The Austrian GP took place on Sunday as 20 pilots competed for round 9 of the 2017 Formula 1 season on a track situated between the Styrian mountains of Spielberg.

Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas fended off charging Sebastian Vettel to register his second win of the season. Daniel Ricciardo finished third ahead of Hamilton, scoring Red Bull’s second podium at their home track.

What was the qualifying classification? Valtteri Bottas scored pole after putting a fantastic lap in qualifying. Championship leader Sebastian Vettel qualified second followed by Hamilton, Raikkonen, Ricciardo and Verstappen. Hamilton though, was forced to start from 8th after a 5 place grid penalty for a gear box change.

Drama at first lap

Ricciardo and Grosjean were the gainers at lap 1, overtaking Raikkonen for 3rd and 4th, respectively. Kvyat locked up going into turn 1, hitting the rear of Alonso who then spun and took out Verstappen.  Only Kvyat was able to continue and was served with a go through penalty. Both the Williams gained through this incident and were running in point scoring positions behind Force India’s Ocon and Perez. All four drivers hold on to their position till the end.

How the race unfolded?

Raikkonen took his place back from Grosjean while Hamilton was right behind the Raikkonen’s Ferrari by lap 8. Hamilton started on supersoft tyre which was harder and durable as compared to the cars ahead of him. The Brit was the first of the front runners to pit, putting on the ultrasoft tyre on lap 31 to undercut Raikkonen. Ferrari first decided to respond to Mercedes but latter kept Raikkonen out. Vettel, Ricciardo and Bottas all pitted to switch to supersoft, giving the lead to Raikkonen who was still on his first stint. Ferrari wanted Raikkonen to hold off Bottas but the Mercedes driver wasted no time to overtake his fellow Finn. Raikkonen pitted on lap 44 and came out behind Hamilton, as the undercut worked for Mercedes. Clearly, Ferrari compromised Raikkonen’s race and used him to close the gap between Vettel and Bottas, it didn’t work out though. The race came alive in the latter stages as Bottas started to struggle during his second stint due to blistering on his tyre. Vettel who was, at a moment, 6 secs behind Bottas put on series of excellent laps and got himself within the DRS range. In the end, the former Williams driver managed to hold off the prancing horse and finished just 0.6 secs ahead of the German. There was another fascinating battle during the dying moments of the race when Lewis Hamilton was right behind 3rd place Daniel Ricciardo. On the second last lap, Hamilton tried to go from the outside at turn 4, but the Australian braked perfectly to hold on to his position from a much faster Mercedes and finally finished 3rd.

Did Vettel complain about anything?

Yes he did. Just after the start Vettel came on the radio and alleged Bottas of doing a jump start. After investigation, it was found that Bottas’ reaction time was just 0.201 secs and the Finn’s start was deemed legal by stewards. Vettel disagreed about it even after the race and said, “Don’t believe it”.

Contrasting fortunes for the Red Bull drivers

Daniel Ricciardo followed his Azerbaijan victory with another podium finish, scoring his 5th podiums in as many races. On the other side, teammate Verstappen had another DNF, his 5th in 9 races. Verstappen sits 6th in the drivers, even below Force India’s Sergio Perez.

Haas looked competitive

Romain Grosjean finished at a solid sixth position while Kevin Magnussen was good until his engine blew up. After such a performance, the midfield battle has really spiced up, with all Williams, Force India and Hass looking evenly matched.

What are the consequences of the race?

Vettel extended his championship lead to 20 points from Hamilton while race winner Bottas closed the gap between him and his teammate to 15. In the Constructors’ championship, Mercedes have extended their lead to 33 points from Ferrari.

As far as the drivers’ championship is concerned, it is a three way fight between Vettel, Hamilton and Bottas. The Mercedes drivers are on their own but the German certainly has an assistant for him.

Key stats of the race:

Total overtakes- 51 (5 with DRS)

Fastest Lap- Lewis Hamilton (1:07.411)

Fastest Pit lane times- Lewis Hamilton (20.7s)

Longest stint- Felipe Massa (47 laps on soft tyres)

                                                                                         Featured image belongs to grandprix.com

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