Bottas fends off Vettel to score second F1 victory

Valtteri Bottas fended off the challenge against Sebastian Vettel to score his second Formula 1 victory in the Austrian Grand Prix.

Mercedes driver Bottas resisted the late attack from the Ferrari to secure the win by just six tenths of a second.

Vettel has extended his championship lead to 20 points over Lewis Hamilton, who recovered well from eighth on the grid after his gearbox-change penalty but was denied a podium by Daniel Ricciardo.

Bottas made a lightning getaway from pole position to comfortably lead Vettel into the first corner, although his start was so good it prompted an investigation into whether he had jumped it.

He had to wait 20 laps to be cleared – with the review revealing his reaction to the lights changing was just 0.2 seconds – and by this time had stretched his lead to 7.6 seconds over the chasing Ferrari.

Bottas ran a long opening stint, eventually pitting on lap 41 of 71 and emerging with a reduced lead of just 2.5s seconds

Vettel engaged in a race long pursuit of Bottas and was getting close to strike but eventually falling just short.

An aggressive first lap set Ricciardo on his way to his fifth podium in a row. That’s great consistency from the Red Bull driver.

Ricciardo attacked Kimi Raikkonen into Turn 1 but had to continue the move all the way up the hill into Turn 3, eventually claiming the place and forcing the Ferrari wide in the process.

Raikkonen dropped behind Romain Grosjean’s Haas as a result of Ricciardo’s move, and it took two laps for the works Ferrari to finally make it past the customer car at Turn 4.

The longest first stint of any of the frontrunners meant Raikkonen, who stopped on lap 44, fell behind the recovering Hamilton as the tyre strategies played out.

Hamilton had been gifted a position at the start by a clutch-related poor getaway from Max Verstappen, and worked his way past Sergio Perez’s Force India and Grosjean in the opening stint as well.

The Mercedes driver complained about his tyres once he swapped his super-softs for ultra-softs, but charged in the closing stages and got within DRS range of Ricciardo with three laps to go – though he could not find a way past.

Raikkonen finished a lonely fifth, while Grosjean scored his best result of the season with sixth.

Behind Grosjean came the Force Indias, with Perez leading Esteban Ocon, while the Williams duo of Felipe Massa and Lance Stroll charged into the points after a disappointing qualifying left them P17 and P18 on the grid.

They were helped by a first-lap collision that was caused when Verstappen started slowly from fifth on the grid and was collected at Turn 1 by Fernando Alonso, whose McLaren had been rear-ended by Daniil Kvyat.

The Toro Rosso driver was handed a drive-through penalty for the incident, which led to Verstappen stopping further round the lap and Alonso returning to the pits immediately with terminal damage.

Kevin Magnussen, who complained of no power steering, and Carlos Sainz were the only other retirements.

So not the most thrilling Austrian Grand Prix but for Valtteri Bottas, this was the perfect result. Supreme reaction to the five red lights at start, resisted the pressure from championship leader and a second victory for Mercedes.

As for the Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton title fight. The Ferrari driver extends his lead to 20 points with the British Grand Prix coming up next. The home support for Hamilton will be very vocal and passionate at Silverstone.

Austrian Grand Prix, race results after 71 laps:

1    Valtteri Bottas    Mercedes    1h21m48.527s
2    Sebastian Vettel    Ferrari    0.658s
3    Daniel Ricciardo    Red Bull-Renault    6.012s
4    Lewis Hamilton    Mercedes    7.430s
5    Kimi Raikkonen    Ferrari    20.370s
6    Romain Grosjean    Haas-Ferrari    1m06.281s
7    Sergio Perez    Force India-Mercedes    1 Lap
8    Esteban Ocon    Force India-Mercedes    1 Lap
9    Felipe Massa    Williams-Mercedes    1 Lap
10    Lance Stroll    Williams-Mercedes    1 Lap
11    Jolyon Palmer    Renault    1 Lap
12    Stoffel Vandoorne    McLaren-Honda    1 Lap
13    Nico Hulkenberg    Renault    1 Lap
14    Pascal Wehrlein    Sauber-Ferrari    1 Lap
15    Marcus Ericsson    Sauber-Ferrari    2 Laps
16    Daniil Kvyat    Toro Rosso-Renault    3 Laps
–    Carlos Sainz    Toro Rosso-Renault    Retirement
–    Kevin Magnussen    Haas-Ferrari    Retirement
–    Fernando Alonso    McLaren-Honda    Collision
–    Max Verstappen    Red Bull-Renault    Collision

