Mercedes AMG were again the winners of today's Austrian Grand Prix as Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton took the top spots on the podium. Valtteri Bottas finished third to finish a well deserved third.
Just before the start, ambient temperature was 22°C and track at 44°C, quite a bit warmer than during qualifying which could result in different tyre behaviour.
Romain Grosjean is starting from the pitlane, not taking up his 16th position from qualifying. A gearbox change overnight would mean he moved down 5 places anyway, so that team opted to start from the pitlane, allowing aerodynamic changes on the car before the race.
As the lights went out, Massa retained his pole position while Nico Rosberg moved up to second place into the first corner. Bottas though made the better exit out of that corner and soon took back his second place into turn 3.
Behind them, Alonso initially retained fourth, but 2 laps into the race found Hamilton passing him on the inside of turn 10. The Mercedes driver enjoyed a wonderful start immediately up 3 places before progressing further ahead into 4th, quickly eliminating the disadvantage he had over his team mate.
On lap 2, Vettel's car reverts to a crawl for about 1km before he reports "I got drive again, I didn't change anything". By that time however, the German was in the middle of the pack and one lap down.
By lap 5, the Williams duo are leading both Mercedes who follow closely. Alonso by that time is already 5 seconds down on the leader but another 5 seconds ahead of the next competitor, Kevin Magnussen. He is closely followed by Raikkonen, Hulkenberg, Kvyat, Riciardo, Perez and Button, before another 3 second gap to Sutil and Gutierrez. 15th is Vergne, ahead of Maldonado, Bianchi, Kobayashi, Ericsson, Chilton, Grosjean and Vettel.
Vergne is the first to pit, changing from Super Soft to Soft on lap 9. He is followed one lap later by Hulkenberg. Another lap later, Magnussen, Kvyat and Ricciardo pit simultaneously, seeing their relative positions unchanged. Kvyat though was released out of the stands into the path of Ricciardo.
Rosberg pitted on lap 12, allowing Hamilton to close the 1.5s gap to Bottas ahead before also pitting himself. Hamilton rejoins the track again behind Rosberg.
Massa pits on lap 15 and comes back on track in between the Mercedes cars. Hamilton though did not leave any opportunity pass by and soon passed Massa through turn 2. Bottas pitted another lap later, rejoining also between Rosberg and Hamilton, but contrary to his teammate the Finn is able to fend off Hamilton's passing attempt through turn 2.
All four previous leaders are however closely together as they are somewhat backed up by Sergio Perez who is leading, but running on the Soft set of tyres he started the race with.
30 minutes into the race it is announced that Gutierrez is handed a 10 seconds stop-and-go penalty for an unsafe release during his first stop. He was indeed released when the right rear wheel was not yet entirely fixed. The Mexican stopped in the pitlane, allowing the crew to pull him back and fix the issue, but it resulted in a penalty nonetheless.
On lap 26 Kvyat ends up crashing his car following a brake issue. His race is over after a nice drive through the gravel to park his car away from the racetrack.
On lap 27 Rosberg finally gets past Perez through turn 1 and Bottas immediately profits to also move up a spot. Hamilton then gets past Perez as well one lap later, also through turn 2.
On lap 30 Perez finally decided to pit, taking on another set of primes.
Another lap later, Vettel breaks his front wing in a attempt to get past Gutierrez, resulting in an unplanned pitstop for a new front wing and a new set of primes, along with an investigation by the stewards for causing a collision.
At the halfway mark, Rosberg, Bottas and Hamilton are still no more than one second apart from each other. Massa is 4th, 2 seconds down on Hamilton, followed by Alonso (+5.5s), Magnussen (+10.7s). Next up are Hulkenberg and Perez close to each other, ahead of Ricciardo and then Raikkonen in the final points scoring position.
On lap 37, Vettel is asked to come in to the pits to retire the car.
On lap 40 Hamilton is the first of the front runners to stop, rejoining in 5th place, just ahead of Magnussen and Perez. Rosberg pits one lap later, still ahead of Hamilton. Bottas does the same another lap later and is behind Hamilton when returning to the track.
On lap 43 Massa also pits while Hamilton posts a fastest lap to start closing the 2s gap to his team mate. The pitstops gave Alonso P1 until his stop for another set of primes on lap 47. The Spaniard returned to the track in 6th position.
After having preceded Massa since his stop, Perez pits for options on lap 56 and gets back on track in 8th place, 2 seconds ahead of Hulkenberg and Ricciardo. The stop also moved Alonso up again to 5th, 2.5 seconds down on Massa.
10 laps from the end, on lap 61, Vergne retires with brake problems. Lots of carbon brake dust are coming out of his left wheels for a number of laps already and it appears they finally gave up.
At the end, Hamilton still came close to Rosberg but failed to put in a serious passing attempt. Rosberg therefore won this Austrian Grand Prix, ahead of the second Mercedes of Hamilton and the two Williams cars.
|2||44||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||71||+1.9 secs||9||18|
|3||77||Valtteri Bottas||Williams-Mercedes||71||+8.1 secs||2||15|
|4||19||Felipe Massa||Williams-Mercedes||71||+17.3 secs||1||12|
|5||14||Fernando Alonso||Ferrari||71||+18.5 secs||4||10|
|6||11||Sergio Perez||Force India-Mercedes||71||+28.5 secs||15||8|
|7||20||Kevin Magnussen||McLaren-Mercedes||71||+32.0 secs||6||6|
|8||3||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull Racing-Renault||71||+43.5 secs||5||4|
|9||27||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India-Mercedes||71||+44.1 secs||10||2|
|10||7||Kimi Räikkönen||Ferrari||71||+47.7 secs||8||1|
|11||22||Jenson Button||McLaren-Mercedes||71||+50.9 secs||11|
|12||13||Pastor Maldonado||Lotus-Renault||70||+1 Lap||13|
|13||99||Adrian Sutil||Sauber-Ferrari||70||+1 Lap||16|
|14||8||Romain Grosjean||Lotus-Renault||70||+1 Lap||22|
|15||17||Jules Bianchi||Marussia-Ferrari||69||+2 Lap||18|
|16||10||Kamui Kobayashi||Caterham-Renault||69||+2 Lap||19|
|17||4||Max Chilton||Marussia-Ferrari||69||+2 Lap||21|
|18||9||Marcus Ericsson||Caterham-Renault||69||+2 Lap||20|
|19||21||Esteban Gutierrez||Sauber-Ferrari||69||+2 Lap||17|
|Ret||25||Jean-Eric Vergne||Str-Renault||59||+12 Lap||14|
|Ret||1||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Racing-Renault||34||+37 Laps||12|
|Ret||26||Daniil Kvyat||Str-Renault||24||+47 Laps||7|