Lewis Hamilton’s win cuts the gap to 11 points at the top
(Photo from: www.dailymail.co.uk)
Lewis Hamilton won the Austrian Grand Prix in dramatic fashion following a collision with teammate Nico Rosberg on the final lap. The clash occurred as the duo battled for the lead heading up to turn 2, Hamilton found himself outside, however he was forced off track as Rosberg outbraked himself and made no attempt to make the corner. Rosberg eventually finished fourth with a severely damaged car, behind the Red Bull of Max Verstappen and Kimi Räikkönen.
With Hamilton winning, it means the Brit cuts the gap at the top of the standings to 11 points.
Hamilton started the race from pole after an exciting qualifying which saw the top 10 shootout take place on a drying track following a down poor towards the end of qualifying 2. Nico Rosberg were both handed grid penalties for gearbox changes, which promoted Nico Hulkenburg into second position and Jenson Button a hugely impressive third. Kimi Räikkönen started fourth completing the top 2 rows with Daniel Ricciardo and Nico Rosberg on row 3.
Race day and as the lights went out it was Hamilton who got the best start with Button moving into second and Räikkönen third. It was the first time in 2016 that Hamilton had got to the first corner first after starting on pole and he quickly developed a lead over the pack and chose an alternate strategy to those around him, opting to stretch his ultra-soft tyres to lap 21 laps.
After starting sixth, Rosberg made steady progress making his way up to fifth by the end of the first lap and pitted on lap 10 for soft tyres. Although he rejoined 13th and 30 seconds behind Hamilton, he quickly moved up the order and by the time the Brit pitted, he was just under 22 seconds away. However after a slow pitstop following issues with the left rear tyre, Hamilton returned to the action a few seconds behind Rosberg, with the duo both on soft tyres.
A lap later and Raikkonen was in the pits, having started on super soft tyres rather than the ultra-softs, however a poor decision from Ferrari left him sixth, behind the two Red Bulls. It went from bad to worse for Ferrari on lap 26 as while in the lead Sebastian Vettel’s left rear tyre blew on the pit straight, sending him spinning into the pitwall and across the track, eventually coming to a stop on the edge of the circuit and retiring from the race.
While the debris was cleared, the safety car was deployed, and at the restart the Mercedes soon pulled away from Verstappen in third. Both Mercedes would stop again following the issues Vettel had, with Hamilton pitting first with 19 laps to go for a set of used soft tyres. It was another slow stop and a slight error at turn 2 enabled Rosberg would maintain the lead when he pitted for super-soft tyres a lap later.
The duo then had to battle past the one stopping Verstappen, before battling for the lead which ended in their last lap contact. The stewards would eventually find Rosberg to be at fault and handed the German a 10 second penalty for causing a collision. Behind the top four Daniel Ricciardo finished fifth followed by Button who came home an impressive sixth. Romain Grosjean returned to points coring ways for Haas in seventh with Carlos Sainz and Valtteri Bottas eighth and ninth.
However rounding out the top 10 was the very impressive Pascal Wehrlein who scored points for Manor, for only the second time in the team’s history, a fantastic achievement.
It was a fantastic race from start to finish, this weekend sees the championship head to Silverstone for the British Grand Prix.