Drivers’ standings:

1    Sebastian Vettel    171
2    Lewis Hamilton    151
3    Valtteri Bottas    136
4    Daniel Ricciardo    107
5    Kimi Raikkonen    83
6    Sergio Perez    50
7    Max Verstappen    45
8    Esteban Ocon    39
9    Carlos Sainz    29
10    Felipe Massa    22
11    Lance Stroll    18
12    Nico Hulkenberg    18
13    Romain Grosjean    18
14    Kevin Magnussen    11
15    Pascal Wehrlein    5
16    Daniil Kvyat    4
17    Fernando Alonso    2
18    Jolyon Palmer    0
19    Marcus Ericsson    0
20    Stoffel Vandoorne    0
21    Antonio Giovinazzi    0

Constructors’ standings:

1    Mercedes    287
2    Ferrari    254
3    Red Bull-Renault    152
4    Force India-Mercedes    89
5    Williams-Mercedes    40
6    Toro Rosso-Renault    33
7    Haas-Ferrari    29
8    Renault    18
9    Sauber-Ferrari    5
10    McLaren-Honda    2

4 thoughts to “Bottas fends off Vettel to score second F1 victory”

  1. Austrian Grand Prix race review as reported by

    Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas drove a masterly race to secure victory – his second of the season – in Sunday’s Austrian Grand Prix, finishing just 0.6s ahead of world championship leader Sebastian Vettel for Ferrari. Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo was third after fending off Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton in the closing stages.

    Kimi Raikkonen took a distant fifth in the second Ferrari, with Romain Grosjean an excellent sixth for Haas. The Force Indias of Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon were seventh and eighth, while Williams staged an impressive recovery with Felipe Massa and Lance Stroll – who started 17th and 18th respectively – completing the top ten.

    It was a dramatic beginning to the race. As Bottas made a getaway so good the stewards’ investigated a potential jump start, Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat braked too late into Turn 1 and ran into the fast-starting Fernando Alonso.

    Much to the chagrin of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and his legion of orange-clad fans who sat watching in horror, Alonso’s McLaren inadvertently collided with Verstappen, who spun. Verstappen and Alonso had sufficient damage that they were forced to retire. Kvyat continued, receiving a drive-through for his trouble.

    From there on, in many ways it was a rear-loaded race, with most of the action at the end. But if you asked Bottas if it was ‘a Sunday afternoon drive’ to the second win of his career he would likely disagree strongly. The Finn led easily from pole and dominated the first half of the race when the leaders were running Pirelli’s ultrasoft tyres – but once the switch to supersofts came it was a whole different story. Then Vettel’s Ferrari came alive, and so did the race.

    From lap 47 onward, the German was on fire, steadily hunting down the Mercedes driver as the latter’s tyres started fading. The final laps were nail-biting as Vettel closed remorselessly, until they crossed the start/finish line with one lap left just six-tenths of a second apart. Despite the state of his rubber, Bottas clung on to take a hugely well-earned victory, and a possibly crucial one for Mercedes, for Hamilton’s fight from eighth ultimately only yielded fourth place.

    On his supersofts the Englishman ought to have been on the best strategy, according to Pirelli, but after he had disposed of Ocon, Perez and Grosjean and closed in on Raikkonen’s Ferrari, his tyres were actually finished before his rivals’ softer compounds, so he was the first major runner to pit, on lap 31.

