Rosberg outpaces Hamilton to win in Austria
Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg capped off a dominating weekend by leading home teammate and championship leader, Lewis Hamilton, to yet another one-two for the Silver Arrows in yesterday’s Austrian Grand Prix at the Red Bull Ring, with Williams’s Felipe Massa taking the last final step on the podium.
Despite a last minute mishap in qualifying and the deployment of the safety car on the opening lap following a crash between the Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen and McLaren’s Fernando Alonso, Rosberg’s jump from second on the grid saw him take the lead going into the first corner while Hamilton, who also picked-up a five-second penalty for crossing the white line at the end of the pit exit, seemingly never had an answer to the German’s pace throughout the 71 laps.
“It's an awesome feeling to win again here. The start made the race. It was a great start and I managed to defend in the first couple of corners. I was really happy with the car and to see the gap open up to Lewis,” a jubilant Rosberg told former F1 driver Gerhard Berger on the podium after the race.
“When you get in front after the start, it is really difficult because we have the same car so unless someone makes a mistake you can’t really get past. But I was very happy to have the race pace today because l needed to work on that last year and I’m pleased it is coming good”.
Speaking to the BBC, Hamilton stated that a faulty clutch was to blame for Rosberg getting ahead at the start, but admitted that German had the edge on him when it counted the most.
“I had a problem with the wait revs. I took my foot off the gas and it was still on - like the throttle was still on - and then I dumped the clutch and just (had) lots and lots of wheelspin,” Hamilton said.
“It's disappointing when the car just doesn't get off the line fast enough and there is nothing you can do about it on a track like this where you just can't overtake unless you're much faster. [But] Nico was quicker today. If I kept the position, I would have been able to maintain it, but that was out of my hands at the start”.
Having taken advantage from Rosberg going off on the last corner in the dying minutes of qualifying to take pole, Hamilton, who also spun on his final flying lap at turn one after touching the outside white line, had his attempts to regain the position back dashed following the accident that ended Alonso and Raikkonen’s involvement in the race.
Starting down in 14th after yet another poor qualifying, Raikkonen managed to get a clean start and was holding station until a sudden burst of power and lack of a grip from the still cold soft Pirelli tyres, send the Ferrari zig-zagging to the left on the run from the turn three Remus hairpin, smashing into McLaren which ended up on the red car’s nose as both skidded down the barrier.
Both drivers managed to walk away with Raikkonen later accepting blame for the crash. The accident ended yet a another miserable weekend for McLaren with Alonso’s teammate, Jenson Button, calling it quits on lap eight after mechanical problems.
With the race underway after a lengthy clean-up, the main focus shifted to the battle for third between Massa and Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel. Although able to match the Mercedes’ pace in qualifying, the four-time world champion’s hopes of challenging for the win came unstuck when a jammed wheelgun at his first stop, relegated him to fourth and unable to catch the Williams despite a quicker turn of pace.
Massa’s teammate Valtteri Bottas succeeded in holding off the Force India of Le Mans 24 hours winner Nico Hulkenberg to finish fifth, while Lotus driver Pastor Maldanado overcome a wild moment on the main straight to finish seventh ahead Toro Rosso rookie Max Verstapppen.
Although on home ground, former champions Red Bull could only a muster a single point’s paying finish with Daniel Ricciardo enduring yet another frustrating race to come home tenth behind the second Force India of Sergio Perez, while teammate Danill Kvyat crossed the line in 12th.
The next round sees the F1 circus making its way to Silverstone for the British Grand Prix on July 5th.
AUSTRIAN GRAND PRIX RESULTS
|6.||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India||+01:04.075|
|7.||Pastor Maldonado||Lotus||+1 Lap|
|8.||Max Verstappen||Toro Rosso||+1 Lap|
|9.||Sergio Perez||Force India||+1 Lap|
|10.||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull||+1 Lap|
|11.||Felipe Nasr||Suaber||+1 Lap|
|12.||Danill Kvyat||Red Bull||+1 Lap|
|13.||Marcus Ericsson||Sauber||+2 Lap|
|14.||Roberto Mehri||Manor||+3 Lap|
|DNF||Romain Grosjean||Lotus||35 laps, gearbox|
|DNF||Carlos Sainz Jr||Toro Rosso||35 laps, powerunit|
|DNF||Jenson Button||McLaren||8 laps, powerunit|
|DNF||Will Stevens||Manor||1 lap, oil leak|
|DNF||Fernando Alonso||McLaren||lap, accident|
|DNF||Kimi Raikkonen||Ferrari||lap, accident|
|7.||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull||36|
|8.||Danill Kvyat||Red Bull||19|
|9.||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India||18|
|12.||Sergio Perez||Force India||13|
|14.||Max Verstappen||Toro Rosso||10|
|15.||Carlos Sainz Jr||Toro Rosso||9|
IMAGE sourced from live.autosport.com
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