SPIELBERG, Austria (AP) – Charles Leclerc maintained a courageous face as victory overtook him and tensions mounted on Ferrari over a five-F1 car with no steering wheel. After winning the Austrian Grand Prix on Sunday, Leclerc’s bright smile returned.

Leclerc encountered a serious problem with his legs closed because his eagle was not working properly, making it difficult for him to adjust his pace.

It was a different story for Ferrari teammate Carlos Sainz Jr., whose hopes of finishing in second place in Austria ended abruptly when his engine crashed as he caught Red Bull, former Formula One international Max Verstappen. Sanz came out as flames licked his running suit. Undaunted, she sat on the grass and thought about her plight.

Sanz won last week at the British GP, with Leclerc down from first to fourth. After missing there, Leclerc returned to capture Verstappen in Austria by 1.5 seconds to win for the third time this season.

It was Leclerc’s first win since the Australian GP in April. After finishing second in the United States GP in May, five Leclerc contestants included two DNFs, two fourths and one fifth.

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“I was optimistic, but obviously tough competition after tough competition seemed like everything was against me,” said Leclerc, who also won the Bahrain GP. “In the end we did well and I feel good about winning again.”

Leclerc said it was “very serious” as the throttle problem persisted.

“I really needed that victory, the last five races have been very tough,” said the Monaco driver. “It’s great that in the end we have a fair competition on my side.”

The resting Leclerc sang while the national anthem was sung on the podium, then played with Verstappen-spray spray for Champagne. Leclerc has not forgotten Ferrari rival Laurent Mekies, perhaps, to provoke him.

The respect between Verstappen and Leclerc – both 24 years old and former karting players – is growing.

“You guys were the fastest runners today,” Verstappen said in the post-race cold room.

“Yes, we were very fast,” Leclerc replied.

Leclerc climbed to second place but is still 38 points behind Verstappen – 208 vs. 170 – with Sergio Perez of Red Bull dropping to third. He retired after 26 of 71 trips after being hit by an opening in an attempt to pass George Russell’s Mercedes.

Verstappen earned a bonus to go with the eight points he picked up to win the Sprint competition on Saturday.

Lewis Hamilton finished third for Mercedes and secured third place straight. Russell received a five-minute penalty for Perez’s actions but was fourth. Most impressive as Mercedes repaired both cars after the accident at the end of Friday’s race.

“These are big points,” Hamilton said. “I really thank the team for their hard work.”

After crashing into the Lap 58, Sainz’s car was on fire and began to slide backwards on the rocks as the driver rushed over there with a fire extinguisher.

“I saw a car on fire and immediately tried to apply the brakes,” Sainz said. “I call the drivers to put something on the tires to make the car fall. At one point, the fire was so intense that I just got out.”

He thinks things could be done quickly.

“That’s what we can look at,” Sanz said. “It wasn’t that hard.”

The incident triggered a security vehicle, prompting Leclerc and Verstappen to change new tires if a security vehicle was to be released.

Leclerc’s fifth win was one of his advantages. It was also very welcome after a major upheaval in party elections.

Leclerc was outraged by the British GP when his team prevented him from running smoothly instead of buying him new tires on a delayed car, which led to Sainz winning for the first time and discussing divisional divisions within Ferrari.

Here Sanz was left with a bitter taste.

“No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no,” he repeated in disbelief as his engine went off.

A few seconds later he had a lot of trouble when the flames burned.

Verstappen did not look like he had won his seventh win of the season and his fifth win at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg, when an orange-clad shootout erupted in his team’s home competition.

“It’s just a shame I didn’t give them the victory today,” he said. “We struggled with the tires. However, second place is a good result.”

Esteban Ocon won its 100th F1 and fifth Alpine race ahead of Mick Schumacher, who travels with the Haas after earning his first points and eighth place in Silverstone.

Lando Norris (McLaren), Kevin Magnussen (Haas), Daniel Ricciardo (Mclaren) and Fernando Alonso (Alpine) finished in the top 10.

Leclerc had already surpassed Verstappen twice with a clean pass to direct the race. But with about 20 trips to go Verstappen once again led Ferrari after disrupting Leclerc and Sainz in a row.

But with only a little guidance Verstappen could not stand it for long and Leclerc passed well.

Verstappen had started at the stake in front of Leclerc and Sainz. They were about to collide as they raced along Saturday’s race. By the end of Sunday afternoon, Sainz was being comforted in the team garage.

Pierre Gasly’s AlphaTauri hit Sebastian Vettel’s Aston Martin on the rocks and received a five-second penalty. After a relentless recovery from a tragic accident at the British GP, Chinese driver Zhou Guanyu placed 14th in the Alfa Romeo.

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