Mercedes-AMG F1's Nico Rosberg took a commanding win at the Red Bull Ring high in the Austrian hills this weekend.
Starting from second on the grid, the German got a great start and was never seriously threatened by teammate Hamilton.
Daniel Ricciardo did his best to recover from a poor qualifying, the Australian hampered by brake problems, finishing ninth despite a ten place penalty and five second stop penalty for an engine change.
PRATICE AND QUALIFYING
Ferrari resumed their Mercedes-harrassing ways in practice, with Vettel topping an eventful wet-dry FP3 on Saturday morning.
The Mercedes did very well in qualifying, with both drivers managing to slide off the road in Q3 but locking out the front row anyway, with Hamilton in the ascendancy.
Ricciardo never really got going, with the spectre of a ten-spot penalty hanging over his head. If he thought that was bad, both McLarens got a full set of penalties, 25 grid places for the pair and an in-race five second penalty to boot.
Daniel Ricciardo had brake trouble, but was sure he could have made Q3 without the drama. He did make Q2 but his new engine sent him rearward again with a penalty.
Raikkonen was the shock of the session, failing to make it out of Q1 and the team wasn't exactly supportive of their man. He ended up in fourteenth, benefiting from the misfortunes of others.
Race day was overcast, with tyre temps the talk of the town. The drivers went to the grid, enthusiastically doing burnouts to warm their rubber.
Rosberg got a great start, Hamilton trying to push him towards the wall and taking the lead. Hamilton attacked at the top of the hill, but he was kept at bay. Vettel had also squeezed a Massa off the grid who also had to fight off Hulkenberg.
The yellow flags flew in sector two as Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen came together on the top straight.
Raikkonen's car got a bit twitchy after the right-hander of turn two and as Alonso was on the outside, they both scraped along the barriers, Alonso's car McLaren climbing up on to the nose of the Ferrari.
Both were unscathed, almost walking arm-in-arm off the track. As the wreckage was cleared, Will Stevens coasted off the track into retirement. Kvyat pitted for a new nose as well after contact, the rest of his race compromised by various damaged parts. He would later describe the race as "hell."
The Safety Car pulled in for the start of lap seven and Rosberg leapt away. Sainz and Grosjean had a gentle wheel-banging moment, which also allowed Perez by the Lotus.
Button pitted to take his five second penalty, unable to do so under the Safety Car. Then retired a lap later.
Max Verstappen was doing well, as he had been all weekend, running in sixth, ahead of Bottas in the Williams. Bottas attacked at turn two on lap 16, nabbing the place back from Verstappen, Mercedes power winning the drag race up the hill.
Hulkenberg held fifth behind Massa, the glow from his Le Mans 24 Hour win looking set to continue.
Romain Grosjean battled both his own car's tendency to try and tip him off the track as well as the dirty air behind Sergio Perez's Force India. The Lotus driver's preparation had been spotty with a car that caused him gearbox trouble on Saturday, masking his true pace.
The yellow flags were out again on lap 22 as Marcus Ericsson's Sauber rolled to a halt on the front straight. The young Swede got it going again and motored away, preventing a Safety Car intervention.
Up front, Rosberg held almost three seconds over teammate Hamilton on lap 23. The Briton wasn't able to make a dent on the lead car, with another second lost over two laps.
The first to pit was Grosjean, attempting to undercut Perez. The other Force India was under attack, this time from Bottas who fired past Hulkenberg, around the outside of turn three.
The German pitted almost straight after to try and jump back ahead. Bottas pitted next time around and the Williams driver found himself right behind the Force India again.
Carlos Sainz's progress was briefly interrupted when he had a slow stop - the front jack man had to return to the car after a problem with the left front. He was on his way, but lost a few seconds. He then got sprung for speeding in pitlane and copped a five second penalty. The car later died on him, ending his race.
