Formula 1 stunned by 'hand grenade' crash in Austrian Grand Prix

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·Sports Reporter
·4-min read
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Carlos Sainz had to swiftly exit his Ferrari after it exploded and caught fire.
Formula 1 fans were left stunned after Carlos Sainz had to quickly escape his burning Ferrari during the Austrian Grand Prix. Picture: Sky Sports

Formula One ace Carlos Sainz has walked away unscathed after his engine blew-up like a 'hand grenade' during the Austrian Grand Prix overnight.

The Spanish F1 star, who won last time out in Britain, was running second behind teammate Charles Leclerc when the rear of the car erupted in flames.

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Sainz quickly escaped from the cockpit as track marshals descended on his stricken Ferrari.

Engines giving up during a grand prix is nothing new in Formula One, but really do they let go in such spectacular fashion as happened on Sunday, with flames engulfing the rear of the car.

The blaze caused damage to some of the car's sidepods, with a small amount of debris seen shooting away from the car.

Fortunately, neither Sainz nor any of the attending marshalls suffered any injuries.

It was a bitter blow for both Sainz and Ferrari, with the former having suffered a number of retirements already this season - for this one was at least not at his feet.

Former F1 driver turned Sky Sports commentator Martin Brundle was taken aback by the amout of damage caused by whatever had failed in the Ferrari engine.

"The thing's blowing up, it's smashing the sidepods," he said.

"That was a proper hand grenade of an engine blow up, wasn't it. That absolutely destroyed itself. That was a proper blow up."

Sainz's retirement was a huge disappointment for Ferrari, who were on track for a one-two finish.

There was a late scare for Leclerc as he came home to finish ahead of Red Bull's Max Verstappen and Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton, with his Ferrari suffering from some issues of it's own as the laps ticked down.

"Weirdly it was more or less at the same time, so of course I had it in my mind," he said.

"I definitely needed that one. The last five races have been incredibly difficult for myself but also for the team.

"And to finally show that we've got the pace in the car and that we can do it, is incredible. We need to push until the end."

Leclerc hangs on to hold off Verstappen in Austrian GP

Verstappen, who had to settle for second on Sunday, still has a comfortable 38 point lead over the Monegasque after 11 of 22 races.

Mercedes' seven-times world champion Lewis Hamilton completed the podium for the third race in a row.

Lando Norris finished seventh for McLaren, two places ahead of his Australian teammate Daniel Ricciardo, who picked up two points.

"I was scared. I was really scared," said a relieved Leclerc over the team radio after taking the chequered flag at the Red Bull Ring with Verstappen in his mirrors, one-and-a-half seconds behind.

He overtook the Dutch driver three times in the race but feared the win might still slip away as he battled a throttle problem over the last few laps.

"It would get stuck at 20 or 30 per cent throttle in the low speeds, so it was very tricky. We managed to make it stick until the end and I am so happy," said Leclerc.

Charles Leclerc is sprayed with champagne on the Austrian GP podium by Lewis Hamilton.
Charles Leclerc managed engine issues to win the Formula 1 Austrian Grand Prix on Sunday. (Photo by Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

"I definitely needed that one. The last five races have been incredibly difficult for myself and for the team. To finally show that we have the pace in the car and we can do it is incredible."

The win was Leclerc's third of the season, his first since Australia in April and the first time he was won from anywhere other than pole position.

Verstappen had been chasing his fourth Austrian GP win in five years, with his Orange Army out in their tens of thousands to cheer him on. Organisers put the weekend attendance at 303,000.

"Unfortunately I couldn't give them a win today but second place is still a good result," he said.

Alpine's Esteban Ocon was fifth, ahead of Mick Schumacher, who scored the first Formula One points of his career at Silverstone last weekend, in sixth for Haas. The German was voted driver of the day.

The starting grid was set by a Saturday sprint, the second of the season, won by Verstappen from pole position with Leclerc second. The top eight in that race also took points.

With AAP

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