out through those right handers and made his time in the other parts of the circuit".

Max Verstappen took victory in a sensational Austrian Grand Prix, leading home both Ferraris having starting fifth on the grid.

The German, whose team did not invoke team orders for Raikkonen to cede position as might have been expected, clawed back the overall lead by a single point from Mercedes rival Hamilton. "There are a lot of people that maybe like the idea of Mario Kart (.) but I think it shouldn't get artificial", Vettel said.

"So they have never been in a position - or the management of the team has never been in a position - where they have had to go head to head through an entire season, and of course the closer you get towards the end of the year the more the pressure builds".

When a virtual safety vehicle was called, he pitted while Hamilton stayed out and the advantage was his - but he had already made things happen by forcing his way past Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen on the opening lap from fourth on the grid.

Mercedes's chief strategist James Vowles came on the radio as the bearer of bad news, admitting his error as Hamilton struggled to comprehend what the team had done.

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