Bottas Edges Vettel to Win in Austria
SPIELBERG, Austria—R.I.S--Claiming that the start of Sunday’s Austrian Grand Prix at the Red Bull Ring was “The best start of my career,” Valterri Bottas evaded a late threat from series leader Sebastian Vettel to win the race by just under seven tenths of a second, giving the Finnish driver his second win of the season and his career. Daniel Ricciardo took third, his fifth consecutive podium appearance.
"I think that was the start of my life!" Bottas explained to emcee Martin Brundle. "I was just really on it today. It was good. I had a bit of a déjà vu in the end with what happened in Russia. He [Vettel] was catching up.”
Bottas controlled the race from the start and opened a gap which over Vettel was at just under eight seconds by lap 28. Bottas did manage to only lose the lead for one lap, giving Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen a temporary lead. But Bottas retained it on lap 45, and continued to lead. However, with a few laps to go, Bottas began to have extreme tire wear, and by lap 47, Vettel cut down the lead to only four seconds. But the Finn held on just to beat Vettel by just under one second, while Ricciardo just edged out Lewis Hamilton for third place. With Vettel in a good finishing spot more than Hamilton, the German now holds a 20-point lead over the Briton in the driver’s world championship, with next week’s British Grand Prix at Silverstone, Hamilton’s home race, coming on the agenda.
A handful of cars retired from the race, including Haas F1 Team’s Kevin Magnussen, who left the race on lap 30 with engine issues, after holding 11th place. On the opening lap, Dani Kvyat struck Fernando Alonso, who in turn ran into Max Verstappen, damaging his Red Bull heavily. Verstappen retired one lap later, which was the sixth of eight races this season that the Dutchman did not finish. Alonso retired at the same time, and Kvyat ended up being penalized with a stop/go infraction for his actions.
Hamilton ended up fourth, while Raikkonen encountered all sorts of technical difficulties to take fifth. Romain Grosjean gave the Haas F1 Team a good finish in sixth, while the Force India duo of Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon took seventh and eighth, respectively. Williams teammates Felipe Massa and Lance Stroll completed the top ten field with ninth and tenth.
"It's still a long year ahead," Bottas continued. "We're not even in the halfway of the year, so definitely I believe and the team believes and we are still developing. I'm just loving every moment and it's going to be good."
A 16 year veteran of writing formula one racing weekend race reports, features and team launches, Mark has worked for such companies as all-sports, e-sports, The Munich Eye newspaper in Germany, racingnation.com and Autoweek. A former member for this site four years ago, Mark now is a contributor for R.I.S.