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June 27, 2017

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Mercedes top of the F1 podium again in Austria

SPIELBERG BEI KNITTELFELD, Austria -- Mercedes proved on Sunday that Canada was just a glitch in the season as leader Nico Rosberg topped the podium again at the Austrian Grand Prix ahead of Lewis Hamilton.

The 28-year-old German denied his teammate until the very end to clinch his third win this year, while Williams driver Valtteri Bottas made it onto his first ever podium in what turned out to be a disastrous home race for Red Bull.

For Mercedes, this was a seventh win in eight races and a welcome return to the top after they had to settle for second place at the Canadian Grand Prix behind Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo.

Even more impressively, the team have now occupied the top two steps of the podium on six occasions.

"A 1-2 is good for the team, I'm happy we achieved that again after the difficult race in Montreal," Rosberg said after the race.

"I'm extremely happy with the result and it's also great to extend the championship lead which was really my goal coming here to Austria."

The German — who has never finished off the podium this season — now has a 29-point lead on four-win Hamilton in the fierce internal Mercedes battle.

The team have meanwhile extended their lead in the constructors' standings to 301 points, with Red Bull a distant second place with 143 points.

Sunday's race at the Red Bull Ring started with an all-Williams front row after Brazilian Felipe Massa and Bottas dominated Saturday's qualifying, depriving Mercedes of pole for the first time this year.

But the German team showed from the very first lap that they were in fighting spirit, with Rosberg briefly coming into second position, while Hamilton jumped from ninth into fourth place after a thundering start.

Massa eventually finished fourth, followed by Ferrari's Fernando Alonso, Sergio Perez of Force India and McLaren's Kevin Magnussen.

"It wasn't an easy race. Williams were very quick in the straights so it was hard to fight with them, also in the start. But I had a faster car," Rosberg said.

A displeased Hamilton meanwhile complained "there wasn't an opportunity to overtake," after he spent several laps trying to pass his teammate.

But he added: "To get from ninth to second and be pressuring Nico at the end of the race really shows the pace I had this weekend."

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