Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton claimed the victory of the race at the Red Bull Ring in Austria, despite having a last lap clash with teammate Nico Rosberg. The latter had been leading the race onto the final lap but Hamilton got a better exit from turn one when Rosberg began having brake issues. Hamilton got the run up on his teammate and attempted to pass Rosberg but Rosberg was continuing to suffer with brake issues which saw the two make contact twice at turn two. The two Mercedes drivers went into turn two side by side with Hamilton slightly ahead, Rosberg attempted to reclaim the position but hit the side of his teammate. The contact broke the front wing of Rosberg’s car which saw the German driver drop down to fourth place when he took the chequered flag after limping his way around the last lap. Rosberg was promoted into the lead of the race after a pit strategy after he started from sixth on the grid. It was looking likely to be a Mercedes one-two finish before the two drivers collided on the final lap of the race.
Whilst the Mercedes duo fought Max Verstappen drove fantastically and only had to do one pit stop on lap fifteen during the race to claim second place. The Red Bull Racing driver was leading for a few laps after the Mercedes pair had made their second stop of the race but both Rosberg and Hamilton had better grip around the circuit than Verstappen and managed to pass the young driver.
Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen closed the gap between himself and Verstappen during the final few laps of the race and took the flag whilst chasing Verstappen’s tail to claim the final podium step. The Ferrari driver lost out to Verstappen during the pit stops. Rosberg limped his way round the final lap to take the flag with a broken front wing although he was under investigation for continuing around the circuit with a damaged and potentially quite dangerous car. Daniel Ricciardo brought the second of the Red Bull Racing cars home in fifth place after overtaking McLaren-Honda’s Jenson Button with just a few laps of the race remaining. The McLaren-Honda driver was delighted to have taken his best finish of the season so far with a sixth place after running second early on in the race. Once the DRS was available for drivers he was soon shuffled down the order to finish in sixth.
Romain Grosjean took a points finish for the Haas F1 team down in seventh despite taking a five second time penalty for speeding in the pit lane. Carlos Sainz Jr recovered from an engine failure in qualifying to finish eighth during the race for the Scuderia Toro Rosso team. Sergio Perez was running eighth on the penultimate lap of the race until the Sahara Force India driver ended his own race in the barriers after what seemed to be a failure of some sort in the car. Due to him retiring this promoted Valtteri Bottas into ninth place in his Williams Martini Racing car. He was only just about able to keep Pascal Wehrlein behind him on track. The latter got a poor start but was able to take a points finish when he crossed the flag in tenth, his second points finish so far.
Esteban Gutierrez narrowly missed out on a points finish for the Haas F1 team after finishing in eleventh. Renault Sport F1’s Jolyon Palmer finished in twelfth place, his best result since the opening race of the season in Australia. Felipe Nasr was running in seventh for the Sauber team but he fell to thirteenth by the time he crossed the line to take the chequered flag. After Manor Racing scored a point, this relegates the Swiss team down to the bottom of the team’s championship standings as they are yet to score a point. Kevin Magnussen was fourteenth in the second Renault Sport car after serving a five second penalty for gis second pit stop for excessively defending his track position from Wehrlein in the early stages of the race on the run to turn two. The stewards decided this because Magnussen made more than the one allowed move to keep Wehrlein behind him. The final two competitors to complete the race were Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson and Manor Racing’s Rio Haryanto.
After starting from second on the grid Nico Hülkenberg dropped down the order during the early stages of the race when he was struggling with the level of grip he was able to find in his Force India car on the Austrian circuit. He went on to retire from the race with just a few laps remaining and he knew he was not in contention to finish in the points. The German driver also had to serve a five second time penalty for speeding in the pit lane. Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa also retired in the pit lane in the final few laps of the race, both drivers had dropped too far back to be in contention to take a points finish with Massa having started the race from the pit lane after damage was found on his car after qualifying.
The main retirement that fans were shocked about was that of Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel who was in the lead of the race until his right rear Supersoft Pirelli tyre exploded on the front straight which sent him into a spin, making contact with the inside barrier which sent him flying back across the track. Due to this incident the safety car was deployed to allow marshals and recover teams to recover the car and clean up the circuit of debris. Daniil Kvyat was the first driver to retire which occurred within the first few laps of the race, the Scuderia Toro Rosso driver pulled his car off the circuit at turn one in the opening stage of the race.
©Fay Tilley 3rd June 2016.