Rosberg extends championship lead after win in Austria

Rosberg Austrian GP 2014

Nico Rosberg extended his championship lead after edging out his Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton to victory at the Red Bull Ring.

The Silver Arrows were able to benefit from Williams thanks to a superior pit-stop strategy despite the straightline speed for Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas.

Williams were able to score their best result of the season by finishing in third and fourth, with Bottas achieving his maiden podium.

Massa initially led the Austrian Grand Prix from the first Williams one-two on the grid since 2003, while his team-mate was passed by the fast-starting Mercedes of Rosberg.

But Bottas used Williams’ superior straightline advantage to retake second on the run up the hill to Turn 2.

A superb start on the opening lap from Lewis Hamilton made up for his disappointing showing in qualifying.

The Mercedes driver made up several places including a brave pass on Fernando Alonso’s Ferrari at Turn 8.

Rosberg pitted for the first time on lap 11 of 71, releasing Hamilton to attack the Williams pair.

Hamilton pitted two laps later, while Williams waited an extra tour before bringing in race leader Massa.

The Brazilian lost out during this first round of pit-stops. He was jumped by Rosberg and later passed by Hamilton at Turn 2 on his out-lap.

By contrast, a great in-lap from Bottas, who was last of the leading group to pit on lap 15, kept him ahead of Hamilton and allowed him to jump ahead over his Williams team-mate.

All four ran behind the Force India of Sergio Perez during the second phase of the race, owing to the Mexican running an alternative strategy from P15 on the grid.

Mercedes warned Hamilton about overheating brakes running closely behind the Williams, while Rosberg made a point of continually moving out of Perez’s slipstream on the straights to cool his own car down.

Perez led until lap 27, when Rosberg dived down the inside unchallenged at Turn 2. Bottas followed through up the inside on the exit as Perez ran wide.

Hamilton produced a copycat move at Turn 2 on the following lap to take third place and set fastest lap as he chased after Bottas and new race leader Rosberg.

The top three bunched up as Rosberg ran wide coming out of Turn 1 on lap 30, allowing Bottas to get into DRS range and dragging Hamilton with him, while Massa held a watching brief slightly further back in fourth.

Rosberg took a few laps to recover his rhythm, but managed to gain a two-second lead before Mercedes decided to pit its two drivers for the second time on consecutive tours on laps 39 and 40.

Hamilton came in first and rejoined fifth, just ahead of Kevin Magnussen’s McLaren, while Rosberg’s slightly faster stop ensured he stayed ahead of Hamilton.

Williams decided not to react immediately, pitting Bottas from the lead on lap 42, and the Finn rejoined behind both Mercedes.

Once Massa and the long-running Ferrari of Fernando Alonso came in for their final stops on lap 44 and 47 respectively, the race finally boiled down to a battle royale between the Silver Arrows.

Hamilton was told his brake temperatures were now under control, freeing him up to take the fight to his team-mate, but his front-left brake returned to a critical status before he could get close enough to attack.

He came back strongly again across the final few laps, but finished just under two seconds adrift after a mistake at Turn 3 on the final lap.

Alonso’s marathon second stint helped him finish just a few seconds shy of the Williams drivers in fifth, while Perez converted his alternative strategy into an excellent top six finish by passing Kevin Magnussen’s McLaren at Turn 2 in the closing stages.

Despite that that lost position, Magnussen was able to claim his best finish since the season-opening Australian Grand Prix by finishing seventh.

While Canadian Grand Prix winner Daniel Ricciardo, who passed Nico Hulkenberg’s Force India on the final lap despite not being allowed to use his ‘overtake’ button, took eighth.

This was a difficult day for the Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz. First Ricciardo drop down from fifth on the grid on the opening lap, followed by world champion Sebastian Vettel momentarily lost drive on the second lap and then retired shortly after half distance to save engine mileage.

