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Formula 1 Austrian Grand Prix 2017

Red Bull Ring Statue

Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas claimed his second career F1 victory in the Austrian Alps in controversial circumstances narrowly holding off the late charge of Ferrari’s championship leader Sebastian Vettel.

From the outset, there was controversy as Bottas appeared to jump the start, however, the FIA investigated and it came back as a clean start. But, watching the slow-motion replays after the race seem to suggest otherwise, we see onboard footage of Bottas’ front wheels rolling before the five red lights went out. That said, I don’t think it would have changed anything, the Ferrari’s were fending off Ricciardo.

Fernando Alonso, starting from 12th place, launched his McLaren upto 10th place, only to get tagged by Daniil Kvyat, tipping him into a spin, which in turn tipped Max Verstappen into a spin after the Dutchman made a poor start and found himself in the firing line. Both Verstappen and Alonso’s races ended before the second lap, Verstappen stopped on track while Alonso recovered to the pits, but retired his car.

Meanwhile, as his Red Bull team mate Verstappen was going for a spin, Daniel Ricciardo made a great start to be challenging Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen into turn 1, however, the Australian couldn’t make it stick and drag raced the Finn through the turn 2 kink and completed the move into turn 3 to claim third spot.

After the initial lap 1 action, the race settled down pretty quickly, Lewis Hamilton moved upto 5th place making his way past Sergio Perez and Romain Grosjean by lap 10 after starting from 8th due to his five place grid penalty for a gearbox change. Over the next 12 laps, the Briton closed the gap to Raikkonen to be just 1/2 second of the Finn’s gearbox, but couldn’t overtake the 2007 world drivers champion.

On lap 32, after following Raikkonen for 10 laps, Mercedes pulled Hamilton in for fresh tires and managed to overtake Raikkonen using the undercut, demoting Raikkonen to fifth place. After everyone had made their stops, it was Bottas, Vettel, Ricciardo and Hamilton and despite Vettel catching Bottas and Hamilton catching Ricciardo, neither pursuer could make an overtake to improve their position.

HAAS F1 will be happy with their days work as Romain Grosjean brought his car home in an excellent sixth place, hopefully the recurring theme of brake problems for HAAS is finally over. Seventh and eighth place went to Force India, Perez winning the inter-team battle. Followed by the Williams duo of Felipe Massa and Lance Stroll in ninth and 10th places, up from 17th and 18th after a disastrous qualifying.

I would give the ninth race of the season a 5/10 as for the majority of the race it was processional. Yes, Hamilton closed in on Raikkonen and Ricciardo and Vettel got within 1/2 second of Bottas to make the race climax exciting, but most of the race was dull. I don’t have the statistics on how many actual overtakes there were during the Austrian Grand Prix, but I didn’t perceive more than 5 on-track overtakes.

The more interesting thing about the Austrian GP is the points standings, Vettel extends his lead to 20 points while Hamilton’s team mate, Bottas closes to just 15 points of Hamilton, interjecting himself in the title picture. I would love to see Bottas make it a three way title battle, however, I doubt Mercedes would allow their drivers to take points off each other now they have competition for the World Drivers Title.

Austrian Grand Prix 2017 Results

1. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) 1:21:48.527
2. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) +0.658
3. Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull) +6.012
4. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) +7.430
5. Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari) +20.370
6. Romain Grosjean (HAAS) +73.160
7. Sergio Perez (Force India) +1 LAP
8. Esteban Ocon (Force India) +1 LAP
9. Felipe Massa (Williams) +1 LAP
10. Lance Stroll (Williams) +1 LAP

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