Bottas holds off Vettel to win Austrian GP
dpa Monday, July 10, 2017, 8:41 am TWN
SPEILBERG, Austria -- Valtteri Bottas in a Mercedes won the Austrian Grand Prix in a thrilling finish ahead of Formula One championship leader Sebastian Vettel in a Ferrari on Sunday.
Daniel Ricciardo was third in Red Bull's home race, holding off a challenge from Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton, who had started eighth on the grid at the 4.326-kilometre Spielberg circuit.
Bottas led from pole, was cleared of making a jump start in a stewards' investigation and drove a faultless race to take the chequered flag 0.658 seconds ahead of Vettel.
It was his second win of the season following the Russian Grand Prix, his maiden career victory.
"I had a bit of deja-vu in the end from Russia, Vettel was catching up but the problem was I had a massive (tyre) blister," Bottas said on the podium.
"At the beginning I could control the race but it was trickier towards the end. I'm really happy, it's only the second win in my career. I think that was the start of my life."
Bottas got off to a fast start and was investigated by stewards - but cleared - for possibly jumping the lights.
"I was pretty sure he jumped it. Ask Daniel (Ricciardo) about it," Vettel said on the podium afterwards.
Red Bull's Max Verstappen and McLaren's Fernando Alonso retired after a first-turn collision involving Toro Rosso's Daniil Kvyat, the latter receiving a drive-through penalty.
It was a fifth retirement in seven races for Verstappen, to the disappointment of thousands of Dutch fans at Spielberg.
After 30 of the 71 laps, Bottas had built up a lead of some 7.6 seconds over Vettel. He pitted on lap 41, giving Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen the temporary lead but soon overtook the Finn to go back in front.
Raikkonen eventually pitted, coming out fifth behind Bottas, Vettal, Ricciardo and Hamilton.
Hamilton, who won at Spielberg last year, appeared to struggle at times with his tyres after starting with the more durable super soft rubbers before changing to ultra soft on lap 32.
However he drew nearer to Ricciardo with a series of fastest laps despite blistering tyres as the race went into its last 10 laps, while Vettel began closing the gap on Bottas.
"Keep an eye on the tyres, I'm a bit worried about them," Hamilton reported over team radio with seven laps remaining.
The Briton could however attack Ricciardo with two laps remaining, but was unable to take the Australian, while Bottas in front managed to fend off Vettel who had closed right behind in a cliffhanger last lap.
"I was very happy in the second stint of the race. As soon as we put on the super-soft tyre the car came alive," Vettel said.
"I think I needed one more lap because Bottas was really struggling to get up the hill."
Ricciardo said: "It was a fun race, there were some decisive moments at the start and then defending the last couple of laps.
"The second last lap was the tightest and Hamilton got close but I was very pleased to see the chequered flag."
Raikkonen finished fifth ahead of Romain Grosjean in a Haas, Sergio Perez in a Force India, his team-mate Sebastian Ocon, and the Williams duo Felipe Massa and Lance Stroll.
Vettel extends his lead to 20 points over Hamilton in the championship standings, with Bottas now 15 points behind his Mercedes team-mate.
There is little rest for the drivers, with the British Grand Prix at Silverstone following next Sunday.
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