Austria, the Spielberg ring with beautiful mountainous and wooded surroundings. Last year this track brought victory to Rosberg who was behind Hamilton in the Championship. This year it’s the complete opposite!
Qualifying brought us a strange grid, Rosberg P6 and Vettel P9 with grid place penalties our top 3 consisted of Lewis in pole, Hulkenburg P2 and Button P3. Prior to the race Button showed his sheer delight with the P3 start but didn’t hold back in the fact they wouldn’t finish the race there. We also had Massa and Kvyat starting in the pits, Kvyat who had an awful crash in qualifying while Massa had an issue with his wing.
Warm up lap commences and all drivers take their starting place unless you are Wehrlein in the Manor who accidentally takes the wrong box. A bit of a panic among spectators as he reverses back to his place literally seconds before the race starts!
Race is on! Hamilton gets away quickly while Hulkenburg has a slow start leaving Button to take P2 and Raikkonen in P3. It already clear the Mclaren of Button is holding up the pace for the cars behind allowing Hamilton to gain time on his lead.
Lap 3 Poor Kvyat retires in the pits. Bad weekend for the Russian.
Lap 6 Hulkenburg is under attack by Verstappen and Rosberg who both overtake him with ease. Rosberg now P4 and Verstappen P5.
Finally on Lap 7 Raikkonen in P3 takes over Button now its time for the Ferrari of Raikkonen to hunt down Lewis.
By Lap 9 Rosberg is now P3 as Button starts dropping back through the grid. The Mclaren just can’t take the pace.
Mclaren are the team to pit both drivers first, Mercedes pit Rosberg on Lap 11 leaving Hamilton out.
It seems by this point of the race the ultra soft tyres are not working well and are deteriorating fast. Although Hamilton is still keeping a four second lead on these tyres.
Lap 13 we see a tyre kiss of Perez and Sainz,sparks flying. Hamilton’s tyres are now starting to give up but he is still going for it.
Lap 20 Ferrari and Hamilton are yet to pit, can these tyres hold it a bit longer? Rosberg is making up for lost time on his new tyres watch out Ferrari he is coming to get you both!
Then finally Hamilton pits on Lap 20 and manages to get out back in just behind Rosberg now in P3, ready to attack the men in red.
Raikkonen then pits unfortunately coming back out stuck behind two Red Bulls in P6, this is going to be his biggest challenge of the afternoon.
Vettel now leads but he needs to pit, those tyres must be exhausted by now!
Lap 27 and bang goes Vettel’s rear tyre he is out of the race leaving debris all over the track, Safety car is out.
Lap 31 – LET’S RACE!
Grosjean and Hulkenburg receive a 5 second penalty for speeding in the pit lane.
A 5 Second penalty is handed to Magnusson for swerving to avoid being over taken.
At this point its P1 Rosberg, P2 Hamilton, P3 Verstappen.
By Lap 40 we still have a tight grid with small drops of rain. Nasr is yet to pit for the whole race, how is he doing this?
Rosberg loses a little time on turn 1 in Lap 44 giving Hamilton to advantage to catch up, Hamilton is then warned to leave the kerbs alone his suspension is critical!
Sad day for Hulkenburg who did so well in qualifying now has bad vibration and may need to stop he pits and takes his 5 second penalty at the same time on Lap 50. At this point Button is in P6!
This is where it went from a good race to a shocking race!
Lap 54 its Hammertime! Hamilton pits for the second time and manages to get back out in P3 missing the scrap between Raikkonen P5 and Riccardo P4.
Lap 55 and Rosberg pits and gets back out in front of Hamilton.
Raikkonen overtakes Ricciardo finally to get P4 Ricciardo constantly fighting for his place back.
Lap 60 the top three can all be seen close together, Rosberg P1, Verstappen P2, Hamilton P3. Verstappen can’t hold it much longer and on Lap 63 Hamilton takes him.
A few retirements take place, Massa on Lap 65 followed by Alonso and Hulkenburg on Lap 66 have these guys just given up?
3 laps to go and its Mercedes Vs Mercedes – who let this happen!!
LAST LAP! And Hamilton is ready to take Rosberg, Rosberg having none of it tries to block him unfortunately at the same time hitting Hamilton’s car. Hamilton dives off track but manages to get back on and holds it. Rosberg has wing damage it’s actually under his car now and drags his car to the finish in P4. At the same time Perez seems to lose his steering and collides into a barrier. A nasty move by Rosberg cost him points and the podium, Hamilton wins.
Hamilton P1, Verstappen P2, Raikkonen P3.
There was a strange feeling as the race finished and the drivers parked up. It took a few retakes of the incident to see which Mercedes was to blame for this contact. The fans in Austria obviously haven’t seen the crash to analyse and boo Hamilton on the podium. Toto Wolff obviously furious over the incident calls it brainless as we could have easily seen a DNF for both Mercedes on the last lap.
We have seen this before its very much a Prost VS Senna moment.
Who seriously let this happen?! Keep Rosberg and Hamilton apart if it wasn’t for Vettel’s tyre he would have been sitting there in P2 breaking up this cat fight. Rosberg received a 10 second penalty which didn’t affect his P4 and 2 points on his driving licence; maybe he could take the speed awareness test instead?
Rosberg now only 11 points in front of Hamilton in the Championship. Both Ferraris of Raikkonen and Vettel on 96 points 46 points behind Hamilton.
Next race Silverstone, can Hamilton please his home crowd and take the Championship lead? Can Rosberg learn to play nicely and pipe it down? Only a 1 week gap this could get really interesting!!!!