Dominance rewarded as Nico Rosberg wins the Austrian Grand Prix

Nico Rosberg wins the Austrian Grand Prix at the Red Bull Ring ahead of Hamilton and Massa.

After a storming start, Rosberg prevents Hamilton from converting pole to victory at the Austrian Grand Prix. A dominant performance from Rosberg ensured he stretched into the distance and away from his team-mate throughout the race, leaving Hamilton as nothing more than a dot in his mirrors. But the race failed to get off to a clean start when Raikkonen and Alonso crashed out after just the second corner.

When the race got underway, Rosberg instantly snatched the lead from pole sitting Hamilton on the run down to turn one after a great launch. The two then set out on a short duel for the lead but their fight was brought to an end before the third corner when the safety car was brought out.

As Raikkonen made his way out of the second corner he found himself getting drifting to the outside of the track after spinning the wheels. Unfortunately the space was occupied by Fernando Alonso and the two made contact, sending them both into the barrier. Dangerously with Alonso getting pushed into the barrier he was pushed upwards and over the front wheel of the Ferrari and dangled over the cockpit. Luckily Kimi had moved his hands out of the way to prevent any injuries to his hands.

Alonso’s retirement from the back of the field meant he would not have to serve his drive through penalty following his engine change. Whereas his team-mate remained on circuit and Button hit the pitlane immediately upon the restart to serve his 10-second stop-go penalty. Jenson also had pitted under the safety car to switch onto the soft tyres after going through his team-mate’s debris, as he planned to go the rest of the race on the one set of tyres.

At the restart Rosberg bolted away from Hamilton to cover off the immediate danger with the fastest lap of the race. Whereas for Button, his race was over as once he returned to the track after serving his penalty his engine gave up to bring McLaren’s race to an end after just nine laps.

While McLaren cleared the garage for Button’s car, the stewards were handing Marcus Ericsson a drive-through penalty for jumping the start of the race. And while he fell back down the order, Hamilton was falling away from Rosberg who stretched out his lead even more.

Like Jenson, it appeared Ericsson would be another name on the DNF list after he completed his drive through penalty. But miraculously he managed to get his Sauber running again after a full system restart down the pit straight.

But while he set about catching Merhi in his Manor-Marussia to move out of last place, Bottas was battling Hulkenberg for fifth place. And at turn three Valtteri darted around the outside of the Le Mans 24hr winner to gain the position before they both pitted and the Finn had the work to do all over again after exiting the pit lane behind the German.

Another German hitting the pits was the race leading Rosberg as Hamilton began to edge into Nico’s advantage. Knowing he would lose time on his out lap, Rosberg attacked the pits hard and locked up while getting down to the pit lane speed limit.

Luckily for him, Hamilton’s pit was four tenths slower and once Nico’s tyres were up to temperature, he set yet another new fastest lap. Yet even those would not affect the outcome of the race as Hamilton received a 5-second stop go penalty for crossing the white line when he left the pit lane.

Hamilton however held more than a strong enough advantage over Massa and Vettel to ensure he would at least claim second so long as he kept his car on track without any issues. Vettel similarly had been running a smooth and lonely race until he pitted when a slow rear-right stop caused him to sit in his box for 13 seconds, allowing Massa to sneak bye.

As the laps ticked on and Vettel clawed his Ferrari closer and closer to the rear of Massa’s Williams, Sebastian’s old team’s struggles continued to push home hard. For Kvyat any chance of getting his Red Bull into the points were taken away when he had to pit for a second time unlike his team-mate, as Ricciardo lasted 50 of the 71 laps on the one set of soft tyres.

Before pitting, Ricciardo had been running in eight place but he was forced to relinquish that spot to Maldonado after a strong defence failed to prevent the overtake on the run down to turn two. But with the supersoft tyres on when the track was at its best, Ricciardo set after Nasr and Perez for the lower point scoring positions.

It was not long either before he latched onto the Sauber of Nasr for tenth place and on the way into turn three with the aid of DRS, Ricciardo made his way ahead. Nasr attempted to defend the position but his attempt came to nothing and Ricciardo soon pulled away from the Brazilian as his fellow Brazilian, Massa, came into shot.

Felipe Massa was bolting down the straight in a bid to prevent Vettel from getting within DRS range in the fight for third. But as the laps continued to tick down, Vettel latched onto the rear of the Williams and ate away at the gap with every corner and attacked at every chance.

But his attacks came to nothing and was forced to take the flag six tenths down on Massa who claimed his first podium of the year.

Hamilton had clawed his way back to three seconds behind Rosberg on the final lap as the race winner’s front tyres began to heavily degrade. But traffic slowed his halt and with the time penalty ended the race almost nine seconds behind his team-mate.

Further back Maldonado managed to hold on to seventh place from Verstappen who made a late chop in a bid to snatch the position on the final lap. Ricciardo meanwhile finished the race in 10th place, three seconds down on Perez in ninth.

But the winner in Austria was Nico Rosberg who gains seven championship points over Hamilton as the battle between the two tightens up once again.

Position Driver Gap Points
1 Rosberg WINNER 25
2 Hamilton 8.800 18
3 Massa 17.573 15
4 Vettel 18.181 12
5 Bottas 53.604 10
6 Hulkenberg 64.075 8
7 Maldonado 1L 6
8 Verstappen 1L 4
9 Perez 1L 2
10 Ricciardo 1L 1
11 Nasr 1L
12 Kvyat 1L
13 Ericsson 2L
14 Merhi 2L
15 Grosjean DNF
16 Sainz DNF
17 Button DNF
18 Stevens DNF
19 Raikkonen DNF
20 Alonso DNF