SPIELBERG — Nico Rosberg won the Austrian Formula One Grand Prix for the second year in a row in a Mercedes one-two finish with team-mate Lewis Hamilton yesterday.
Hamilton’s overall championship lead was cut to 10 points, after eight of the 19 races, with the Briton starting on pole position but beaten crucially into the first corner by the determined German.
The victory was Rosberg’s third of the season, to Hamilton’s four, and left him on 159 points to his team-mate’s 169.
“I will try from now on,” grinned Rosberg when asked why he did not drive every race like that. “It’s an awesome feeling of course to win again here. The start made the race.
“It really worked out perfectly today.”
Any hopes of a thrilling chase to the end were dashed when the double world champion, who finished 3,8 seconds behind, collected a five-second penalty for a pit lane infringement on the 35th of the 71 laps.
“Nico did a fantastic job today. He was quicker during the race, I had a bad start which lost me ground,” said Hamilton in podium interviews conducted by former F1 racer Gerhard Berger. “I was pushing as hard as I could.”
Brazilian Felipe Massa finished a distant third for Mercedes-powered Williams after holding off Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, who had lost crucial seconds on his one pitstop when the wheel gun jammed on his right rear tyre.
“I just managed to keep the line and not make any mistake and just use a little bit of experience,” said Massa, who started on pole last year, after his 40th career podium.
Vettel’s team-mate Kimi Raikkonen and McLaren’s Fernando Alonso collided and crashed into the barriers at the second corner, bringing out the safety car for five laps as the wreckage was removed.
The McLaren ended up on top of the Ferrari, fortunately without hitting Raikkonen’s head or hands, and perched on the barriers.
Alonso, who had started on the back row of the grid after collecting a 25-place drop following engine and gearbox changes, said the collision with his former Ferrari team-mate had been a scary moment.
“The start was very good. Kimi had a lot of wheel spin out of turn two. We were overtaking him and he lost the car on the left. I was on the left. I could not see anything. I looked in the mirror and saw a car under my car,” he said.
“I jumped quickly to see he was OK. I saw he was so I was happy,” added the Spaniard, who waited for Raikkonen to get out of the car before they walked away together.
Williams’s Valtteri Bottas finished fifth, ahead of 2015 Le Mans 24 Hours winner Nico Hulkenberg in a Force India and Venezuelan Pastor Maldonado seventh for Lotus.
Max Verstappen, the 17-year-old Dutch rookie, was eighth for Toro Rosso after struggling to control his car on worn tyres at the end and Mexican Sergio Perez made it a double points finish for Force India.
Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo grabbed a consolation point for the unhappy hosts with 10th place on a cloudy day with occasional sunshine but none of the rain some had hoped for.
Only 14 cars finished the race, with both the Honda-powered McLarens out of action after just 10 laps in another dismal afternoon for the former champions. — Reuters