|Nico Rosberg leads the Mercedes 1-2 parade home in Austria|
Nico Rosberg dominated the Austrian GP from start to finish for an easy win over his Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton at the Red Bull Ring Sunday. Felipe Massa held off Sebastian Vettel for third to give Mercedes power a 1-2-3 finish.
Sebastian Vettel would have finished third but his Ferrari team could not get the right-rear tire on properly during his pitstop and he lost almost 10 seconds.
His day was still better than his Ferrari teammate Kimi Raikkonen who collided with Fernando Alonso on lap 1 as both former world champions crashed out spectacularly as Alonso's McLaren almost took Raikkonen's head off.
"He was sliding a lot out of Turn 2," said Alonso. "I think there was a big difference between the soft and supersoft tires.
"He started sliding, going left and right, left and right, and I was on the left and at one point he lost the car and I was there.
"It was a bit weird, because if someone hits you on a corner that can happen, but that the cars are sliding so much in fourth and fifth gear was a bit strange.
"This time it happened to him and I was in the wrong place."
[adinserter name="GOOGLE AD"]The safety car was called into action as the safety crews cleaned up the debris and hauled the destroyed cars away. Both drivers walked away unscathed.
With Alonso's McLaren with the new short nose out, the weekend then got worse for the team from Woking when a few laps later Jenson Button retired for the second race in succession.
|Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton congratulate each other|
Rosberg got the jump on polesitter Hamilton in Turn 1 and led pretty much the rest of the way.
With the race resuming after a fairly lengthy safety car period, Rosberg instantly got the hammer down and began to extend his lead, inflating it to almost four seconds before a long lock-up into the hairpin caused a flat-spot and gave Hamilton a glimmer of opportunity when the German pitted for new rubber.
Hamilton did lead two laps when Rosberg pitted first, but Rosberg took over after Hamilton pitted and it was no contest from there.
To make matters worse for Hamilton, he crossed the pit blend line on pit exit and received a 5 second penalty. Had Vettel's Ferrari crew not blown his pitstop, it's possible Vettel could have beaten Hamilton for 2nd after the 5 seconds were added on to Hamilton's finish time.
Vettel finished 9 seconds behind Hamilton, but given the 5 second Hamilton penalty plus the 10 seconds Vettel lost in the pits (total of 15 seconds) and Vettel could have been 2nd instead of 4th.
Nico Rosberg (1st): "Wow, what a day! It feels so great to win again in Austria. It's such a special track – very tricky and with a fantastic crowd. After my mistake yesterday in qualifying I was determined to push really hard to win this race. I had a good start and went into turn one in the lead, which was very important as I knew from past races this year that it's very difficult to overtake the same car on track. After I passed Lewis I was able to control the lead quite comfortably. Towards the end I felt some vibrations on the right front tire but I was able to manage it to the flag. Big thanks to the team for a great car and a perfect race. Now I'm really looking forward to Silverstone, where I have good memories with the pole last year and the win in 2013."
Lewis Hamilton (2nd): "It was a pretty straightforward race. I didn't have the best start. I had a problem with the revs in that, when I came off the throttle, the revs stayed up. So, when I dropped the clutch, I had too much wheel spin and lost ground. That's something we'll look at after the race. Then, I was keeping up with Nico in the first stint – but in the second phase he just had better pace. At the end it was just about bringing it home – but Nico deserved the win so congratulations to him."
Paddy Lowe: "A fantastic result to achieve another 1-2 and particularly so at a home race for Toto and Niki. The start was not ideal for Lewis, so he lost the benefit of pole position. There was no particular issue – Nico just managed to get away slightly better and there was actually not much in it away from the line. After the very early safety car, it then became clear that Nico had a slight pace advantage over Lewis – but more importantly that our car was showing a bigger advantage than we had anticipated over Ferrari. It therefore became more of a battle between our two drivers up until the first round of stops. Lewis, of course, was then handed a time penalty for a very small error. The number of errors that either he or Nico make is very small indeed and I think this highlighted that rarity rather than presenting any cause for concern. From there, it became clear to Lewis that the race win was out of reach barring any dramas, which gave us the luxury of managing the cars home for a great 1-2 finish."
