Bottas fends off Vettel to win Austrian GP

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Valtteri Bottas has won the Austrian Grand Prix, head lead the race virtually from start to finish. It wasn't all that straightforward however, with Vettel threatening to pass in the closing stages. While the Ferrari driver settled for second, Daniel Ricciardo completes the podium after fending off Lewis Hamilton on a charge.

When the lights went out, Bottas veered off to take the lead from a perfect start. Vettel was unable to make any threat but still slotted into second, followed by Ricciardo. Grosjean made a great start to move up into 4th, ahead of Raikkonen.

Lewis Hamilton got ahead of both Force Indias on the start, but was passed through Turn 3 again by Perez.

Max Verstappen and Fernando Alonso both endured difficult starts and ended up retiring from the race at the end of lap 1. Alonso was quite bluntly bumped off by Kvyat, who in turn pushed off Verstappen. The latter had already suffered a very difficult getaway, but that didn't matter much anymore as damage to his car was too substantial to continue. Daniil Kvyat was later handed a drive-through penalty for causing that collision at Turn 1.

On lap 3, Raikkonen moved back up to 4th.

Williams meanwhile had reasons to smile, as after a very difficult Friday and Saturday, both drivers made great starts, resulting in Massa running 9th by lap 2. Lance Stroll wasa just behind him in 10th.

By lap 9, Hamilton had moved up into 5th, having passed Perez and Grosjean on lap 6 and lap 8 respectively.

There was little action, if any at all, in the next string of laps. Hamilton got to within a second of Raikkonen by lap 19, but then failed to get past him easily. The Mercedes driver repeatedly had a look, but it was nothing that could threaten Raikkonen.

On lap 32, Hamilton pitted and changed his super softs for a brand new set of ultra soft tyres. Raikkonen was subsequently told not to worry, and to continue as he was.

On lap 34, Ricciardo was the first to change ultra softs from qualifying to super softs. As Hamilton immediately recorded a lap that was 1.5s faster than Bottas, Vettel was also triggered to pit,

When Bottas pitted on lap 42, the front right tyre change was slightly slow, and the Finn emerged back out on track behind Raikkonen, and only 3 seconds ahead of Vettel. A fairly hefty drop from the 8 seconds he had in hand before the stops.

The other Mercedes, driven by Lewis Hamilton also didn't go all that well, with Hamilton unable to get closer to Ricciardo, and reporting he was struggling. However, about 15 laps from the end, his tyre issues seemed to disappear as more clouds covered the skies. Three subsequent fastest laps cut the deficit down to 1.3s.

Valtteri Bottas on the other hand also had to give it all as Vettel continued to sneak closer each lap. By lap 64, with 6 left to complete, the gap at the front had reduced to less than 2 seconds.

Both Vettel and Hamilton made into into the DRS range, and Hamilton briefly got ahead of Ricciardo before failing to make the move stick, so positions remained the same, even though tension was high, and tyres were throwing bits and pieces all over the track.

Results

Pos.No.DriverCarLapsTimePts
177Valtteri BottasMercedes AMG711:21:48.5230
25Sebastian VettelFerrari71+0.658s0
33Daniel RicciardoRed Bull Racing TAG Heuer71+6.012s0
444Lewis HamiltonMercedes AMG71+7.430s0
57Kimi RäikkönenFerrari71+20.370s0
68Romain GrosjeanHaas Ferrari71+73.160s0
711Sergio PerezForce India Mercedes70+1 lap0
831Esteban OconForce India Mercedes70+1 lap0
919Felipe MassaWilliams Mercedes70+1 lap0
1018Lance StrollWilliams Mercedes70+1 lap0
1130Jolyon PalmerRenault70+1 lap0
122Stoffel VandoorneMcLaren Honda70+1 lap0
1327Nico HulkenbergRenault70+1 lap0
1494Pascal WehrleinSauber Ferrari70+1 lap0
159Marcus EricssonSauber Ferrari69+2 laps0
1626Daniil KvyatToro Rosso68+3 laps0
NC55Carlos SainzToro Rosso44DNF0
NC20Kevin MagnussenHaas Ferrari29DNF0
NC14Fernando AlonsoMcLaren Honda1DNF0
NC33Max VerstappenRed Bull Racing TAG Heuer0DNF0