Bottas wins in Austria; Vettel settles for second
Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas made a great start from pole position to win the Austrian Grand Prix on Sunday, while Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel finished just behind in second to extend his championship lead over main rival Lewis Hamilton to 20 points.
Bottas did just enough to hold off Vettel’s late charge, with the German driver crossing the line 0.6 seconds behind.
“He was catching up. I had a massive blister in the rear left (tire),” Bottas said. “I was losing more and more stability of the rear. I was happy the race ended on that lap.”
Vettel was frustrated at missing out on a 46th career win by so little.
“I was told he was in trouble, I was pushing. The car came alive and I had really good pace,” Vettel said. “I think I needed one more lap because he was really struggling up the hill.”
Vettel had never finished higher than fourth in Austria, twice retiring from races.
“I really wanted to win, so not entirely happy,” Vettel said.
Williams drivers Felipe Massa and Lance Stroll of Montreal made fine starts from 17th and 18th on the grid, and both finished in the Top 10. It’s the third straight race that the 18-year-old Canadian has picked up points after a third-place finish in Azerbaijan and ninth place finish in Montreal.
Stroll is currently tied for 11th in the driver standings with Nico Hulkenberg (18 points).
Meanwhile, Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo showed great ability to defend third place from Hamilton, who almost passed the Australian driver on the last two laps but had to settle for fourth.
Bottas, who won in Russia, clinched the second victory of his career — and both have come since he joined Mercedes from Williams this season. His first career podium was on the same Spielberg track, when he finished third for Williams in 2014.
Bottas is now only 15 points behind Hamilton in the overall standings and close to contending for the title.
“I believe and the team believes,” Bottas said. “We’re not even halfway yet.”
The 10th race of an exciting season is the British GP at Silverstone next weekend.