[adinserter name="GOOGLE AD"]Toto Wolff, Mercedes Motorsport Director: "I'm very happy with the result today, especially at my and Niki's home circuit here in Spielberg. It's even more special because we have three Mercedes engines in the top three for the second year in a row; it couldn't be better. Nico drove a brilliant and dominant race today – he got a great start, had the upper hand on pace and made no mistakes at all. Both boys were right on the limit, as you could see when Nico came into the pit lane sideways for his pit stop! As for Lewis, his race boiled down to the start and the pit stop; he lost out off the line, which we will need to analyze, then looked to have a snap oversteer as he left the pit lane and put two wheels over the line. From there, he just brought the car home and managed the gap to Felipe behind. Like in 2014, we are seeing the advantage swing from driver to driver across the races, and I'm sure they'll be battling all the way to the end of the season."
Daniel Ricciardo (10th): "I was pleased with the car during the race. I was trying to push as much as I could towards the end to catch Perez but the boys behind me were fighting for the podium and I had to respect that. I was really happy with the option tire, the balance of the car worked well. To finish tenth is a good result from where we started today. I'm staying on here for a day's testing this week and I hope that despite the bad weather forecast we'll be able to get some useful work done before the next round in Silverstone."
Daniil Kvyat (12th): "It was a very tough race today. The front wing was damaged on the first lap and from then on my race was massively compromised. The bodywork damage affected the grip for the entire race which made the car difficult to drive. I think points were possible today if it hadn't been for the damage, so that's disappointing."
Christian Horner, Sporting Director: "From the grid position that Daniel started from today, it was a strong drive from him to score a point. He effectively ran the race in reverse; running the slower tire at the beginning of the race, and then fitting the softer tire at the stop. Dany after a great start, with what was happening ahead of him, unfortunately made contact with the back of Perez. That caused significant damage to the underside of the car and from there the goal was to make it to the end of the race."
Thierry Salvi, Renault: "The results were pretty much as expected this weekend. We decided with the team to introduce the fifth ICE for both drivers, knowing we would have to take the penalties. We knew that they would make the race hard work and it was, but both drivers never gave up and at least Daniel could score some points. Now we have got the penalties out the way and have the latest spec of ICE on the car we have got a bit of breathing space to deal with the power unit elements for the next races. Silverstone should suit us better."
Felipe Massa (3rd): "I am delighted with the result, the team did a great job and it was a fantastic race. We made the most of the slower Ferrari pitstop and took all the opportunities that came to us to achieve my first podium of the year. The team were pushing me a lot throughout the final stages of the race and I was doing my best to keep Vettel behind. I knew it was not the time to make mistakes and it was amazing to bring it home."
Valtteri Bottas (5th): "It is a good result for the team. I was hoping for a bit more from the race personally. I enjoyed the overtaking that I made, it was just a shame it wasn't further up. Midway through the race I had a brake issue which I had to manage a bit. We have closed the gap to the team in front in the Constructor's Championship which is a good feeling. Well done to Felipe on a great result to get on the podium."
Rob Smedley, Head of Performance Engineering: "Third and fifth is a good result for the team. We wanted to get a podium today and so made the most of the opportunities we were given and we weren't going to let it go once we had it. We have kept quicker cars behind us on three occasions already this season which shows the great race craft the drivers have. Felipe did a great job under such pressure and Valtteri had a strong race with some very solid overtaking maneuvers."
Sebastian Vettel (4th): "The issue during the pit-stop is something that can happen: I had a problem, but generally the guys are the quickest on the pit lane so there's nobody to blame. We are a team and when you push to the limit these things can occur. I would have preferred to get the trophy for third place of course, but we'll come back next year with the same objective. The car was very good, I think we made another step ahead and we had a great pace. This is a very short lap so there's not so much to create, but in the next races there are more high speed corners and we can better show that we're a bit closer even if today's result doesn't show so well. In the last part of the race I've tried to stay close to Felipe, but he was very quick on the straights. Today was a bit disappointing because we've lost the podium, but I'm sure tomorrow it will be better and we'll focus on the next race: the team in Maranello is very committed to this and they're all working hard."
