Bot­tas wins in Aus­tria; Vettel set­tles for sec­ond

The Hamilton Spectator - - SPORTS - JEROME PUGMIRE

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.

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