Austrian GP | Bottas defends his victory

by H. Mayor – photo: | The best part of the Austrian Grand Prix was probably the start. First it was the nearly illegal start of Valtteri Bottas, which had to be verified after Vettel complained. Secondly, Kvyat’s breakthrough which ended up with Fernando Alonso and Max Verstappen out after a sequence of crashes. Right from the start Lewis Hamilton started his climb up from eighth to his fourth finishing position just short of the podium which once more was claimed by Ricciardo. Force India keeps on moving forward and Grosjean finished sixth after a fantastic but tense race. Bottas’ success overshadows Sebastian Vettel’s advances who is now 20 points above Hamilton in the fight for the Championship title.

Did Bottas jump start? “I am convinced he did, I can’t get it out of my head”, Vettel claimed at the end of the race, an ironic turn of events after his own contesting of the organisation’s ruling against him in his affair with Hamilton two weeks ago. The race judges estimated that the Finnish man’s reaction time was within the legal range by one millisecond ( 0,201 seconds), which saved him from a 10 second sanction that would have changed the order of things.

Besides this, Bottas’ performance was exceptional as he kept a solid leadership throughout and having demonstrated a steady growth over the last few weeks. He is now only 15 points away from an erratic Hamilton and his trajectory questions the pre-established order of leading and secondary positions within Mercedes.

Solid Vettel

Despite his qualms and in the midst of last weeks doubts, Vettel also showed a very solid performance aided nonetheless by a disappointing weekend for Hamilton. Seb chased Bottas for the whole race but never quite reached the threatening point that could have pushed him to fight for the win. He waited for a mistake that never came and decided to secure a risk free second position.

His second place however, is worth double considering Hamilton only managed fourth. Lewis climbed fiercely back from eight until he was faced with Ricciardo who was seen brandishing the widest smile of the grid at the end of the race. The Australian driver got his fifth consecutive podium and now stands at just 29 points from Bottas but well above the increasingly disappointing Raikkonen. Ferrari’s Finnish driver is once more not of great help to Vettel (unlike Bottas) and is watching closely the advances of Force India, especially after the spectacular race of Checo Perez.  

Lower down the line the sixth position of Grosjean also made headlines. The Williams’ cars also got some points and Vandoorne was relieved after his Honda engine allowed him to cross the finish line at least, even if only at the competitive level of the Saubers. Fernando Alonso didn’t give his engine a chance to fail after crashing out on the third lap. Carlos Sainz didn’t make it much further either.

Video: Did Bottas jump start?

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