Formula one headed to Spielberg for the 9th round of the championship. Vettel led the the way by 14 points after the controversy that had him crashing into the side of Lewis Hamilton. Vettel was not punished after the the European Grand Prix following a further hearing regarding the incident. Hamilton’s bad luck however continued as he received a 5 place grid penalty after a gearbox change. This meant that Valtteri Bottas was able to take pole position with Vettel in 2nd. Hamilton was 3rd but was demoted to 8th due to the penalty. Hamilton’s penalty put Räikönnen’s Ferrari into 3rd and and Grosjean’s Haas into 6th, which was a fabulous performance for Haas. Carlos Sainz lined up with in 10th for Toro Rosso with teammate Kvyat in 14th. The other Haas didn’t have a great Saturday however with Kevin Magnussen in 15th place.
The race began with Bottas getting a lightning quick start, Vettel complained about Bottas’ start, claiming it was a jump start. This was later investigated but no penalty was given to Bottas. Immediately there was drama into turn 1 with Kvyat’s Toro Rosso. Kvyat got a bad start, allowing Alonso to get past. Then Kvyat locked both tyres up into turn 1, he hit Alonso who then hit Verstappen in a domino effect. Both Vertsappen and Alonso retired from the race. Hamilton got a great start, quickly climbing up to 6th. Vettel was able to hold position in 2nd and Räikönnen had been overtaken by Riccardo at the start and he was down to 4th. Grosjean was running in 5th until lap 8 when he was passed by Hamilton. His teammate was running in 11th after avoiding lap 1 incidents; unlike the Toro Rossos. After poor starts from both Toro Rosso cars, Sainz ran in 15th and Kvyat ran in 18th.
Later on, both Massa and Ocon followed Hamilton by overtaking the Haas of Grosjean. On lap 30, Magnussen’s engine went up in smoke and he was out of the race. Then, we move onto lap 41. By this time, Grosjean was still 8th, Sainz had climbed to 10th and Kvyat was still in 17th. Räikönnen and Vettel were 2nd and 3rd respectively. Race leader Bottas made his pit stop. However, it was a slow stop which put Räikönnen into the lead on track. Bottas however was able to sail past into turn 4 on lap 44. Räikönnen made his stop a lap later putting him back to 5th. By the end of the pit stops, Vettel was in 2nd, Grosjean was in 7th and Sainz was in 13th but later retired with an engine failure. Kvyat was still last of the drivers still in the race in 17th.
So far, it hadn’t been a particularly interesting race until lap 70. With two laps to go Hamilton was closing on Riccardo and Vettel was closing on Bottas. Vettel was looking for the race win. Both Bottas and Riccardo were able to hold on meaning that Valtteri Bottas won the Austrian Grand Prix. Vettel brought his Ferrari home in 2nd and Riccardo in the Red Bull fended off Hamilton to get on the last place on the podium. Räikönnen came home in 5th with Grosjean finishing in a remarkable 6th place. Kvyat finished in 16th place as he was never able to recover from the first lap antics with Alonso and Vertsappen.
The Austrian Grand Prix was no where near as interesting as the European Grand Prix before hand, but it allowed for Sebastian Vettel to extend his lean at the top of the championship to 20 points. Kimi Räikönnen had another unremarkable race finishing in 5th. However Romain Grosjean had a fabulous race, finishing 6th with the Haas. Kevin Magnussen could have possibly made it a double points finish if it wasn’t for his engine failure. Then there was Toro Rosso. Daniil Kvyat has crashed again, possibly putting him out of favour with team owners (again.) Then there was bad luck for Carlos Sainz who had an unfortunate engine failure. Next time out, it is the British Grand Prix, where Sebastian Vettel has the opportunity to try and stop Hamilton from winning the race for the 4th time in a row.
- Author: Cameron Matthews