In fact, this was a horrible race for the four-time world champion. A lap down due to a loss of power in the Red Bull RB10. Vettel tried to regain lost ground but damaged his front wing while racing with Esteban Gutierrez. The team later on instructed him to stop the car.

Rounding out the top ten is Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen. This was The Iceman’s 200th Formula 1 race but there was no reasons to celebrate as his car lacked power.

At least he finished ahead of Jenson Button’s McLaren and the lapped Lotus of Pastor Maldonado.

So an interesting race in terms of strategy. Mercedes scored their sixth one-two this season and Nico Rosberg extends his lead in the championship over Lewis Hamilton by 29 points.

The British Grand Prix at Silverstone is next and it’s going to be another battle royale for top honours between the Silver Arrows.

Austrian Grand Prix, race results after 71 laps:

1. Nico Rosberg          Mercedes               1h27m54.967s
2. Lewis Hamilton        Mercedes               +1.932s
3. Valtteri Bottas       Williams-Mercedes      +8.172s
4. Felipe Massa          Williams-Mercedes      +17.358s
5. Fernando Alonso       Ferrari                +18.553s
6. Sergio Perez          Force India-Mercedes   +28.546s
7. Kevin Magnussen       McLaren-Mercedes       +32.031s
8. Daniel Ricciardo      Red Bull-Renault       +43.522s
9. Nico Hulkenberg       Force India-Mercedes   +44.137s
10. Kimi Raikkonen        Ferrari                +47.777s
11. Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes       +50.966s
12. Pastor Maldonado      Lotus-Renault          -1 lap
13. Adrian Sutil          Sauber-Ferrari         -1 lap
14. Romain Grosjean       Lotus-Renault          -1 lap
15. Jules Bianchi         Marussia-Ferrari       -2 laps
16. Kamui Kobayashi       Caterham-Renault       -2 laps
17. Max Chilton           Marussia-Ferrari       -2 laps
18. Marcus Ericsson       Caterham-Renault       -2 laps
19. Esteban Gutierrez     Sauber-Ferrari         -2 laps


Jean-Eric Vergne      Toro Rosso-Renault      59 laps
Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull-Renault        34 laps
Daniil Kvyat          Toro Rosso-Renault      24 laps

Drivers’ championship:

1. Nico Rosberg       165
2. Lewis Hamilton     136
3. Daniel Ricciardo   83
4. Fernando Alonso    79
5. Sebastian Vettel   60
6. Nico Hulkenberg    59
7. Valtteri Bottas    55
8. Jenson Button      43
9. Felipe Massa       30
10. Kevin Magnussen    29
11. Sergio Perez       28
12. Kimi Raikkonen     19
13. Romain Grosjean    8
14. Jean-Eric Vergne   8
15. Daniil Kvyat       4
16. Jules Bianchi      2

Constructors’ championship:

1. Mercedes                 301
2. Red Bull/Renault         143
3. Ferrari                   98
4. Force India/Mercedes      87
5. Williams/Mercedes         85
6. McLaren/Mercedes          72
7. Toro Rosso/Renault        12
8. Lotus/Renault              8
9. Marussia/Ferrari           2
10. Sauber/Ferrari            0
11. Caterham/Renault          0

Next race: British Grand Prix, Silverstone. June 20-22.

Massa leads Williams front-row at the Red Bull Ring

AustrianGP 2014 qualifying

Felipe Massa ended his six-year pole position drought by claiming the top slot at the Red Bull Ring circuit.

The 2008 runner-up produced a well-timed Q3 lap to knock his Williams  team-mate Valtteri Bottas off top spot in the final moments of qualifying, giving him pole by just under a tenth of a second.

This was the Brazilian’s first pole since that championship deciding Brazilian Grand Prix back in 2008 and the first for Williams since Nico Hulkenberg at the same circuit four years ago.

World championship leader Nico Rosberg was third quickest for Mercedes after failing to improve on his final attempt, but while he missed out on top spot he will be happy to see his title rival Lewis Hamilton down in ninth position.

