Lewis Hamilton took victory at the Red Bull Ring in Austria despite team mate Nico Rosberg, who the Briton was overtaking on the outside going into turn 2 on the final lap clattering into him. Rosberg appeared to make very little effort to make the corner, keeping the wheel straight and then only put on 45-50% steering angle to avoid the collision, only after the collision does Rosberg turn the wheel to full lock. Secondarily, Rosberg, despite carrying damage didn’t give Hamilton room to rejoin the track.
Rosberg can protest his innocence all he likes; but the video evidence appears to suggest otherwise. Hamilton says that Rosberg was in his blind spot and expected the German to take a tighter angle into the corner as he turned in. Which is a fair assumption as Rosberg had at least two car widths between his car and the apex to his right. Anyway, it doesn’t matter what I think, the stewards decided it was Rosberg’s fault and gave him a token 10 second time penalty, which didn’t change the final result of the race.
Rosberg still finished in fourth place despite the time penalty as he had already been passed by Max Verstappen and Kimi Raikkonen on track. I do feel the penalty was lenient, but given that he had effectively lost three places already because of the collision, I guess the stewards took this into account.
Toto Wolff and Niki Lauda both said that their drivers were marginal on brakes which could explain why Rosberg went so deep. Again Mercedes cited the radio ban as part of the cause as they could not tell their drivers about the brake issues. Although earlier in the race, Mercedes did tell Hamilton that Rosberg was on a softer compound than him, which I believe does also breach the radio communication rules.
Ferrari also had a mixed day; Sebastian Vettel suffered a huge right rear super-soft tire blowout on lap 27 while attempting a one stop strategy. Which did not help Rosberg’s cause as he was showered in rubber, damaging his Mercedes. TV commentators repeatedly pointed out the extreme tire wear, but the German continued to circulate. Vettel was quick to intimate, if not directly blame Pirelli for the tire failure.
Raikkonen brought his Ferrari home in third place, but was beaten by Verstappen to second place thanks to Rosberg’s collision with his team mate. Ferrari will be disappointed to finish behind the Red Bull in the race after being ahead in the early stages. Red Bull themselves only expected a low top 10 finish.
The second Red Bull of Daniel Ricciardo crossed the line in fifth place followed by Jenson Button, which is the Britons best finish of the season so far, decent performance from McLaren Honda to start third and finish sixth given then power unit disadvantage compared to the likes of Ferrari, Mercedes and Renault.
Romain Grosjean claimed seventh place for HAAS F1 followed by Carlos Sainz in eighth place after fighting back from near the back of the grid. Valteri Bottas finished in a lowly ninth place in the normally fast Williams around the Red Bull Ring and Pascal Wehrlein claimed a single point for perennial underdogs Manor F1, who are much improved now they have the Mercedes power unit in the back of their car.
Sadly, this is another race where the controversy overshadowed the race, the major talking point will be the Mercedes duo colliding for a second time in a little over a month. Then, there is Vettel’s intimation that Pirelli were to blame for his blowout. Pirelli have yet to find the cause of the failure just saying the failure was “an isolated incident”. And finally, the radio ban raises it’s ugly head again with Toto Wolff’s comments about how his race engineers could not pass on information about brakes being marginal.