Verstappen takes Austrian GP win as Mercedes break down

Max Verstappen seized his first win of the season, to the delight of the swathes of Dutch fans who had made the pilgrimage to the Red Bull Ring.

Kimi Raikkonen finishing second ahead of Sebastian Vettel was not something that would have been predicted going into the race. The result was down to the drivers of course, but also to a great job from the team, a well planned strategy and an SF71H which seemed particularly good at managing its tyres.

Kimi Raikkonen secured his fifth podium of 2018, and tied his best finish on this track from 2003

Romain Grosjean took a brilliant fourth, the best ever result for Haas, one place ahead of team mate Kevin Magnussen, with Verstappen comfortably leading the Ferrari duo of Raikkonen and Vettel up front.

Force India’s Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez were sixth and seventh respectively, with Fernando Alonso charging from a pit-lane start to an impressive eighth.

Charles Leclerc lost a bunch of time when he ran into the gravel at the start but recovered to take ninth – his fourth points finish in five races – with Sauber team mate Marcus Ericsson taking 10th in what is only his second time in the points in 2018.

Valtteri Bottas pulled off with a gearbox problem. Then their strategists made a mistake by not pitting leader Hamilton during the subsequent virtual safety car period. Then Lewis Hamilton rolled to a halt when he lost fuel pressure.

Max Verstappen “I’m so happy to win at the Red Bull Ring, and with so many Dutch fans here. It was also so unexpected, and that makes it even better. An amazing weekend. If you want to win a race this is the perfect place, in a Red Bull car at the Red Bull Ring. For the race I was very happy in general with how the car was behaving but I always just try to do my best race possible; if that is going to be first, second, third, it’s not in your hand. From my side I felt in control, I was driving to the best I could with the car I had and at the end we were struggling a little more than Ferrari with the tyre blistering but we managed to stay ahead. I knew that Daniel and Lewis had to pit again and I didn’t want that scenario so I was not driving to the full limit of the car but just managing everything. It was tougher than perhaps it looked but I just needed to be on top of my tyres. I’m very thankful to the engineers for making that strategy call under the VSC and full complements to the team for that pitstop, because that definitely made our race. The fans in the grandstand were great, so many orange t-shirts there. My focus was always on the track but for the last few laps I could look a little bit to my left and they were really cheering me on, it was amazing.”

Kimi Raikkonen: ”At the start I had a good getaway, but I found myself between two cars and I had to lift off to avoid them squeezing me, while I hoped they would see me. I lost momentum, speed and the chance to challenge them in the first corner. It’s a pity, because without that, I think I could have been in the lead. The first lap was quite hectic, then the situation calmed down for a while. Tyre management played a big part today: it was hard to know when to go flat out and be on the safe side at the same time. The beginning of both stints was a bit tricky; we struggled a bit to get the grip and to make the tyres work, but then it got better and in the end we had very good tyre. We were obviously hoping to catch Max, but by then it was perhaps a bit too late. Today we had the speed, but there just weren’t enough laps left in the race… Of course we wanted to win, we tried very hard, giving our best, but it was not enough. The good thing is that, as a team, we did a solid job. It was a strong weekend.”

Sebastian Vettel: “We did a good job and a good race. I had a very solid start, but in Turn 1 things got a bit messy. I tried to recover, but there was no room and lost some positions in Turn 3. From them on, I had to fight with Renault and Haas and lost some time. However, the car was very good, we had a very good pace and we didn’t have any issues with the tyres; in fact, the car was very good on them, even if I had to manage the Softs for a long stint, which again proves we have made good progress since Barcelona. Obviously, I am happy with the points that we’ve got and the podium, but I am not satisfied 100 per cent, because I think there would have been more up for grabs today, if I hadn’t got the penalty. We were the only cars that could be there with the Mercedes in terms of pace, but in the end, we proved more consistent.”

  • Sebastian Vettel (146 points) leads the Drivers’ Championship from Lewis (145 points) with Valtteri (92 points) in P6

 

  • Ferrari (247 points) lead the Constructors’ Championship by 10 points from Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport (237 points)

 

 

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