Valtteri Bottas bagged his second F1 win with victory in the Austrian GP ahead of Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo. Hamilton, finishing fourth, made the best of a bad situation. Damage limitation very much the aim of the game on the Hamilton side of the garage this time out at the Red Bull Ring.
Courtesy of his second place, Vettel has extended his lead of the world championship to 20 points after Lewis Hamilton was unable to find a way past Ricciardo for the final podium position in the last few laps.
After the hectic and rather entertaining Azerbaijan GP the Austrian GP reverted back to the norm we are used to. In that, the race was largely uneventful. The first corner provided the usual carnage with Kyvat forgetting which peddle works the brake – taking out both Max Verstappen and Fernando Alonso – much to the disappointment of the 10,000 strong Dutch fans at Austria to see Max.
After Bottas beat the title leader to pole position by less than a tenth of a second on Saturday, less than a second separated their two cars when they crossed the finishing line in the Austrian mountains. The scenery equally as special as the racing itself.
Having survived a lengthy investigation from the stewards over an alleged jump start, Bottas had built up a substantial lead through the opening stint.
Later told that Bottas’ reaction time off the line was measured at 0.201 of a second, a thousandth above the threshold for a penalty, Vettel responded: “I don’t believe that.”
Bottas will take the plaudits, and rightly so. Ultimately a pole to lights to flag race weekend – And it doesn’t get much better than that. With the talk of the title race between Hamilton and Vettel did Bottas just make the biggest statement of the year so far? After all, with the gap between the two Mercedes team-mates reduced to 15 points, Bottas is now closer to Hamilton in the championship standings than Hamilton is to Vettel.
Eyes, 120,000 of them in fact, now turn to Hamilton at his home race, Silverstone. Team LH will need to respond after a difficult couple of races that have seen him drop points through no fault of his own. After the brilliance of Bottas at the Austrian GP Hamilton may need to look over his shoulder at a silver arrow rather than the prancing horse in front.
Austrian GP Race Result
1. Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes
2. Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari
3. Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull
4. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes
5. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari
6. Romain Grosjean, Haas
7. Sergio Perez, Force India
8. Esteban Ocon, Force India
9. Felipe Massa, Williams
10. Lance Stroll, Williams
11. Jolyon Palmer, Renault
12. Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren
13. Nico Hulkenberg, Renault
14. Pascal Wehrlein, Sauber
15. Marcus Ericsson, Sauber
16. Daniil Kvyat, Toro Rosso
Did Not Finish: Carlos Sainz, Kevin Magnussen, Fernando Alonso, Max Verstappen