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article imageF1: Mercedes’ Rosberg and Hamilton triumph in Austrian Grand Prix

By Robert Myles     Jun 23, 2014 in Sports
Spielberg - Formula 1 motor-racing returned to Austria, Sunday, for the first time since 2003, when the Austrian Grand Prix was raced over the Red Bull Ring, Spielberg in Styria province in Austria’s south-east.
Mercedes' Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton were placed one and two but not before a resurgent Williams' team had mounted a stiff challenge with their Finnish driver Valtteri Bottas achieving his first ever podium finish in third place with Williams team-mate Felipe Massa following him in in fourth.
In a close-run race, just 18.5 seconds separated the first five cars home with Spain's Fernando Alonso in a Ferrari finishing fifth.
For many years known as the Österreichring, the Austrian race circuit was renamed the Red Bull Ring in 2011, in honour of the highly successful Austrian registered but UK based Red Bull Racing team.
But in Sunday’s race, Red Bull had a miserable day with four times world champion Sebastian Vettel retiring after 37 laps. Vettel’s Red Bull team-mate, Daniel Ricciardo fared better, finishing among the points in eighth position but all in all the day was one to forget for reigning constructors’ champions, Red Bull.
The Styrian Mountains provide a breathtaking backdrop to the track action at the Austrian Grand Prix...
The Styrian Mountains provide a breathtaking backdrop to the track action at the Austrian Grand Prix 2014.
By permission: Mercedes AMG Petronas F1
By one of these strange twists of fate, the last Grand Prix run over what was then called Spielberg’s A-1 Ring was won by Michael Schumacher in 2003. Schumacher recently left hospital in Grenoble, France where he had been in an induced coma for five months after sustaining head injuries in a skiing accident in the French Alps. Schumacher will continue what is expected to be a long rehabilitation and convalescence in Switzerland where he now lives.
In Saturday’s qualifying at the Red Bull Ring, the surprise had been the performance of the Williams team. Their two drivers, Valtteri Bottas and Brazilian Felipe Massa locked out the front row of the grid for Sunday’s start with Massa taking pole position. It marked the first time Williams F1 had started one and two in a Grand Prix since the 2003 German Grand Prix.
Williams were unable to maintain their places in the race itself as Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg, the eventual victor, taking control of the race from lap 38. It was the 17th consecutive time the German had finished among the points and Rosberg’s eighth consecutive podium finish: a consistency starting to emulate that for which his compatriot, Sebastian Vettel, was receiving the plaudits just a season ago.
Honours were shared between Rosberg’s team-mate, Brit, Lewis Hamilton and Williams’ Valtteri Bottas when it came to performances of the day.
In qualifying, Hamilton had his chances to start the main event in pole position but a couple of errors placed him way back in ninth on the grid. That didn’t stop Hamilton from gaining five places before on lap one, as he guided his Mercedes through the field moving up from ninth to fourth in the process.
Hamilton maintained his progress right to the finish ending up just 1.9 seconds adrift of Mercedes team-mate Rosberg at the chequered flag.
For Bottas, the Austrian Grand prix marked his first ever podium finish and continued a long record of success by Finnish drivers in Formula 1. Bottas became the seventh Finnish driver out of eight to have competed in Formula 1 and to have scored a podium place.
After the race, a joyful Bottas told NBC Sport, “Really really happy, difficult to put it into words really,” adding, “Just really thankful for the team, for giving me this car.
“It’s been a long wait for us since last year and many, many years at Williams, now it’s so much better. The race was exactly what we needed at this point: clean, nice, everything went like planned really.
“The car was good for podium this time, and I’m just so happy”.
Rob Smedley, Williams’ Head of Performance Engineering was more measured. After the race, Smedley commented, “I believe we got everything out of today that we could have done. It was a difficult race in terms of managing brakes, systems on the car and tyres, and that dictated what we could do with strategy. The two car crews did a great job to manage tyres and get us to the end of the race and both drivers drove a sensible race.”
And recognising the remarkable progress the Williams team have made over recent months, Smedley added, “Considering where the team was 12 months ago, to where we are today, everyone should be very proud of this result and enjoy this moment. Securing 27 points is a great result today”.
The result of the Austrian Grand Prix leaves Rosberg out in front in the drivers’ championship with 165 points, 29 ahead of team-mate Lewis Hamilton. Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo remains in third position despite finishing eighth in Austria.
In the constructors' championship, Mercedes victory in Austria means they're building something of a Kitzbühel Alp for their rivals to climb. They’ve now amassed 301 points, more than twice as many as second-placed Red Bull.
Next, Formula 1 moves to Lewis Hamilton’s home turf for the Formula 1 Santander British Grand Prix at Silverstone over the weekend of July 4-6. With Hamilton desperately needing a win to keep team-mate Nico Rosberg in his sights in the drivers’ championship, for British race fans Silverstone can’t come soon enough.
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