Kimi Raikkonen (DNF, Accident): "I don't know exactly what happened before the crash, I had some wheelspin in an unusual place. I was at a quite high speed, suddenly went left and end up there. I did not see anything coming, everything happened very quickly. Unfortunately at that time my race was over, it has been a poor weekend, now we have to think about next one."
Maurizio Arrivabene, Team Principal: "Which positives can we take from this weekend? Not many, but certainly once more we are aware that Sebastian was the big asset we could get this year, together with a team which is fully committed and now is said to be the second force in the championship. But I'd like us to be the first, and that means we have to commit ourselves beyond what's possible. We must use whatever we have available and try to get as close as we can to our main competitors, taking advantage of their mistakes. Also, as per the time we lost during Seb's unfortunate pit stop, we must work with humbleness: because, even if everything had gone well, that wouldn't have been enough to beat both Mercedes on track. But this only prods us to never give up."
[adinserter name="GOOGLE AD"]Jenson Button (DNF, Sensor failure): "Nothing was broken on my car, but something was wrong – and the switch-changes didn't make any difference. So the team took the decision to retire the car – we'd fitted a brand new engine this weekend, and we didn't want to unnecessarily damage it, so we decided to stop. Silverstone will be another step forward. Hopefully, we'll have got rid of our issues so I can have a stronger race in front of my home crowd. And, after that, Hungary is a circuit that should suit us, so we can get a good result there. In times like these, you've just got to stay positive. Everybody back at the factory listens to our post-race interviews, and both Fernando and I want to keep everyone motivated. We're in a good place, because we know what this package can achieve, so hopefully everyone will continue to stay strong."
Fernando Alonso (DNF, Accident): "I got a good start, and made up a lot of places into Turn One and Turn Two. Kimi ahead of me had started on the Prime tire, and he exited Turn Two with a lot of wheelspin – I went to overtake him and he lost the car to the left, and that's exactly where I was – so we both went into the wall. Luckily, we're both fine. It was a strange incident, because he lost the car in fifth gear, so it must have been very low grip. We just need teamwork to keep us going: our expectations are clearly higher than what we're currently achieving, but we're moving in the right direction. I'm optimistic because I know our fortunes will change very soon."
Eric Boullier, Racing Director: "Murphy's Law famously states 'Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong'; as far as McLaren-Honda is concerned, this afternoon proved it 100 per cent correct. Having been relegated to the very back of the grid owing to a series of penalties, our drivers started today's grand prix in 19th and 20th positions. Before the race was even a lap old, however, Fernando was out, following contact with Kimi's Ferrari. It was a pretty big shunt, so the most important point is that no-one was badly hurt. A few laps later, Jenson's race had come to an end also, as a result of an intake system sensor failure. These are difficult days for all at McLaren-Honda, in Woking as well as in Sakura, but we won't let our heads drop. Okay, I admit it, the going is getting tough; but, guess what, when the going gets tough, the tough get going; well, we're tough, and we'll get going; just you wait and see."
Yasuhisa Arai, Honda: "Austria has been a tough weekend. With such stringent penalties applied, it was always going to be a difficult race today. First and foremost, I am relieved that Fernando is okay. As for Jenson's car, there was an intake system sensor failure, which limited the power, so we elected to retire the car. We know that reliability is still an issue, and it is our priority to improve at every race. We will ready ourselves for Silverstone, including power output updates."
Nico Hulkenberg (6th): "I'm very satisfied with sixth place today. Going into the race we always knew it would be difficult to keep the Williams of Bottas behind me, so bringing the car home in sixth was probably the maximum we could achieve. I had some good wheel-to-wheel battles with him and we swapped places a few times, but it was hard to match their absolute pace. Overall it's been a great weekend: I found a nice rhythm and I have been very happy with the performance of the car. With Checo in the points as well, it's been an excellent weekend for us and we can be proud of what we've achieved. It's an important boost ahead of Silverstone where we hope to make another step forward."
