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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 22 July 2018

Max Verstappen wins Austrian GP as Sebastian Vettel retakes F1 championship lead

Red Bull Racing driver triumphant as Lewis Hamilton retires from a race for first time since October 2016

Max Verstappen picked up the fourth win of his Formula One career with victory in Austria. Leonhard Foeger / Reuters
Max Verstappen picked up the fourth win of his Formula One career with victory in Austria. Leonhard Foeger / Reuters

Max Verstappen won the Austrian Grand Prix as Sebastian Vettel regained the Formula One drivers' championship lead on a day when Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes-GP's challenge imploded.

The Red Bull Racing driver triumphed for the fourth time in his career, ahead of the two Ferraris of Kimi Raikkonen and Vettel.

But Hamilton failed to finish a race for the first time since October 2016 as he stopped on track, while running fourth, after complaining of a loss of power.

It completed a dismal day for Mercedes with pole-sitter Valtteri Bottas also retiring, his ailment being a gearbox problem.

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Hamilton had led from the start after passing Bottas, but Mercedes's day began to unravel when Bottas stopped.

A Virtual Safety Car (VSC) period was called by the race stewards to allow marshals to retrieve the Finn's car.

Mercedes chose not to pit Hamilton, but Red Bull and Ferrari pitted both their drivers for what they hoped would be their lone stop.

Hamilton dropped to fourth when he did pit, handing the lead to Verstappen, who having started fourth had gained third place on the opening lap with a fine overtake on Raikkonen.

An unhappy Hamilton struggled with tyre blistering subsequently, and after being passed by Vettel, pitted again before retiring while running a lowly fourth.

Verstappen's teammate Daniel Ricciardo also failed to finish as he was stopped by a gearbox issue.

The Haas cars of Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen completed the top five.

The result puts Vettel back on top of the standings by one point from Hamilton after nine rounds of the 21-race season.

The next round is the British Grand Prix on July 8 at Silverstone, a race Hamilton has won for the past four years.