Verstappen wins in Austria as Vettel grabs lead in standings

Tanya Simon
July 9, 2018

"We have thrown away the win".

Vettel leads the title race with 146 points ahead of Hamilton on 145, Raikkonen on 101 and Ricciardo on 96. Raikkonen is 45 points behind Vettel in third.

"I told Max he had a very good race", said Vettel.

Hamilton reeled off two fastest laps, but it was asking too much as Mercedes' unbeaten four-year run in Austria, and his own race, came to an end when he pulled up on lap 64 after losing power. During this time a Virtual Safety Car came out for one lap, and Hamilton did not pit while those immediately behind him did.

Having dropped to fourth, Hamilton then had to park his auto on the 64th lap, seven short of the finish. "I've got no time left on these tyres".

"At that stage we were all in pain at the mistake we made and James coming on to the radio is the mindset that we had to say that we have done a mistake in order to close the matter. We were the quickest".

The decision, which meant Hamilton's next stop dropped him to fourth, led to heated radio messages from the Englishman, who later retired with a fuel issue as Max Verstappen won a chaotic race. Red Bull, running third and fifth at the time, stopped their two drivers for fresh soft tyres, whereas the rest of the leading runners remained on mediums.

"I think the vehicle should be good there".

Asked what Mercedes now have to do to recover, Wolff said: "Jump on the plane and go to England and be in the factory at 8am and get everybody together and analyse what went wrong".

"Up until now we've not really had a lot of development parts on the auto".

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While all the mayhem was happening behind him, Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) just drove away from the rest and was never challenged, having collected pole position in Qualifying.

His exit brought out the virtual safety vehicle, slowing down the pace and disallowing overtaking.

Mercedes have dominated the sport since 2014, but mistakes are creeping in under the fiercer competition provided by both Ferrari and Red Bull this year.

"It's my mistake. Do what you can", replied Mercedes strategist James Vowles. "This is going to be the story of the season", added the Austrian.

On lap 53, he pitted again for super-softs, dropping a place to fifth behind Ricciardo, who nearly immediately slowed and stopped.

"Obviously it would have been nice to start further up". While Hamilton was forced to drive at a controlled speed on the track, Vettel was able to pit, run at normal speed in the pit lane, and re-emerge on to the circuit in the lead of a race he went on to win.

"For the first 13 laps, it looked good, with both drivers in control and managing the pace well. A positive day but it could have been better".

Last weekend in France, we were reminded of how unpredictable the F1 can be.

"I think Austria should be a fairly decent track". It features just nine turns and four long straights, with inclines of up to 12 percent.

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