Sergio Perez (9th): "It is a great result for the team to come away with so many points. We've moved up to fifth in the championship and that's an incredible effort by everyone in the team. I had a great start and first lap: the target was to get ahead of Maldonado as he was the first driver on the prime tire and we managed to do that. In the first stint I had a lot of pressure from both the Lotus drivers, but we held strong and the race was looking really good. Unfortunately, we lost some time in a slow pit stop and it was a bit difficult to recover after that, especially as that placed us behind Ericsson and Nasr. The second stint was not very easy because I had some very strong vibrations on the front tires and that cost me some pace. All in all, considering our position on the grid, it was a good race. I think we could have been a couple of places ahead if everything had gone to plan, but it's still a good result."
Robert Fernley, Deputy Team Principal: "To come away from Austria with ten more points and fifth place in the championship is a tremendous result. We've shown good pace all weekend and it's very satisfying to convert that speed into valuable points. Nico drove a very clean and tidy race, and realistically it would have been difficult to have finished higher up the order. The same is true for Sergio who was on the opposite strategy to Nico, but made the progress he needed in the early laps on the soft tires. Despite a slightly lengthy pit stop he was able to recover to ninth place and pick up a couple of points. It means that we remain very well placed ahead of our local race at Silverstone where we plan to introduce the next step for the VJM08."
Max Verstappen (8th): "I'm happy with today's race, I think we did everything we could and had some good fights. I enjoyed every lap to be honest! The car worked really well and especially the last few laps were quite exciting. We were very close to ending in P7, but I'm very happy with P8, it's a great result for the whole team. We've learned more about the tires and I think that the updates we brought are positive, so all in all, everything felt really good in the race today. I'm also happy to have finally scored some more points, especially here at the Red Bull Ring."
Carlos Sainz (DNF, Electrical): "I was really enjoying it out there today, I was having a lot of fun, especially after those first few laps where everything went perfectly. I was just focused on moving forward, targeting the rivals in front. We were doing a very good race but unfortunately, after the pit-stop I ran out of power all of a sudden and my race finished there. It's very disappointing, especially because we had managed to get into the top ten after only a couple of laps and I was very motivated. I think we could've achieved a positive result if this hadn't happened, we certainly had the pace for it!"
Franz Tost, Team Principal: "The race started well for us today. Both drivers managed to do a good start, especially Carlos had a great first lap and moved up to P9. Max's pace was strong and even though he wasn't able to hold Bottas behind, the speed was good throughout the race. Unfortunately we lost some seconds behind Kvyat, which in the end cost us the seventh place as I'm convinced that if that hadn't happened, we could've kept Maldonado behind. In the end Max crossed the line in P8, which means more points for the team, but we can't be totally happy as our direct competitors scored more points than us. Carlos' pace was also good, but unfortunately he had a technical problem which we now have to analyze. Hopefully we can prevent this from happening at the next race in Silverstone. I would also like to say that the car worked very well thanks to the upgrades we brought here, so hopefully we can continue improving on the performance side and finish the race in the points with both cars next time out."
Cedrik Staudohar, Renault: "A very strong race for Max, with a good result on a challenging track. We were able to extract the maximum from the car and he fought hard to earn the points. Unfortunately we had a problem with Carlos' car. It started to lose electrical power and the lap times dropped off too much to remain on track. We will look at why so we can come back strongly in Silverstone."
Pastor Maldonado (7th): "It's great to get another seventh position and the points that come with it. It was a big moment fighting with Max. The super soft tires were very hot so losing their grip and you lose a lot of downforce close to the car ahead, but everything was under control! I wanted to get the position and I think we deserved it. It seems like we're coming into a good time of the season for us so we'll all keep working hard to continue scoring points."
Romain Grosjean (DNF, Gearbox): "Of course it's disappointing to retire from the race. We had good potential after the pit stop and it was good to be able to pass some cars with some side-by-side action. We were P8 when we retired and the car was feeling good. I just lost my gears and there was nothing we could do other than retire. Let's hope our bad luck is behind us as we head to Silverstone confident of showing well again."
Alan Permane, Chief Race Engineer: "That was a very lively end to the race to highlight a fantastic drive from Pastor. He did lose positions at the start, so after that we used a very aggressive strategy to get past Sergio Perez and thereafter Pastor managed the super soft tires very well indeed for almost a half-race distance. This included a great dice with Max Verstappen in the final laps, which Pastor won to take seventh. Romain would have been well up in the points too but suffered from what looks like a gearbox issue so our joy is tempered by the knowledge we have to find and fix whatever issue affected him."
