Austrian GP: Bottas dominates to emerge as a championship contender
Valtteri Bottas's second Grand Prix puts him 35 points behind Sebastian Vettel. (Image Credit; Sutton Images)

Austrian GP: Bottas dominates to emerge as a championship contender

Valtteri Bottas takes his second win, from Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo. Lewis Hamilton fourth, as Lance Stroll takes points again. Max Verstappen and Fernando Alonso eliminated in first corner incident.

jake-nichol
Jake Nichol

Valtteri Bottas just held off a late charge from Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel to take his second Formula 1 win in the Austrian Grand Prix. 

Bottas, from pole survived an FIA investigation into a potential jump start, to dominate the race, only coming under pressure in the closing stages from Vettel, akin to Bottas's first win in Russia earlier this season.

Daniel Ricciardo was elated to take a home podium for Red Bull in third, coming out on top, after Bottas's Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton tried to pass for the final podium spot, to no avail in the tense final laps. 

Kimi Raikkonen was essentially hung out to dry by Ferrari, after Hamilton had made his stop, and the Finn could only muster fifth place, while Romain Grosjean scored Haas's best result of the season, with a deserved sixth place finish, taking eight points. 

The top 10 was rounded out by the Force India and Williams duo, with Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon taking seventh and eighth respectively, while Felipe Massa led home Lance Stroll, the latter scoring points for the third consecutive race. 

Kvyat eliminates Verstappen and Alonso

At lights out, Bottas's getaway was questioned by Vettel, with a reaction time of 0.201s. Rightly so, the stewards soon came to the conclusion that Bottas had no case to answer. 

Max Verstappen's season went from bad to worse, as he bogged down on the line with a clutch issue, which put him out of position going into Turn 1. 

On the outside, the Red Bull was soon hit from behind, by Fernando Alonso's McLaren, who, in turn, had been whacked by a late braking Daniil Kvyat in the Toro Rosso.

Verstappen, on the outside, is taken out by Alonso, who was taken out by Kvyat. (Image Credit: Sutton Images)
Verstappen, on the outside, is taken out by Alonso, who was taken out by Kvyat. (Image Credit: Sutton Images)

Verstappen tried to limp home, but was told by his race engineer to retire the car, while Alonso did make it back, but there was too much damage to the rear of the MCL32. 

At Turn 4 on the opening lap,Ricciardo made a move up the inside of Raikkonen's Ferrari, for third, and evantually settled into a lonely race, before the late charge from Hamilton. 

By the end of lap eight, Hamilton had got past both Grosjean and Perez, while Raikkonen was back into fourth, having been passed by Grosjean when the SF70-H was forced wide by Ricciardo, when he had made his move. 

Hamilton triggers the stops

After 20 laps of trying to chase down Raikkonen, who was struggling with trying to find the right settings on the steering wheel, Mercedes brought Hamilton in for a set of ultra-soft tyres on lap 31, which would take him to the end. 

Ferrari did intend to bring Raikkonen in to cover Hamilton, but realised that the Finnish driver would have lost position had they done so, electing to keep him out. 

Red Bull did cover Hamilton with Ricciardo on lap 33, with the Australian, emerging just ahead of the Brit, which turned out to be when Ricciardo sealed his fifth podium in a row. 

By lap 41, both Bottas and Vettel had pitted for the super-soft tyres, which left Raikkonen in the lead, on badly worn tyres. 

At Turn 4 on lap 44, with DRS and fresher rubber, Bottas eased past Raikkonen, who boxed at the end of the lap, leaving the Mercedes in the lead with 27 laps until the flag. 

Hamilton was complaining of blistering on his ultra-soft tyres, but was still pumping in good lap times, which included the fastest lap of the race, and the new race lap record for the Red Bull/A1 Ring, eclipsing Michael Schumacher's 2003 V10 era record. 

Bottas just holds on

As the leaders began to make their way through the back-markers, who were actually fighting for the lower points paying positions, they began to close, with Vettel and Hamilton in second and fourth, both rapidly closing in on Bottas and Ricciardo in first and third. 

The penultimate lap was as close as it got for Hamilton and Ricciardo, with the Mercedes trying around the outside of Turn 4 after a superior exit out of Turn 3, but Ricciardo came back to defend his position. 

Meanwhile, Vettel lost time while lapping Perez through the infield section, just falling 0.658s short. 

Palmer falls short

After a torrid season thus far, Jolyon Palmer had his best weekend of the season, coming home in 11th place, just behind Stroll in the Williams. 

Dropping out in Q1 on Saturday, both Williams drivers felt the new upgrades brought to the FW40 had made it unstable, but they bounced back to take a double points finish, with Massa doing a long first stint on soft tyres to haul himself into contention for points. 

Nico Hulkenberg was 13th for Renault, with Stoffel Vandoorne 12th for McLaren, despite receiving a drive-through penalty for ignoring blue-flags. 

Starting from the pit-lane, Pascal Wehrlein beat Sauber team-mate Marcus Ericsson for 14th place, while Kvyat received a drive-through for the incident at the start and also the wooden spoon, coming home last, three laps down. 

Retirements 

As well as Verstappen and Alonso, Kevin Magnussen was forced to retire after 29 laps, when chasing Stroll after his gearbox and hydraullics failed on his Haas. 

Carlos Sainz Jr was the other non-finisher, with Toro Rosso retiring him on lap 44. 

2017 Austrian Grand Prix - Classification
Position Driver Team Time/Gap Points
1st Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:21:48.527s 25
2nd Sebastian Vettel Ferrari +0.658s 18
3rd Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull +6.012s 15
4th Lewis Hamilton  Mercedes +7.430s 12
5th Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari +20.370s 10
6th Romain Grosjean Haas +1:13.160s 8
7th Sergio Perez Force India + 1 lap 6
8th Esteban Ocon Force India  + 1 lap 4
9th Felipe Massa Williams + 1 lap 2
10th Lance Stroll  Williams + 1 lap 1
11th Jolyon Palmer Renault + 1 lap 0
12th Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren + 1 lap 0
13th Nico Hulkenberg Renault + 1 lap 0
14th Pascal Wehrlein Sauber + 1 lap 0
15th Marcus Ericsson Sauber + 2 laps 0
16th Danill Kvyat Toro Rosso + 3 laps 0
DNF Carlos Sainz Jr Toro Rosso Mechanical/Engine 0
DNF Kevin Magnussen Haas Hydraullics 0
DNF Fernando Alonso McLaren Accident damage 0
DNF Max Verstappen Red Bull Accident damage  0

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