    Thereafter he should have flown with ultrasofts on a lighter fuel load, but his Mercedes was carrying too much front wing, and though he would later battle strongly enough to set fastest laps, he could only close on third placed Ricciardo without ever truly presenting a challenge. On lap 70 they were side-by-side in Turn 4, but Ricciardo had the inside line and held firm. Over the course of the final lap Hamilton’s challenge faded, so where his team mate won by those six-tenths, he was 1.4s down.

    Raikkonen was a long way back in fifth for Ferrari, as Grosjean upheld Haas’ qualifying promise with a strong sixth ahead of the duelling Force Indias of Perez and Ocon, the Frenchman facing a race-long challenge from fast-starting Massa in his Williams. The Brazilian and his Canadian partner Stroll made the most of first-corner mayhem to take the final points. Jolyon Palmer’s best drive of the season saw him see off Renault partner Nico Hulkenberg, and just fail to beat Stroll to the final point by half a second.

    Stoffel Vandoorne was 12th in the other McLaren, penalised for ignoring blue flags, ahead of Hulkenberg, the Saubers of Pascal Wehrlein and Marcus Ericsson, and Kvyat. Carlos Sainz had to retire the sister Toro Rosso after falling dramatically from points contention early on with mechanical woes.

    The other retiree was Kevin Magnussen, who was hounding Palmer when he suffered hydraulic failure on his Haas.

    Vettel now has a 20-point lead heading into the British Grand Prix weekend, with 171 points to Hamilton’s 151, the closing Bottas on 136 and 107 for Ricciardo.

  2. Max Verstappen says a clutch problem at the start of the Austrian Grand Prix led to him being collected at the first corner, forcing him out for the third grand prix on the trot.

    Verstappen suffered a clutch issue leaving the startline in Spielberg, which meant he tumbled down the order in the race to the first corner.

    There, he was hit by Fernando Alonso’s McLaren, which had already been punted into a spin by Daniil Kvyat’s Toro Rosso.

    “I already felt in the formation lap that it was not fantastic,” said Verstappen. “And in the actual start I got a failure, so I got anti-stall, and then on the run up to Turn 1 it didn’t feel great.

    “I tried to stay out of trouble, to go wide, and I got hit on the rear tyre. Because of that, the clutch over-engaged, and it basically broke the bearing in the clutch. So I had no drive anymore.

    “Of course I’m very disappointed for the fans, they were the best crowd I’ve seen so far and I couldn’t even do a start or one corner for them, never mind 71 laps.”

    Austria also marked a seventh non-finish of the season for Alonso, who was forced to retire with accident damage.

    “It’s a shame, but it wasn’t in our hands,” said Alonso. “Carlos [Sainz] and Verstappen had some problems and we had recovered those two positions and we arrived in Turn 1 and they touched us and ruined our races.

    “We can’t do anything, it’s not in our hands. The starts are like this sometimes and these things happen, and when you are in the middle of the group or at the back there’s more problems, and today it was our turn and hopefully next time it will be fine.”


  3. Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel believes Valtteri Bottas jumped the start. has the full story.

    Sebastian Vettel believes Mercedes Formula 1 driver Valtteri Bottas jumped the start of the Austrian Grand Prix.

    Vettel finished second to Bottas by 0.658s after the Finn held the lead from pole position at the start, which stewards investigated but took no action against.

    The Ferrari driver said that he was certain Bottas had jumped the start from his vantage point, but also accepted that the stewards are the ones who judge the legality.

    On-screen graphics in the television coverage put Bottas’s reaction time at 0.201s.

    “From my point of view, he jumped the start – I was sure that he did,” said Vettel. “It looked like it from inside the car, but it’s not for me to judge at the end of the day.

    “[My start] was quite tricky for me to keep standing still. it was OK, a bit of wheelspin early on.”

    When asked to clarify why he believed it was a jump start, Vettel described Vettel’s getaway as “unhuman”.

