Valtteri Bottas roared to the second victory of his career on Sunday when he won the Austrian Grand Prix for Mercedes ahead of championship leader Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari.
The Finn, in his first season with Mercedes after replacing 2016 champion Nico Rosberg, came home 0.658 seconds clear of Vettel who increased his lead ahead of Lewis Hamilton in the drivers championship to 20 points.
Hamilton, in the second Mercedes, did his utmost to grab a podium finish after starting from eighth on the grid, but had to settle for fourth behind Australian Daniel Ricciardo of Red Bull.
For Ricciardo, on his team’s ‘home’ Red Bull Ring circuit, it was a fifth consecutive podium finish and the 22nd of his career.
Vettel now leads the drivers championship with 171 points ahead of Hamilton on 151 and Bottas on 136, while in the constructors title race Mercedes lead with 287 ahead of Ferrari on 254.
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DRIVER OF THE DAY
Valtteri Bottas produced an inspirational performance to win his second F1 race after 87 attempts.
Starting on pole, the Finn managed his race perfectly and never looked in doubt on his ultra soft tyres.
With Sebastian Vettel breathing down his neck on the final frenetic laps, Bottas stayed composed to seal a fifth win for Mercedes this season.
Lewis Hamilton had a mixed weekend in Austria after topping the timesheets in both FP1 and FP2 on Friday.
Despite finishing just outside a podium place in fourth, the three-time world champion clocked the fastest lap of 1:07.411 on lap 69.
Daniel Ricciardo – who claimed a fifth successive podium – proved the second-fastest, with Kimi Raikkonen’s 1:07.486 on lap 68 coming in third as he tried to push Hamilton for fourth spot.
Max Verstappen was forced to retire for the fifth time this season after a collision on the first lap caused by Daniil Kvyat.
It was disappointing to see the Red Bull driver withdraw again, especially after starting fourth on the grid and looking like he could potentially fight for a podium place.
ONE TO WATCH
It was another scintillating performance from Lance Stroll as he rose from P18 to finish in 10th place.
It’s the Canadian driver’s third time registering points this season after a stunning podium in Baku two weeks ago.
Stroll was instrumental, overtaking Kevin Magnussen and Carlos Sainz to confirm his place in the points alongside teammate Felipe Massa who finished 9th.