Bottas beats Vettel in Austria, Hamilton finishes fourth
July 09 2017 11:21 PM
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Mercedes’ Finnish driver Valtteri Bottas celebrates after winning the Formula One Austria Grand Prix at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg, Austria, yesterday.

AFP/Spielberg, Austria

Valtteri Bottas roared to the second victory of his career yesterday when he won the Austrian Grand Prix for Mercedes ahead of championship leader Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari. The Finn, in his first season with Mercedes after replacing 2016 champion Nico Rosberg, came home 0.658 seconds clear of Vettel who increased his lead over Lewis Hamilton in the drivers championship to 20 points.
Hamilton, in the second Mercedes, did his utmost to grab a podium finish after starting from eighth on the grid, but had to settle for fourth behind Australian Daniel Ricciardo of Red Bull.
“I had a bit of déjà vu in the end to what happened in Russia when he was right behind me,” said Bottas, who is now 19 points behind Hamilton in third.
“In the last stint, I had a massive blister on the rear left tyre, so that made it quite tricky. And I think it was the start of my life! I was just really on it today.”
Vettel said: “I was struggling a bit in the first part and much happier in the second stint. The last laps were very close — I think I needed one more lap because he was struggling to get up the hill.”
For Ricciardo, on his team’s ‘home’ Red Bull Ring circuit, it was a fifth consecutive podium finish and the 22nd of his career.
The Australian smiled: “It was a fun race with some decisive moments at the start and then defending Lewis in the last laps. It got pretty close!”
Vettel now leads the drivers championship with 171 points ahead of Hamilton on 151 and Bottas on 136, while in the constructors title race Mercedes lead with 287 ahead of Ferrari on 254.
Kimi Raikkonen, the 2007 champion, came home fifth in the second Ferrari ahead of Romain Grosjean of Haas, the two Force Indias of Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon.
On a warm afternoon in the Styrian Alps more than 12,000 Dutch fans had descended on the Red Bull Ring to add a festive atmosphere.
As the lights went out, Bottas made a perfect start — so perfect that his rivals were soon protesting and suggesting he had ‘jumped’ — and pulled clear, while behind him, in a cloud of carnage and debris, the ‘orange army’ sighed as their teenage hero Max Verstappen was forced into retirement under their grandstand at the first corner.
The luckless Red Bull driver had struggled at the start, due to a clutch problem, and was then caught when Russian Daniil Kvyat drove his Toro Rosso into the McLaren of Fernando Alonso.
Alonso’s car suffered serious rear damage and he was helpless as he rammed into Verstappen’s car. He was also forced to retire, again, with an extravagant shrug. It was Verstappen’s fifth retirement in seven races.
Amid this mayhem, the voice of Sebastian Vettel was heard on Ferrari team radio. Given his escape from further Baku ‘road rage’ punishment in Paris last Monday, it was ironic to hear him call for the stewards to penalise the Finn, who made the most of his second pole.
A stewards’ investigation followed during the race and found there was no evidence against Bottas, who had settled into a strong rhythm at the head of the field.

RESULTS AND STANDINGS
Race 

 1. Valtteri Bottas (FIN/Mercedes) 1hr 21min 48.527sec, 2. Sebastian Vettel (GER/Ferrari) at 0.658sec, 3. Daniel Ricciardo (AUS/Red Bull) 6.012, 4. Lewis Hamilton (GBR/Mercedes) 7.430, 5. Kimi Räikkönen (FIN/Ferrari) 20.370, 6. Romain Grosjean (FRA/Haas) 1:13.160, 7. Sergio Pérez (MEX/Force India) 1 lap, 8. Esteban Ocon (FRA/Force India) 1 lap, 9. Felipe Massa (BRA/Williams) 1 lap, 10. Lance Stroll (CAN/Williams) 1 lap, 11. Jolyon Palmer (GBR/Renault) 1 lap, 12. Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL/McLaren) 1 lap, 13. Nico Hülkenberg (GER/Renault) 1 lap, 14. Pascal Wehrlein (GER/Sauber) 1 lap, 15. Marcus Ericsson (SWE/Sauber) 2 laps, 16. Daniil Kvyat (RUS/Toro Rosso) 3 laps
Drivers standings
 1. Sebastian Vettel (GER) 171 pts, 2. Lewis Hamilton (GBR) 151, 3. Valtteri Bottas (FIN) 136, 4. Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) 107, 5. Kimi Räikkönen (FIN) 83, 6. Sergio Pérez (MEX) 50, 7. Max Verstappen (NED) 45, 8. Esteban Ocon (FRA) 39, 9. Carlos Sainz Jr (ESP) 29, 10. Felipe Massa (BRA) 22, 11. Lance Stroll (CAN) 18, 12. Nico Hülkenberg (GER) 18, 13. Romain Grosjean (FRA) 18, 14. Kevin Magnussen (DEN) 11, 15. Pascal Wehrlein (GER) 5, 16. Daniil Kvyat (RUS) 4, 17. Fernando Alonso (ESP) 2
 
 Constructors standings
 1. Mercedes 287 pts, 2. Ferrari 254, 3. Red Bull 152
 4. Force India 89, 5. Williams 40, 6. Toro Rosso 33
 7. Haas 29, 8. Renault 18, 9. Sauber 5, 10. McLaren 2




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