Bottas clings on to take victory in the Austrian Grand Prix

Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, Austrian Grand Prix
© XPB 

Valtteri Bottas clinched his second win of the season for Mercedes, fighting off Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel in a close-fought battle to the line.

Bottas was only briefly out of the lead for three laps after making his sole pit stop of the afternoon. He finished the race just 0.658s ahead of Vettel, who was himself never under real pressure for second.

Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo held onto the final podium position despite an impressive late charge from Lewis Hamilton. The Mercedes driver had started the race from eighth after being handed a five-place grid penalty for an early gearbox change.

Hamilton was able to jump the Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen with an early pit stop. He also passed Haas' Romain Grosjean and Force India's Sergio Perez early in the race. However, fourth place was as far as his damage limitation effort could take him today.

At the front, Bottas had got a lightning start from pole position to go into the first corner ahead of Vettel and Ricciardo. Further back, Hamilton had also got a good start and briefly found himself up to sixth place from eighth on the grid. However, as the only car in the top ten on supersofts, Hamilton found himself vulnerable to an immediate counter-attack by Perez. It wasn't for another six laps that the different compounds achieved relative parity and Hamilton started moving forward.

By contrast Max Verstappen had got a poor start, struggling to get off the grid in the Red Bull. Even worse was Toro Rosso's Daniil Kvyat who was immediately passed by Fernando Alonso. The Russian tried to fight back but ended up going into the side of the McLaren, which shoved Alonso into Verstappen on the outside. Verstappen was forced to retire because of the damage, while Alonso made it back to pit lane where he was told to park. Kvyat was able to continue after repairs, but was handed a drive-thru penalty for causing a collision.

No safety care was required for the incident, and Bottas was able to put his head down at the front. He proceeded to pull out a seven strong lead over Vettel during the first third of the race. Bottas was among those soon reporting blistering on his tyres, but it was Hamilton who was first to pit on lap 32 for a set of ultras.

Wary of the undercut, Ferrari opted to keep Raikkonen out. In contrast, Red Bull reacted by bringing Ricciardo in two laps later. Vettel, Perez and Grosjean were the next dominoes to tip over, but Bottas stayed out until lap 41 before pitting. That briefly handed the lead to Raikkonen, but the ageing tyres on the Ferrari took their toll and Bottas was back in front three laps later.

Raikkonen finally made his deferred pit stop shortly thereafter. As predicted, he did indeed lose a spot to Hamilton as a result. However, Hamilton himself was far from happy with his new set of ultras complaining that "The rear end doesn't feel good." He later added: "I've got far too much front wing." Despite the risk of Raikkonen catching up, Mercedes opted to keep Hamilton out on track.

Having opted to start the race on the hardest compound available, Felipe Massa had climbed to sixth place by lap 48 when he pitted for new ultras. He came back out in ninth place just behind the two Force Indias and ahead of his team mate Lance Stroll. It was an impressive display after the pair had started the race from 17th and 18th respectively.

Bottas continued a lead the race, although his advantage over Vettel was half what it had been before the pit stops. The Finn's campaign was helped by Vettel struggling to lap Perez in the closing laps. Ricciardo was some distance back in third and came under late pressure from Hamilton, who by now had overcome his earlier tyre discomfort. Hamilton himself was under no threat from Raikkonen, who had fallen over ten seconds off the back of the Mercedes by the finish.

Grosjean in sixth place was the final car on the lead lap. Force India team mates Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon held on to seventh and eighth ahead of Massa and Stroll. Renault's Jolyon Palmer just missed out on points in 11th. McLaren's Stoffel Vandoorne finished in 12th after being given a drive-thru for failing to respect blue laps.

Nico Hulkenberg was 13th in the second Renault ahead of Pascael Wehrlein, who has started the race from the pit lane after overnight work on his Sauber. His team mate Marcus Ericsson was 15th, with Kvyat ending his turbulent race in last place in 16th.

After Verstappen and Alonso's early exit at the start of the race, Kevin Magnussen had been the next retiree on lap 30 when the power steering failed on the Haas. Carlos Sainz had been labouring with technical issues from the start of the race, and was finally ordered to bring the Toro Rosso into the pits on lap 46 for his third DNF of the season.

Austrian Grand Prix - Race results

Pos Driver Team Gap Stops
1 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 71 laps - 1:21:48.523s 2
2 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari + 0.658s 2
3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull + 6.012s 2
4 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes + 7.430s 2
5 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari + 20.370s 2
6 Romain Grosjean Haas + 73.160s 2
7 Sergio Pérez Force India + 1 lap 2
8 Esteban Ocon Force India + 1 lap 2
9 Felipe Massa Williams + 1 lap 2
10 Lance Stroll Williams + 1 lap 2
11 Jolyon Palmer Renault + 1 lap 2
12 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren + 1 lap 3
13 Nico Hülkenberg Renault + 1 lap 2
14 Pascal Wehrlein Sauber + 1 lap 2
15 Marcus Ericsson Sauber + 2 laps 2
16 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso + 3 laps 4
17 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso DNF 2
18 Kevin Magnussen Haas DNF 1
19 Fernando Alonso McLaren DNF 1
20 Max Verstappen Red Bull DNF 1

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