Hamilton’s first run in Q3, which would have been good enough for fifth, was disallowed for exceeding track limits at the exit of Turn 8 after the rear stepped out.

His second attempt was ruined by a spin at Turn 2, meaning that he did not set a Q3 time, putting him ahead of only the Force India of Nico Hulkenberg.

Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso was just over half-a-second off the pace in fourth position.

Daniel Ricciardo was fifth quickest ahead of McLaren’s Kevin Magnussen, with Daniil Kvyat a superb seventh for Toro Rosso.

Kimi Raikkonen was the slowest of those actually to register a lap time in Q2, ending up in eighth place.

Sergio Perez was P11 after being bumped out of a Q3 position late on, missing out by just under a tenth of a second.

But he will start the Austrian Grand Prix in P16 thanks to the five-place grid penalty he received for causing a collision with Massa in the Canadian Grand Prix a fortnight ago.

The Mexican’s former team-mate Jenson Button, whose practice session was ruined by a rear brake problem, and Sebastian Vettel, whose lack of pace in the final sector cost him, were just behind Perez.

This was a disappointing performance by the defending world champion. Yet again, Sebastian Vettel was out-qualified by his Red Bull team-mate Daniel Ricciardo. The defending champion will start in unlucky P13.

Pastor Maldonado out-qualified Lotus team-mate Romain Grosjean for the first time this year, the pair sandwiching Jean-Eric Vergne’s Toro Rosso.

Adrian Sutil was the fastest of those to be knocked out in Q1, ending up just four-thousandths slower than Maldonado.

He was comfortably ahead of Sauber team-mate Esteban Gutierrez, with Jules Bianchi P19.

Kamui Kobayashi did a good job to split the Marussias, a tenth quicker than Max Chilton, with Marcus Ericsson unable to improve on his second run and ending up last.

Numerous drivers had lap times automatically disallowed during the session for running wide beyond track limits at the exit of Turn 8 as the race stewards act tough on the drivers exploiting the circuit.

So a fantastic achievement by Williams. Their first front row lock-out since the 2003 German Grand Prix. Sunday’s race is going to be fascinating.

Qualifying positions, Red Bull Ring:

1. Felipe Massa          Williams-Mercedes    1m08.759s
2. Valtteri Bottas       Williams-Mercedes    1m08.846s
3. Nico Rosberg          Mercedes             1m08.944s
4. Fernando Alonso       Ferrari              1m09.285s
5. Daniel Ricciardo      Red Bull-Renault     1m09.466s
6. Kevin Magnussen       McLaren-Mercedes     1m09.515s
7. Daniil Kvyat          Toro Rosso-Renault   1m09.619s
8. Kimi Raikkonen        Ferrari              1m10.795s
9. Lewis Hamilton        Mercedes             No time
10. Nico Hulkenberg       Force India-Mercedes No time
11. Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes     1m09.780s
12. Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull-Renault     1m09.801s
13. Pastor Maldonado      Lotus-Renault        1m09.939s
14. Jean-Eric Vergne      Toro Rosso-Renault   1m10.073s
15. Romain Grosjean       Lotus-Renault        1m10.642s
16. Sergio Perez          Force India-Mercedes 1m09.754s*
17. Adrian Sutil          Sauber-Ferrari       1m10.825s
18. Esteban Gutierrez     Sauber-Ferrari       1m11.349s
19. Jules Bianchi         Marussia-Ferrari     1m11.412s
20. Kamui Kobayashi       Caterham-Renault     1m11.673s
21. Max Chilton           Marussia-Ferrari     1m11.775s
22. Marcus Ericsson       Caterham-Renault     1m12.673s

107 per cent time: 1m14.379s

*Five-place grid penalty for causing a collision with Felipe Massa at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve

Ricciardo victorious in thrilling Canadian Grand Prix

Ricciardo Canada 2014 winner

Daniel Ricciardo ended the Silver Arrows’ domination of Formula 1 this season by claiming his maiden victory in a thrilling Canadian Grand Prix at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.

