Max Verstappen charged to a stunning Austrian Grand Prix victory on Sunday after making a controversial pass on Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, with the Red Bull driver under investigation at the chequered flag.

Verstappen fought back from a poor start that saw him drop from second to eighth on the opening lap to provisionally claim his second win at the Red Bull Ring, opting for a long first stint before charging through the order on fresher tyres.

Passes on Sebastian Vettel and Valtteri Bottas put Verstappen behind erstwhile leader Leclerc entering the closing stages, before making the pass for the lead with three laps to go.

But the move was quickly noted by the race stewards after the pair made contact exiting the corner, infuriating Leclerc, whose hopes of a maiden F1 win were dashed.

Leclerc went unchallenged at the start after Max Verstappen bogged down in second place, leaving the Mercedes duo of Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton to lead the charge against the Ferrari driver through the opening stint of the race.

Putting his Soft tyres to good use, Leclerc managed to open up a four-second buffer over Bottas through the early stages, with Hamilton sitting a further three seconds behind. Both Sebastian Vettel – who started ninth – and Verstappen were able to fight their way back up into the top five, albeit running far adrift from Leclerc in the lead.

Bottas and Vettel were the first of the leaders to pit, coming in at the end of Lap 21 to switch to Hards. Bottas’ hopes of getting the undercut on Leclerc ahead were hurt as he was slowed down by Vettel entering his pit box, but there was worse news for Ferrari as a radio error meant its mechanics did not hear the call to pit. This led to a slow stop, costing Vettel around four seconds while his tyres were prepared.

Leclerc covered off Bottas by matching his pit stop one lap later, also switching to Hards, but both Hamilton and Verstappen opted to run a longer first stint to gain fresher tyres for the second half of the race.

The move appeared to put Hamilton in contention for victory as he kept putting in the laps, matching Leclerc’s pace, but the Briton’s hopes were ended when he ran wide at Turn 10 and caused some damage to his front wing that caused him to lose around one second per lap. Mercedes took the decision to pit Hamilton at the end of Lap 30 and change his front wing, with the repairs dropping him behind Vettel on-track. Verstappen was also able to emerge from the pits ahead of Hamilton, coming out in fourth place after switching to Hard tyres at the end of Lap 31.

The benefit of the fresher tyres soon became clear as Verstappen put the hammer down, carving time out of the cars ahead. He managed to sail past Vettel on the run to Turn 4 at the third attempt to take third on Lap 50, prompting Ferrari to react by pitting Vettel for a set of Soft tyres immediately. Six laps later, Verstappen made light work of Bottas by diving up the inside at Turn 3, leaving him P2 with five seconds to make up to Leclerc ahead in the final 16 laps.

Soon before his pass on Bottas, Verstappen sparked fears on the pit wall momentarily when he reported a possible loss of power, but the issue was soon dismissed as Red Bull gave him the call to turn up his engine performance mode entering the closing stages.

The boost quickly paid off as Verstappen skipped through the lapped cars to close up on Leclerc, whose lead was looking increasingly precarious as they entered the final five laps of the race.

Verstappen had a first look at passing Leclerc on Lap 67, trying to slip up the inside at Turn 3, only for the Ferrari driver to park his car on the apex and keep his rival back. Verstappen briefly grabbed the lead one lap later before Leclerc powered past on exit, with their battle coming to a head with three laps to go.

Verstappen jockeyed his Red Bull RB15 car alongside Leclerc’s Ferrari at Turn 3, comfortably getting past on the inside. Both cars ran wide before they bumped wheels, sending Leclerc to the left and allowing Verstappen to sweep into the lead with ease. Verstappen quickly said over team radio that Leclerc had turned in on him; Leclerc was angered, saying: “What the hell was that?!”

There was no way back for Leclerc after the clash, with Verstappen easing home to win the race by 2.7 seconds – albeit with the stewards set to look into the incident in the hours following the race.

Bottas managed to complete the podium for Mercedes as he managed to hold on to third ahead of Vettel, who was six-tenths of a second shy upon crossing the line after his late second stop. Vettel had easily passed Hamilton on the penultimate lap, leaving the championship leader off the podium for the first time this year in fifth.

Lando Norris turned in a star display to take sixth for McLaren after completing a mammoth 45-lap stint on the Medium tyres, keeping Red Bull’s Pierre Gasly at bay as the Frenchman finished seventh, one lap down on his teammate at the front.

Carlos Sainz fought from the final row of the grid to finish eighth after a long first stint on Mediums, with the Alfa Romeo duo of Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi completing the points in P9 and P10 respectively. It marked Giovinazzi’s first F1 point in his 11th start.

Sergio Perez took 11th for Racing Point ahead of the Renault pair of Daniel Ricciardo and Nico Hulkenberg, whose weekend-long struggles continued into the race. Lance Stroll wound up P14 after being hindered by a fuel system issue on his car.

Toro Rosso had a difficult race as Alexander Albon and Daniil Kvyat finished P15 and P17 respectively, split by Haas driver Romain Grosjean. Grosjean's teammate, Kevin Magnussen, was beaten by Williams' George Russell to P18, while Robert Kubica propped up the running order in P20, three laps down.