Red Bull’s Max Verstappen has taken the teams first win at their home Austrian Grand Prix, after a dramatic afternoon which saw both Mercedes retire from the race after reliability problems. The Dutchman took the lead after Mercedes made an error with Lewis Hamilton’s pit stop.
Hamilton had been leading the race when the virtual safety car was deployed as his teammate Valtteri Bottas retired, the team failed to bring him in for his second stop. Bottas’s retirement had allowed Hamilton to jump him early on as he slowed down with a loss of hydraulic power.
Its Mercedes first double retirement because of mechanical issues since 1955, and the teams first engine retirement since the 2016 Malaysian Grand Prix. Hamilton will hope that this failure won’t impact the rest of his season.
Hamilton told Sky Sports “here are things you can do. You can decide to stay out but the guys on the pit wall, you have to put 100 per cent faith in. You can’t see much when you’re out on the track. All you can see is the guy in front and the guy behind.
“We’ve got to understand how we went wrong at both ends. Ultimately, we have to take positives where we can. We were the quickest. We’ve got to keep working hard.”
Verstappen then got ahead of Hamilton when He made a late stop before his retirement. The Dutchman then began to control the race, allowing the team to take the win, building the lead over Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen.
Verstappen can claim that was a win on merit, as they had been very close to the top two teams all weekend, they capitalised on the Mercedes errors during the stops. The Red Bull had a sixteen second lead at Hamilton stop, allowing them to match the Mercedes.
Verstappen was six seconds clear of the Ferraris with 20 laps to go, but he began to run into the same blistering problem. Raikkonen then began to cut that led getting it down to one and a half seconds.
Hamilton’s championship rival Sebastian Vettel was unable to make gains from his rival’s retirement. However, his third place allowed him to retake the lead by a point over the Englishman, but more crucially Ferrari didn’t repeat the switch between the two, which allowed Vettel to extend that lead.
After qualifying, the German was awarded a grid penalty but passed Hamilton on merit has he struggled with tyre life. Hamilton was forced to stop again, then looked as if he could have taken fourth.
Verstappen said: “It was really hard to manage the tyres. We had to manage them and hang on. I need to catch up with the points. It was a good day for me and I just hope we can continue like this.”
Vettel said: “We were chasing him down at the end but couldn’t quite make it. The pace was good, the tyre management was good. Positive day.”
It was another strong weekend and race for Haas, the US team had looked strong and the best of the rest with Romain Grosjean fourth and Kevin Magnussen fifth. The teams best result since they entered the sport in 2016, and the Frenchman’s first points of the season.
However, the Dane did lose out at the start but benefited from Bottas’s retirement by not stopping under the VSC to finish fifth behind Grosjean. The team had looked strong all weekend and looked to be competitive all weekend finishing ahead of both Force India’s.
Alonso finished eighth behind both Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez. The Spaniard started the race from the pit lane, after refusing to run the race at the back, he used a long second stint to charge into the points. It was a good recovery from Force India who started eleventh and sixteenth.
Another benefactor from the Mercedes double retirements was Sauber, with Charles Leclerc ninth and Marcus Ericsson tenth. The teams first double points finish since Shanghai in 2015. Ericsson ran an extremely long second stint on softs and then charged through the field on Supersofts.
Renault also suffered an engine failure, with Nico Hulkenberg stopping in plums of smoke.
- Notebook – Austrian Qualifying
- AUSTRIAN GP – Qualifying Result
- AUSTRIAN GP – Bottas narrowly out qualifies Hamilton in another close session between Mercedes
- Notebook – Austrian Practice
- AUSTRIAN GP – Hamilton tops FP2 by a tenth over teammate Bottas
- AUSTRIAN GP – Hamilton fastest by a tenth in first practice over Bottas
- Prixview – Austrian Grand Prix