The Red Bull Racing driver jumped the ailing Mercedes of championship leader Nico Rosberg with just two laps to the chequered flag to claim an unlikely win.

Despite a MGU-K issue meaning a loss of power, Rosberg was able to extend his championship lead by finishing in second position.

The same cannot be said to his team-mate Lewis Hamilton, who was forced to retire with brake failure.

Four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel took third as the race finished under the Safety Car when Sergio Perez and Felipe Massa  collided spectacularly on the approach to Turn 1 on the penultimate lap as they battled for fourth position.

That allowed Jenson Button to rise to an unlikely fourth-placed finish for McLaren, ahead of Nico Hulkenberg’s Force India and Fernando Alonso’s Ferrari.

The first half of the Canadian Grand Prix played out as most others have done this season, as the Silver Arrows drivers engaged in a personal battle for victory.

Rosberg made a slower start than his title rival, allowing Hamilton to attack him on the run to Turn 1.

But Rosberg defended his position on the approach to the first corner, locking a front brake on his Mercedes and forcing Hamilton to run wide which gave Vettel track position.

The race was neutralised almost immediately after both Marussias collided at the first chicane.

Max Chilton oversteered wildly into Jules Bianchi through the middle of the corner, pitching the Monaco Grand Prix hero into a violent impact with the wall on the outside of the left-hander and putting both cars out of the race.

It took seven laps for the track marshals to clear the debris and clean the oil spill from Bianchi’s destroyed car.

Rosberg built a 1.7-second gap after the restart, before Hamilton was able to use DRS to breeze past Vettel’s Red Bull approaching the final chicane on lap ten.

Hamilton set off after Rosberg and the Mercedes drivers dropped Vettel at a rate of nearly a second per lap as another of their personal duels for victory continue.

Rosberg still led by two seconds when he pitted on lap 18. A massive moment on his out-lap through the exit of the first chicane gave Hamilton an opportunity of jumping ahead at his own pit-stop on the following lap, but it was six tenths slower than Rosberg’s and that – coupled with an unremarkable in-lap from Hamilton – allowed Rosberg off the hook for his error.

Hamilton re-focused and looked happier on the soft tyres as he set fastest lap and hunted his team-mate down.

The 2008 world champion closed to within half a second and was within striking distance on Rosberg with DRS open when the race leader straight-lined the final chicane after locking up in the braking zone on lap 25.

Hamilton continued to apply big pressure on his team-mate, closing back to within a second while the race stewards investigated Rosberg’s off.

He was handed a warning, meaning no penalty, so retained the race lead as Hamilton closed in again.

But then, Mercedes drivers reported a sudden loss of power shortly after half distance. Losing two seconds per lap to the chasing pack as they nursed their cars.

They pitted for a second time on consecutive laps, briefly allowing Felipe Massa to lead the race, and a slow front-left tyre change for Rosberg allowed Hamilton to get ahead for the first time.

But Hamilton’s joy was short-lived. He fell back behind his team-mate on the out-lap after locking up at the hairpin, and then suffered a rear brake lock-up as he tried to re-pass Rosberg at the final chicane.

Hamilton straight-lined that corner, but began a slow tour back to the pits to retire on lap 48 having suffered rear-brake failure.

Rosberg nursed his own brakes to the end, helped by Perez having to fend off the Red Bulls on much older tyres.

Massa used his final set of fresher soft tyres to charge back through the field, passing team-mate Valtteri Bottas and the struggling Force India of Hulkenberg for fifth in the closing stages and then hunting down the leading quartet.

Ricciardo jumped the ailing Perez (also suffering brake problems) with just five laps to the flag and chased after Rosberg. The Red Bull was able to pass the Silver Arrows in only two laps left by using DRS on the back straight.