    “When I say I don’t believe, I don’t believe,” said Vettel. “Normally, the reactions are 0.2s for everyone, so I don’t believe everyone was slower today.

    “So that is why I don’t believe Valtteri was so much quicker. I was a strong believer that he jumped the start, but it turns out he didn’t – that is why I don’t believe it. His start was unhuman.”

    Bottas described his getaway as the best of his life.

    “I think that was the start of my life, I was really on it today,” he said. “When the car was moving, the lights were off – that is the main thing.

    Bottas admitted that there is an element of gambling on correctly anticipating the start.

    “[With] the start lights, there are different variations since the lights are on and go off, but the variation for a long time has not been massive,” said Bottas.

    “So you know more or less the zone when it is going off, so gambling with your reaction and guessing sometimes you get a mega one, sometimes you are a bit late.

    “Today was my best reaction for the lights. As long as it is positive [in terms of time after the lights go off], it is fine.”

    Daniel Ricciardo, who started directly behind Bottas, also said it looked like Bottas jumped the start and that the Mercedes driver was lucky to time his getaway so it was legal.

    “The main this it was positive, but the lights were held for a long time, more than normal,” said Ricciardo.

    “There is always a window, but it seemed longer and you are waiting, waiting and he went but the lights went out – I guess he got lucky.

    “I did it in F3 once, and it was on the edge, you react but at the same point the lights went out. In theory, that it is not a natural reaction.

    “But I don’t believe he reacted to the lights. I said it looked like Valtteri jumped – he didn’t jump because it was positive – but for sure he got a bit lucky.”

    Mercedes technical director James Allison confirmed that the start was legal and that was in keeping with the longstanding reaction time deemed permissible by the FIA.

    “Well, the rules have been like this forever so it’s just the way it’s always been,” Allison told Sky Sports F1. “He was positive at the start, not negative, so it’s a fair start.”

  4. Championship leader Sebastian Vettel was so close in challenging Valtteri Bottas for the top honours and admitted that he needed just “one more lap” to pass for win. has the details.

    Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel felt he needed “one more lap” to snatch Austrian Grand Prix victory from Mercedes Formula 1 rival Valtteri Bottas.

    Despite having made his solitary stop in the race earlier than the Finn, Vettel made quick work of Bottas’ advantage and spent the final minutes of the race close behind the Mercedes man.

    As the pair navigated traffic, Vettel got to within half a second of Bottas in the two closing laps, but ran out of time to make a move for the lead.

    Vettel wound up 0.658s off at the chequered flag, having understeered wide in the penultimate corner.

    “It was very close,” Vettel said on the podium. “I was told he was in trouble.

    “I felt much happier in second half of race – first half struggling to feel the car, as soon as we put on supersoft, car came alive. I was catching little by little, last laps getting really close.

    “[Force India’s Sergio] Perez cost me a bit of time with lapped cars. I think I needed one more lap because he [Bottas] was struggling to get uphill.”

    Bottas had looked in full control of the race in the initial stint on ultrasofts as he built his lead to over eight seconds before second-placed Vettel took to the pits.

    A later, slower pitstop left the Mercedes driver with a reduced lead over Vettel and with Ferrari’s other driver Kimi Raikkonen ahead, yet to stop.

    But while Bottas passed Raikkonen in no time, Vettel continued to make up ground as his rival found himself hampered by tyre blistering.

    “I had a bit of a deja vu after what happened in Russia,” Bottas said on the podium, having likewise held off a late Vettel charge for his maiden win earlier in the season in Sochi.

    “He was catching up, in the last stint I had a massive blister from lap five-six, which made it tricky. I could control the pace but backmarkers made it tricky.”

    Asked about Vettel’s “one more lap” assessment, Bottas said: “For sure he was getting close and they had more pace – I was struggling with the rear-left, had a blister that was getting bigger and bigger.

    “But difficult to say [what would have happened in] one more lap. I was happy the race ended that lap.”

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