Max Verstappen bounced back from a disastrous start and survived a nervous wait post-race to to claim an incredible win at the Austrian Grand Prix.

The Dutchman was made to delay his celebrations when stewards investigated an incident late in the race which threatened to rob the young gun of his first win for the season.

Ferrari's Charles Leclerc led for much of the 71-lap race but on lap 68 he and Verstappen collided when the Red Bull star took the inside on Turn Three. The pair bumped into each other and Leclerc went off the track, causing him to complain over the team radio.

"What the hell is that," he yelled.


But Verstappen was able to breathe a sigh of relief when stewards finally made a decision in their investigation more than two hours after the grand prix finished, saying they "did not consider that either driver was wholly or predominantly to blame for the incident. We consider that this is a racing incident".

Verstappen's breakthrough win means the freakish steak of Mercedes is over after a stunning dogfight between two drivers widely considered to be the future of the sport. Leclerc and Verstappen started next to each other on the front row of the grid but had much different drives.

Leclerc led from the beginning of the race, getting off to a perfect start and leading without pressure until his dramatic clash with his rival. Verstappen on the other hand endured a nightmare scenario when he stalled at the start.

It saw the 21-year-old drop from the front row of the grid to seventh and he was forced to claw his way back.

The Mercedes pair of Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas sitting on the second row immediately overtook Verstappen as he dropped down in the pack. The commentators called it an "atrocious start" but Red Bull's main man soon flew back into contention.

A memorable fight with Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel and Bottas was just the appetiser as Verstappen and Leclerc fought for supremacy.

Leclerc was driving a brilliant race and holding Verstappen at bay until the 68th lap.

Verstappen powered to the chequered flag first after the controversial bump, recording his sixth F1 victory and defending his title in Austria.

The win for Red Bull was also the first for the team with the Honda engine after switching from former power unit supplier Renault this season.

It was Honda's first win as a constructor since 2006 with Jenson Button.

Verstappen was thrilled with the victory but had some strong words for the stewards as they investigated the incident.

"After that start, I thought the race was over but we just kept pushing hard and then after the pit stop we were flying," Verstappen said.

"It's hard racing otherwise we have to stay home. If those things aren't allow in racing, what's the point of being in Formula One?"

It was a thrilling finish but Leclerc was furious about the result.

"Overall the race was good, at the end I had a bit more degradation than I though and then on the incident, I'll let the stewards decide but in the car it was pretty clear in the car, I don't know how it looked on the outside but we'll see what the decision is," Leclerc said.

"I was on the outside just like the lap before. He left a space for a car width on the exit of the corner and he didn't on the other lap so we touched and I had to go wide, it's a shame."

"I'm angry obviously. On the first lap, he left me a car width, on the second one he didn't and on that I think there's something so we'll see."