When the Safety Car was deployed for the second time after Perez – who used an alternative one-stop strategy to rise from P13 on the grid to the podium fight – and Massa collided, Ricciardo’s first win in Formula 1 was assured.

Bottas nursed his own Williams to seventh, battling brake problems of his own, while the Toro Rosso of Jean-Eric Vergne, Kevin Magnussen’s McLaren and the Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen – who recovered from a spin at the hairpin – rounded out the top ten.

So a dramatic Canadian Grand Prix, with Daniel Ricciardo achieving his maiden victory for Red Bull Racing. The Mercedes domination has been halted but Nico Rosberg and the Brackley-based team still leads both championships as Formula 1 return back to Austria later this month.

Canadian Grand Prix, race result after 70 laps:

1. Daniel Ricciardo      Red Bull-Renault        1h39m12.830s
2. Nico Rosberg          Mercedes                +4.236s
3. Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull-Renault        +5.247s
4. Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes        +11.755s
5. Nico Hulkenberg       Force India-Mercedes    +12.843s
6. Fernando Alonso       Ferrari                 +14.869s
7. Valtteri Bottas       Williams-Mercedes       +23.578s
8. Jean-Eric Vergne      Toro Rosso-Renault      +28.026s
9. Kevin Magnussen       McLaren-Mercedes        +29.254s
10. Kimi Raikkonen        Ferrari                +53.678s
11. Sergio Perez          Force India-Mercedes   69 laps
12. Felipe Massa          Williams-Mercedes      69 laps
13. Adrian Sutil          Sauber-Ferrari         69 laps
14. Esteban Gutierrez     Sauber-Ferrari         64 laps


Romain Grosjean       Lotus-Renault            59 laps
Daniil Kvyat          Toro Rosso-Renault       47 laps
Lewis Hamilton        Mercedes                 45 laps
Kamui Kobayashi       Caterham-Renault         22 laps
Pastor Maldonado      Lotus-Renault            21 laps
Marcus Ericsson       Caterham-Renault         6 laps
Max Chilton           Marussia-Ferrari         0 laps
Jules Bianchi         Marussia-Ferrari         0 laps

Drivers’ championship:

1. Nico Rosberg            140
2. Lewis Hamilton          118
3. Daniel Ricciardo        79
4. Fernando Alonso         69
5. Sebastian Vettel        60
6. Nico Hulkenberg         57
7. Jenson Button           43
8. Valtteri Bottas         40
9. Kevin Magnussen         23
10. Sergio Perez            20
11. Felipe Massa            18
12. Kimi Raikkonen          18
13. Romain Grosjean         8
14. Jean-Eric Vergne        8
15. Daniil Kvyat            4
16. Jules Bianchi           2

Constructors’ championship:

1. Mercedes               258
2. Red Bull-Renault       139
3. Ferrari                87
4. Force India-Mercedes   77
5. McLaren-Mercedes       66
6. Williams-Mercedes      58
7. Toro Rosso-Renault     12
8. Lotus-Renault          8
9. Marussia-Ferrari       2
10. Sauber-Ferrari         0
11. Caterham-Renault       0

Next race: Austrian Grand Prix, Red Bull Ring. June 20-22.

Rosberg edges out Hamilton to Canadian Grand Prix pole

Rosberg qualifying Canada 2014

Championship leader Nico Rosberg scored his seventh career pole position by edging out his Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton in qualifying at the Circuit Gilles Villenueve.

Hamilton, who had dominated practice, setting the fastest time of Friday and then going quickest on Saturday morning, meaning he went into qualifying as the hot favourite at a track in which he enjoyed.

The Mercedes driver had topped both Q1 and Q2 but was outpaced by Rosberg by 68 thousandths of a second on their first runs in Q3 after hitting traffic in the final sector.

Rosberg then made a small improvement on his second run, but it was not necessary as a poor middle sector meant that Hamilton was unable to better his rival’s earlier lap time.

