Lewis Hamilton dominated the Styrian Grand Prix from start to finish to take his first win of the season. Valtteri Bottas passed Verstappen for second in the closing stages, making for a perfect result for Mercedes AMG F1.
The start of the race rapidly ended up in a disaster for Ferrari, as if the car's performance wasn't bad enough already. After a trouble free getaway for everyone, including Grosjean, who started from the pits after the Haas team worked on his car overnight, Leclerc and Vettel tangled up into Turn 3.
Vettel, who was seemingly taking it easy into Turn 3 in the middle of the pack was mounted by Charles Leclerc, as the latter saw a decreasing gap on the inside of Vettel, which really wasn't an opportunity. As debris flew all over the place, the incident triggered a 3-lap safety car period during which Vettel retired in the pits, and Leclerc got new hard tyres.. The damage to his car's floor was however so extensive that he too retired from the race on lap 5.
The restart didn't bring a lot of surprises. Hamilton maintained his advantage in the lead, followed by Verstappen, Sainz, Bottas, Albon and both Renaults. Carlos Sainz soon appeared unable to keep up with the pace at the front, as he got passed by Bottas and Albon in the next few laps. By lap 11, he ended up being the leader of a train, including Ocon, Ricciardo, Gasly, Stroll, Norris and Perez.
As the top three rapidly pulled away from the rest of the field, Sainz got some breathing space as behind him, Ricciardo repeatedly attacked his Renault team mate Ocon, until he eventually managed to make a pass stick on lap 19. Ricciardo at the time was the only driver in the top 10 to run on medium tyres as everybody else had soft Pirellis.
On lap 24, Verstappen turned into the pitlane to get a new set of medium compound Pirelli tyres. He rejoined the track still 3s up the road of Albon. Three laps later, Hamilton pitted and returned to the track 4s ahead of Verstappen.
Bottas pitted another 7 laps later to return back to his third position.
All the action happened behind, with Perez after his stop lighting up the timing screens. After passing Sainz, the Racing Point driver went on to quickly get past Stroll at Turn 4, followed by another swift move past Ricciardo.
Next up, he strung a number of fastest laps to close the gap to fourth placed Albon. That chase seemed easy, but once in DRS range, Perez had trouble get actually make it past the Red Bull.
Further bad news for Red Bull came towards the end of the race, as also Verstappen got company, as Bottas realed in the Dutchman after a number of strong laps. The Mercedes got ahead in Turn 4 of lap 66, only to be passed again by Verstappen in the quick left handers that followed.
The next lap, Bottas seemed to have an even better drive out of Turn 3 and was so much faster than Verstappen had no chance to get back past. Another lap later, Verstappen returned to the pits to change to softs and try to have a go for fastest lap - an attempt that would fail, as Sainz bagged that trophy.
In the penultimate lap, Perez touched with Albon and broke his front wing. Behind them, Stroll got past Ricciardo, but Norris did as well, and he also took Stroll half a lap later.
In a crazy last lap, Perez struggled to keep his car on the track, and saw Norris get past to get 5th, making for another brilliant result for the McLaren driver, after nailing a final-lap podium finish last week.
|1||44||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes AMG||71||1:22:50.683||25|
|2||77||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes AMG||71||+13.719s||18|
|3||33||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing Honda||71||+33.698s||15|
|4||23||Alexander Albon||Red Bull Racing Honda||71||+44.400s||12|
|5||4||Lando Norris||McLaren Renault||71||+61.470s||10|
|6||11||Sergio Perez||Racing Point BWT Mercedes||71||+62.387s||8|
|7||18||Lance Stroll||Racing Point BWT Mercedes||71||+62.453s||6|
|9||55||Carlos Sainz||McLaren Renault||70||+1 lap||3*|
|10||26||Daniil Kvyat||AlphaTauri Honda||70||+1 lap||1|
|11||7||Kimi Räikkönen||Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari||70||+1 lap||0|
|12||20||Kevin Magnussen||Haas Ferrari||70||+1 lap||0|
|13||8||Romain Grosjean||Haas Ferrari||70||+1 lap||0|
|14||99||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari||70||+1 lap||0|
|15||10||Pierre Gasly||AlphaTauri Honda||70||+1 lap||0|
|16||63||George Russell||Williams Mercedes||69||+2 laps||0|
|17||6||Nicholas Latifi||Williams Mercedes||69||+2 laps||0|