Federico Gastaldi, Deputy Team Principal: "That was a fantastic drive from Pastor to take his second consecutive seventh position this season. It was a tough tactical race where he saved fuel in his first stint then managed his tires, doing everything that was asked of him from the pit wall, plus showing us an incredible bit of car control right at the end too. We are sorry that Romain was unable to make the finish and we will do everything to diagnose and rectify the issue as he too was on course for a great result. Once more, with the pace shown this weekend, we have shown our potential to score strong points in the races ahead."
Roberto Merhi (14th): "I'm very happy with 14th place today, the best result for me and the team so far this season. We have had a strong weekend overall and it was really good to see our improved pace continuing into the race today. It meant that I was able to stay with the cars ahead for quite some time in the first stint, so it was a nice race for me and it feels like I have some real momentum now and also with the car performance. It's a real shame we didn't get both cars to the finish but it's nice to go into the team's home race off the back of a good result. I'm looking forward to Silverstone."
Will Stevens (DNF, Oil Leak): "A really disappointing end to what has been a positive weekend, but as the problem was a result of debris damaging the car, it's just one of those things unfortunately. I just have to take all the positives from here and roll them into the next one, which is of course our home race at Silverstone. We've shown some good pace this weekend, so I hope we can repeat that in two weeks' time."
John Booth, Team Principal: "We are obviously very pleased with Roberto's 14th place finish, which is our best performance of the 2015 season so far and a nice reward for the team's hard work and also Roberto's own progression over the past few races. Sadly, Will was less fortunate today, after a piece of debris from one of the first lap incidents damaged his radiator, causing him to retire just a few corners later. It's a shame, as reliability-wise we have been very strong again all weekend. We will focus on the positives, especially as we have our home Grand Prix to look forward to. It has been good to see the small but discernible steps we have taken with the car in recent weeks and races, so we'll be looking to continue that progress into Silverstone."
Felipe Nasr (11th): "I am disappointed with this result. I struggled a lot with overheating brakes. I was not able to brake properly, therefore it was difficult to defend my position. Looking back from where we started, we expected to be in the points today, and I did everything I could to make it happen. We need to find a solution, as we cannot loose such opportunities."
Marcus Ericsson (13th): "It began at the start with me being too eager and jumping the start. On lap one I went over debris, which destroyed both my front and rear wing. I had an early first pit stop to get a new front wing, but we saw on the data that my pace was compromised. Furthermore, I had an electronic issue, so the car switched off twice, which forced me to restart it again."
Monisha Kaltenborn, Team Principal: "A very disappointing race because we had chances to score points when looking at our grid positions. For Marcus, the race was immediately affected by a jump start and a damaged car. Felipe had huge difficulties with the brakes, which compromised his race pace, so he was not able to keep hold of his position. We now need to find a solution for these issues."
Giampaolo Dall'Ara, Head of Track Engineering: "A day of missed opportunities. Marcus' race was compromised very early on by a jump start, which cost him a drive-through-penalty. Due to a damaged rear wing, he lost downforce which affected the performance of his car. Felipe had issues with the brakes that became severe during the second half of the race. Therefore he could not keep up with the pace, so he was not able to finish the race in the points. A disappointing Sunday for all of us."
Results 71 Laps
|2||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes/ Mercedes||71||4.425s|
|6||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||71||59.700s|
|7||Pastor Maldonado||Lotus/Mercedes||70||1 Lap|
|8||Max Verstappen||Toro Rosso/Renault||70||1 Lap|
|9||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||70||1 Lap|
|10||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||70||1 Lap|
|11||Felipe Nasr||Sauber/Ferrari||70||1 Lap|
|12||Daniil Kvyat||Red Bull/Renault||70||1 Lap|
|13||Marcus Ericsson||Sauber/Ferrari||69||2 Laps|
|14||Roberto Merhi||Marussia/Ferrari||68||3 Laps|
|15||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Renault||35||DNF|
|19||Kimi Raikkonen||Ferrari/Ferrari||0||DNF Collision|
|20||Fernando Alonso||McLaren/Honda||0||DNF Collision|
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