Bottas dominates in Austriaposted in F109 | 07 | 2017

    VALTTERI BOTTAS DOMINATED the Austrian Grand Prix in his Mercedes to win the second Formula 1 race of his career. The Finn, who started from pole position, held off the late-charging Ferrari of world championship leader Sebastian Vettel. The German’s second place helped him extend his advantage over closest rival, Lewis Hamilton, to 20 points. Bottas is now only 15 points adrift in third.

    Hamilton, who qualified third-fastest but started from eighth after a five-place grid penalty for a gearbox change on his Mercedes, battled back to finish fourth, tucked up behind the gearbox of Daniel Ricciardo’s Red Bull. It was the Aussie’s his fifth podium in a row.

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    Bottas made a blistering start from pole; indeed, so quick was it that both Vettel and Ricciardo questioned whether the Finn had jumped the start. Stewards analysed the figures and, 20 laps later — when he led Vettel by 7.6s — deemed it within the reaction times; he was off the start line 0.2s after the lights changed.

    The Mercedes driver opted to run a long first stint, eventually pitting on lap 41 of 71 and emerging with a reduced lead of just 2.5. Despite Vettel closing in ver the final few laps, the positions remains unchanged.

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    Ricciardo, meanwhile, was aggressive straight from the start, attacking the Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen into Turn 1. The attack continued all the way up the hill to Turn 3 before he edged ahead of the Finn. Raikkonen then ran wide, allowing the Haas of Romain Grosjean to also pass him. Two laps later, the Ferrari finally muscled its way past Grosjean.

    Raikkonen ran the longest first stint of any driver, pitting on lap 44, but emerged behind the Mercedes of Hamilton.

    The three-time world champ had immediately moved one place ahead when the Red Bull of Max Verstappen struggled to get off the line.

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    Hamilton then eased his way past Sergio Perez's Force India and Grosjean in the opening stint, before spending much of his second stint complaining about his switch from super-softs to ultra-softs.

    Despite that, with three laps to go he had hauled himself within DRS of Ricciardo, but despite one mistake by the Red Bull driver he was unable to capitalise on the opportunity.

    Raikkonen completed the top five, ahead of Grosjean, who took his best finish of the season in sixth. Perez led his Force India team-mate Esteban Ocon home in seventh and eighth, ahead of the Williams duo of Felipe Massa and Lance Stroll, who completed the top 10.

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    The pair battle through from a disappointing 17th and 18th on the grid after a miserable qualifying.

    But their quest was unquestionably assisted by a first-lap incident, when the slow-starting Verstappen was collected at Turn 1 by Fernando Alonso, whose McLaren had been rear-ended by Daniil Kvyat, who outbraved himself. Not surprisingly, the Russian received a drive-through penalty for causing the collision, which forced both Verstappen and Alonso out of the race.

    The only other retirements were Kevin Magnussen, who complained of no power steering, and Carlos Sainz Jr.

    F1 — Austrian Grand Prix, Red Bull Ring (Result):

    1. Valtteri Bottas FIN Mercedes - Mercedes 71 laps, 1m 21m 48.527s

    2. Sebastian Vettel GER Ferrari - Ferrari +0.658s

    3. Daniel Ricciardo AUS Red Bull - TAG +6.012s

    4. Lewis Hamilton GBR Mercedes - Mercedes +7.430s

    5. Kimi Raikkonen FIN Ferrari - Ferrari +20.370s

    6. Romain Grosjean FRA Haas-Ferrari +1m 13.160s

    7. Sergio Perez MEX Force India-Mercedes +1 lap

    8. Esteban Ocon FRA Force India-Mercedes +1 lap

    9. Felipe Massa BRA Williams - Mercedes +1 lap

    10. Lance Stroll CAN Williams - Mercedes +1 lap

    11. Jolyon Palmer GBR Renault - Renault +1 lap

    12. Stoffel Vandoorne BEL McLaren-Honda +1 lap

    13. Nico Hulkenberg GER Renault - Renault +1 lap

    14. Pascal Wehrlein GER Sauber - Ferrari +1 lap

    15. Marcus Ericsson SWE Sauber - Ferrari +2 laps

    16. Daniil Kvyat RUS Toro Rosso-Renault +3 laps

    Retired:

    Carlos Sainz ESP Toro Rosso-Renault 44 laps completed

    Kevin Magnussen DEN Haas-Ferrari 29 laps completed

    Fernando Alonso ESP McLaren-Honda 1 lap completed

    Max Verstappen NED Red Bull - TAG 0 laps completed

    Related: Ricciardo wins chaotic Azerbaijan GP

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    Jim McGill

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