Verstappen wins in Austria as Vettel grabs F1 lead

Florence Fletcher
July 9, 2018

"To win around the Red Bull Ring with all the Dutch fans here is incredible".

Hamilton was unhappy before his late retirement complaining to his team that "we've just thrown away a win", by bungling the timing of a tyre change.

While Daniel Ricciardo was put out of contention early on with a heavily blistered left rear supersoft tyre, before an exhaust failure sidelined the Aussie permanently, Verstappen made his tyres last, skillfully treading cautiously in the corners that mattered in terms of degradation and upping the pace elsewhere.

"The auto came very good but we just ran out of the laps - we took it easy too long", Raikkonen said.

"Max had a great first lap", he added. "Very consistent. No mistakes".

Raikkonen said: "I had to back off at turn one because the cars were squeezed together".

At the start, Raikkonen made a rapid departure from third to dive between the two Mercedes as Bottas struggled uphill and Hamilton took the initiative.

"From my side I felt in control, I was driving to the best I could with the vehicle I had and at the end we were struggling a little more than Ferrari with the tyre blistering but we managed to stay ahead".

Raikkonen grabbed second, but then ran off at Turn Two giving fellow-Finn Bottas a chance to recover second on the straight in a frantic opening lap.

Leader Hamilton stayed out - unsure whether the chasing bunch would follow him in or not - but was the only major player to stay on track.

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"My gearbox is gone", he told the team.

"It was tougher than it looked because I had to be on top of my tyres", said Verstappen.

Despite still being hampered by its Renault power unit, which has failed to close the gap to Mercedes and Ferrari, Red Bull has still been able to stay competitive this season.

"This is James, I have thrown away the win today", replied Vowles.

He was passed by Ricciardo for the place on lap nine, but a solid stint on the soft-compound tyre after his pit stop ensured he could capitalise on the misfortune around him and guarantee his fifth podium of the season.

At the front, Verstappen led his Red Bull team-mate Ricciardo by 4.9 seconds with Raikkonen third, a second down, and Hamilton a further six-tenths adrift.

"We have got the best guys in the pitlane without any shadow of a doubt".

It was clear that tyre wear was emerging as a critical factor.

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

The race-winning Australian, who turned 29 last Sunday, is out of contract at the end of the year and has been mulling over his options for months.

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