Botched start by Verstappen left Marko defeated

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Red Bull motorsport boss Helmut Marko was convinced Max Verstappen's chances of winning the Austrian Grand Prix were squandered at the outset after the Dutchman's botched start to his race.

Verstappen lined up on the front row of Sunday's grid alongside Ferrari's Charles Leclerc, but the Red Bull charger's RB15 went into anti-stall mode when the lights went out, dropping its driver down the order as the field got underway.

After completing the opening lap in seventh position, Verstappen put his head down and slowly ticked off his rivals during his opening 31-lap stint.

"First the disappointment after the start, I thought 'Oh no, it's over'," Marko said. "And then slowly Max woke up and the last few laps were unbelievable fireworks of brilliant driving.

"Honda gave us all the power they had for the last 30 laps, the tyres were staying together and we have a fantastic chassis.

"This win is far more exciting than if he would have just done a proper start and just overtook one for the win."

After the checkered flag had dropped on Verstappen's sixth career win, three hours of uncertainty followed as the stewards pondered the winner's actions against Leclerc in the closing stages of the race.

However, Red Bull team boss Christian Horner says it would been "incomprehensible" for the FIA stewards to rule against the Dutchman.

"We were completely convinced that it was okay," Horner said. "And then of course it goes to the stewards and then at that point you don't know.

"But I think Tom Kristensen and the stewards who are up there have made absolutely the right choice.

"One day it will go against us, but it was fair racing, it was hard racing and it is what F1 should be.

"It is incomprehensible to think that they would have changed the podium after a race like that. That was just the tonic that F1 needed for a fantastic race."

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