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International media react: Is Ferrari's title challenge back on?

Various international media outlets have given their take on the Austrian Grand Prix, with much focus on Ferrari's prospects going forward after Charles Leclerc finally got the better of Max Verstappen and Red Bull.

Charles Leclerc scored Ferrari's second win in as many races in Sunday's Austrian Grand Prix, overtaking Max Verstappen three times during the course of the race. But Ferrari's joy was tempered slightly by a spectacular engine failure for Carlos Sainz that resulted in dramatic scenes as the F1-75 caught fire. And there were unsavoury scenes off-track too, as several complaints were made about inappropriate behaviour from a selection of spectators. With much to discuss amid the fallout from the Austrian Grand Prix, these talking points drew plenty of reaction from international media outlets.

Leclerc wins first Grand Prix in eight races

After a series of unlucky races, Leclerc's first win since Australia drew much praise from across the globe. "The black cloud of misfortune that has been hanging over Charles Leclerc since early May finally lifted and he took advantage to make a powerful statement as he pulled off a dominant victory in the Austrian Grand Prix," wrote the BBC . "Grand Prix victories don't come much more convincing than this one – especially against a rival as formidable as Verstappen and Red Bull. "Leclerc overtook Verstappen no less than three times on his way to victory as the Red Bull struggled with excessive tyre degradation and was forced into a sub-optimal strategy." Leclerc's late struggles with a sticking throttle were referenced by L'Equipe . "Charles Leclerc finally regained victory after a Grand Prix marked by his overtakes on Max Verstappen," wrote the French newspaper. "A perfectly mastered race for the Ferrari driver who experienced a great scare in the closing laps." And with Ferrari having scored back-to-back wins, there was a sense of optimism in Italy's Gazzetta Dello Sport . "The 38 points behind Max Verstappen are an easily scalable mountain for Ferrari – more powerful, stable, faster and gentler on its tyres than Max Verstappen's Red Bull," wrote the Gazzetta . "Two victories, first at Silverstone, then in Austria, are worth more than the 12 points recovered by Charles Leclerc to the championship leader."

Sainz's dramatic retirement

Ferrari's win might have been a 1-2 had Sainz not suffered a dramatic engine failure, and his retirement took up plenty of column inches in the international press. "After the first win of his Formula 1 career, Carlos Sainz was on course for a podium again in Spielberg," wrote the German daily Bild . "But instead of celebrating his top placing with champagne, his Ferrari was sprayed with fire-extinguishing foam." The Gazzetta Dello Sport focused on Sainz's latest retirement coming just a week after his first win. "In a week, the mood at Ferrari has turned upside down and this time it's up to Carlos Sainz to be the face of disappointment," wrote the Gazzetta . "With Verstappen in his sights, a column of white smoke rose from the F1-75 of the Spaniard: goodbye engine and probably dreams of glory." Spain's Marca also focused on Ferrari's reliability concerns so far in 2022. "It certainly hasn't been the year of reliability at Ferrari, and it's been evenly spread across both cars," wrote the Spanish newspaper. "Charles Leclerc was denied victory in Spain and Azerbaijan while leading in both races, and today it was Sainz who saw his chances of another podium finish and a strong World Championship finish crushed."

Crowd trouble mars Austrian GP weekend

On the accusations of inappropriate crowd behaviour, Bild wrote in no uncertain terms about the severity of the incidents. "Formula 1 has a discrimination scandal!" exclaimed the German newspaper. "Racist, homophobic and sexist statements are said to have been made in the grandstands around the race weekend in Austria. On social networks, the evidence is piling up." L’Equipe followed a similar line. "Several fans denounce in particular racist and homophobic insults, and some women say they have been victims of sexual harassment," wrote the French publication. Meanwhile, Marca ’s focus was instead on the fans who had cheered when Lewis Hamilton crashed his Mercedes during qualifying. "Unfortunately, the Orange Army supporting Max Verstappen regrettably celebrated the accident, which Hamilton walked away from without injury," wrote the Spanish newspaper. "The two pushed each other to the limit in last year's championship fight, and it appears there's still no love lost amongst the supporters and drivers, with Verstappen taking a dig at Hamilton earlier this week over their crash at Silverstone last season."

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