Rosberg victorious as Red Bull falter at home

Nico Rosberg has extended his lead in the drivers championship following his third win of the season. He beat team-mate Lewis Hamilton, who raced through from ninth, to go 29 points clear at the top of the table. Williams’ driver Valtteri Bottas finished third, having started with a front-row lockout with Felipe Massa on pole position for the first Austrian Grand Prix since 2003.

Williams became the first team other than Mercedes to start from pole position, when Massa took his first pole since Brazil 2008. Rosberg was the highest placed Mercedes driver in third place with Hamilton in ninth after he had one of his lap-times deleted for exceeding the track limits at Turn 8. He then proceeded to spin on his final run, qualifying tenth but promoted to ninth when Nico Hulkenberg also had his lap-time deleted. Fernando Alonso qualified a positive fourth for Ferrari with Canada winner Daniel Ricciardo in fifth. Kevin Magnussen and Daniil Kvyat – both of whom raced at the Red Bull Ring last year in their respective series – both qualified in the top ten in sixth and seventh. Also in the top ten was Kimi Raikkonen. At the start of the race Massa maintained his lead as Bottas briefly lost second to Rosberg. Fast starting Hamilton wasted no time in gaining positions, running as high as fifth by the end of the first lap.

On the return to the recently rebranded Red Bull Ring, hopes were high for the Red Bull Racing and Toro Rosso teams. Following a double podium for Red Bull last time out – including a first F1 win for Ricciardo – the Austrian team made small gains into Mercedes’ lead after Hamilton’s retirement. Things took a turn for the team in Austria however as Sebastian Vettel was forced to retire his car, along with both Toro Rossos. Vettel lost drive early on and dropped to the back of the field, eventually bringing his car to a stop beside an escape road. The car quickly recovered drive and he was able to continue albeit a lap down. He later made contact with Esteban Gutierrez and had to pit for a new nose. He retired the car on lap 34. Kvyat, who impressed to take his highest ever F1 qualifying position, retired with suspension failure. The third and final retirement from the race was Kvyat’s team-mate Jean-Eric Vergne, who retired due to brake problems.

While Alonso enjoyed a race towards the front of the pack, eventually finishing in fifth, Raikkonen suffered with brake problems and a lack of power, after being told to cool and look after the brakes from as early as the second lap. He managed to snatch a point – finishing just over three seconds clear of Jenson Button in 11th. Elsewhere in the points, Sergio Perez vindicated himself after the five place grid penalty he received following his collision with Massa in Canada was upheld. He had a strong race to fight through from 15th on the grid to finish in sixth place, around 15 seconds ahead of team-mate Nico Hulkenberg who took his eighth points finish of the year. Ricciardo pulled off a late move on Hulkenberg to take eighth, while Magnussen finished in seventh, taking home some solid points.

It may have been another 1-2 finish for the Mercedes team, but there were signs that other teams can take the fight to them. Williams were strong, but poor pit-stop decisions may have cost them in the race. While previous races have seen the Silver Arrows finish well clear of the pack, Bottas was just eight seconds off the leader in a race in which there were no safety cars. In turn, Alonso was just under a second behind Massa by the chequered flag.

The next race is the British Grand Prix in two weeks time. It marks the 50th time that the British Grand Prix has been held at Silverstone so there are many events planned to mark the occasion.

 

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