His teammate Verstappen came upon the Red Bull of Kvyat - the Russian was on much older tyres and the Toro Rosso sailed by on lap 30. Romain Grosjean followed Verstappen through the next time around.
Rosberg pitted at the end of lap 34, locking up as he fired into pitlane. A good stop saw him rejoin ahead of Perez, nineteen seconds behind Hamilton.
Hamilton's pitted on lap 36, his pit stop was 0.4 seconds slower than Rosberg's. Added to that Rosberg reeled off a super-quick lap to ram home his advantage.
Hamilton then managed to pick up a meaningless five second penalty for running over the blend line coming out of the pit exit. His lead over Massa meant the time added would have no effect unless there was a late Safety Car.
Grosjean's gearbox gave up on him again on that same lap, the Lotus hobbling home with Sebastian Vettel in pursuit. The Ferrari was stationary for far too long, 13 seconds, with a problem on the right rear. Felipe Massa blew by, handing the Williams third.
Massa's teammate continued his stylish race, getting past both Hulkenberg and Maldonado.
Daniel Ricciardo was still out on his original set of prime tyres. The Australian's race livened up for a few moments on lap 51 as Pastor Maldonado closed in to take eighth place, eventually without fuss.
He pitted and took his five second engine-change penalty at the end of lap 51.
Ricciardo's long first sting gave him a bit of latitude with the hard-wearing tyre, meaning both Nasr and Perez were under threat. He got by Nasr easily on lap 61 but went wide and had to fight through the next corner to stay ahead.
Force India told their man Perez that if he thought the tyres could take it, he could continue to push. He had eighth place to save.
Another driver with a place to save was Felipe Massa. Vettel, whose Ferrari had been good all weekend, was rapidly closing on the Brazilian, with less than a second's gap with seven laps to go. Vettel was unable to get by, despite a few good looks at turn three.
Race leader Rosberg complained of a bad vibration in his car, with five laps remaining. He was well ahead of Hamilton, five seconds with four laps remaining. Nevertheless, Rosberg was very nervous, remonstrating with his pitwall about the cause.
Maldonado and Verstappen nearly came together a lap from the end. The Lotus driver was wrong-footed by the young Dutchman, the black car nearly collecting the Toro Rosso at over 300km/h.
The vibration failed to finish the Mercedes of Rosberg, who took the line, still with a good gap back to Hamilton and having lapped everyone up to sixth place. Felipe Massa took his fortieth podium in Formula 1, another good result at the Red Bull Ring for Williams.
Ricciardo brought his car home ninth, a decent result from a weekend that had promised little.
"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," Ricciardo said.
"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."
Formula 1 returns in two weeks for the British Grand Prix.
2015 Austrian F1 GP Results
- Nico Rosberg - Mercedes - 1h30m16.930s
- Lewis Hamilton - Mercedes +11m04.425s
- Felipe Massa - Williams/Mercedes +11m13.198s
- Sebastian Vettel - Ferrari +11m13.806s
- Valtteri Bottas - Williams/Mercedes +11m49.229s
- Nico Hulkenberg - Force India/Mercedes +11m59.700s
- Pastor Maldonado - Lotus/Mercedes +1 Lap
- Max Verstappen - Toro Rosso/Renault +1 Lap
- Sergio Perez - Force India/Mercedes +1 Lap
- Daniel Ricciardo - Red Bull/Renault +1 Lap
- Felipe Nasr - Sauber/Ferrari +1 Lap
- Daniil Kvyat - Red Bull/Renault +1 Lap
- Marcus Ericsson - Sauber/Ferrari +2 Laps
- Roberto Merhi - Marussia/Ferrari +3 Laps
Carlos Sainz - Toro Rosso/Renault
Romain Grosjean - Lotus/Mercedes
Jenson Button - McLaren/Honda
Will Stevens - Marussia/Ferrari
Kimi Raikkonen - Ferrari
Fernando Alonso - McLaren/Honda
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