As for the four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel, the Red Bull driver was the best-of-the-rest, jumping from sixth to third with a strong final lap.

Williams had looked set to be the closest challenger to Mercedes, but Valtteri Bottas was unable to improve on his final run and ended up in fourth position.

His Williams team-mate Felipe Massa was fifth fastest, just ahead of Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo.

Fernando Alonso was seventh, his Ferrari not quite showing the speed to threaten the top six at Montreal.

Jean-Eric Vergne was fastest of those who only attempted one run in Q3, shading McLaren’s Jenson Button to eighth place by two-hundredths of a second.

Kimi Raikkonen was the slowest of the Q3 runners, securing tenth place on the grid.

All of the top ten will start the race on super-soft Pirelli thanks to new-for-2014 rules dictating that drivers must use the set they set their best Q2 time on.

Nico Hulkenberg missed out on a place in Q3 by just under half-a-tenth and will start in P11.

As for Kevin Magnussen, the young Dane could only managed P12 after failing to improve on his second run.

Sergio Perez, Romain Grosjean, Daniil Kvyat were P13, P14 and P15 respectively, with Sauber driver Adrian Sutil attempting only one run in Q2 as he had used two sets of super-softs in Q1, ending up in P16.

Pastor Maldonado was eliminated in Q1 after his Lotus ground to a halt in the closing stages.

He had just jumped Marussia pairing Max Chilton and Jules Bianchi before his car developed a technical issue.

After the highs of Monaco in scoring championship points, Jules Bianchi was unable to attempt a second run in Q1 thanks to a car problem, while Chilton had to rely on the time posted on his first run because of incidents late in the session.

Kamui Kobayashi was the faster of the Caterhams in P20 after making a good improvement on his final run, although he will be hit with a five-place grid penalty for a gearbox change.

Team-mate Marcus Ericsson brought out a red flag with 16 seconds of Q1 remaining after crashing at the exit of the first chicane.

Esteban Gutierrez was unable to participate in qualifying following damage to the chassis sustained in a crash during Saturday morning’s free practice session.

The Sauber team is building up a car around a spare chassis for the Mexican for Sunday’s Canadian Grand Prix.

So another Mercedes front row and yet this time, Nico Rosberg is ahead of his team-mate. Race day at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve will be a fascinating battle for supremacy between the Silver Arrows duo.

Canadian Grand Prix, qualifying times:

1. Nico Rosberg          Mercedes             1m14.874s
2. Lewis Hamilton        Mercedes             1m14.953s
3. Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull-Renault     1m15.548s
4. Valtteri Bottas       Williams-Mercedes    1m15.550s
5. Felipe Massa          Williams-Mercedes    1m15.578s
6. Daniel Ricciardo      Red Bull-Renault     1m15.589s
7. Fernando Alonso       Ferrari              1m15.814s
8. Jean-Eric Vergne      Toro Rosso-Renault   1m16.162s
9. Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes     1m16.182s
10. Kimi Raikkonen        Ferrari              1m16.214s
11. Nico Hulkenberg       Force India-Mercedes 1m16.300s
12. Kevin Magnussen       McLaren-Mercedes     1m16.310s
13. Sergio Perez          Force India-Mercedes 1m16.472s
14. Romain Grosjean       Lotus-Renault        1m16.687s
15. Daniil Kvyat          Toro Rosso-Renault   1m16.713s
16. Adrian Sutil          Sauber-Ferrari       1m17.314s
17. Pastor Maldonado      Lotus-Renault        1m18.328s
18. Max Chilton           Marussia-Ferrari     1m18.348s
19. Jules Bianchi         Marussia-Ferrari     1m18.359s
20. Marcus Ericsson       Caterham-Renault     1m19.820s
21. Esteban Gutierrez     Sauber-Ferrari       no time
22. Kamui Kobayashi       Caterham-Renault     1m19.278s*

107 per cent time: 1m21.052s

*Five-place grid penalty for a gearbox change