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Rosberg readier than ever as Hamilton fightback falls short



31 MAR - 03 APR 2016


Round 8 of 19


Red Bull Ring, Spielberg
Formerly known as the Oesterreichring and, in shorter configuration, the A1-Ring;
71 x 4.326km

Who was on Pole?

Felipe Massa • Williams Mercedes • 1:08.759 = 226.495 km/h
The Brazilian’s first pole since Brazil in 2008
His 16th F1 pole position
The first Williams front-row lock-out since Germany 2003
First pole for a car other than a Mercedes in 2014

Who won?

Nico Rosberg • Mercedes • 1hr 27m 54.976s = 209.531 km/h
Third win of the season for the German
Seventh win of 2014 for the Silver Arrows

Who took all the points?

1st (25) Rosberg • Mercedes
2nd (18) Hamilton • Mercedes
3rd (15) Bottas • Williams Mercedes
4th (12) Massa • Williams Mercedes
5th (10) Alonso • Ferrari
6th (8) Perez • Force India Mercedes
7th (6) Magnussen • McLaren Mercedes
8th (4) Ricciardo • Red Bull Renault
9th (2) Hulkenberg • Force India Mercedes
10th (1) Raikkonen • Ferrari

Who got Fastest Lap?

Sergio Perez • Force India Mercedes • 1:12.142 = 215.874 km/h on lap 59

Race Highlights

The action couldn’t quite match the spectacular surroundings as F1 returned to Austria for the first time in 11 years but both Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton did their best with superb starts, Hamilton in particular coming from ninth on the grid to P4 by the end of the first lap.

The renamed Red Bull Ring couldn’t find a champion of its own as Sebastian Vettel suffered a loss of drive on the opening laps, recovered to run a lap down but eventually pitted to retire after 36 laps. Vettel also escaped punishment when the stewards investigated a coming-together with Perez’s Force India that left the World Champion with damage to his front wing. Teammate Dan Ricciardo couldn’t reproduce his Montreal magic but did fire in a superb pass on Hulkenberg on the final lap to claim eighth place.

Williams were never confident of hanging on to the advantage gained in an opportunistic qualifying performance but Valtteri Bottas kept his head admirably to come home third for his first F1 podium ahead of polesitter Felipe Massa. The team refused to be suckered into a knee-jerk reaction when the Mercedes drivers pitted first, but Massa was the main loser as the first round of stops unfolded and was always on a comeback drive after that.

Was it slower pit stops that cost Hamilton the win? Both times his teammate’s crew was just that little bit slicker and in the end the gap was just too much for Hamilton to cap off a superb comeback drive of his own after a qualifying disaster.

Fernando Alonso briefly threatened to catch at least one of the Williams cars in the closing stages but the Ferrari challenge ran out of steam after the Spaniard had briefly led a race for the first time in 2014 during the second wave of pit stops.

With Massa fourth, the other man involved in the big last-lap Montreal accident, Sergio Perez, also fought back well to bring his Force India Mercedes home in sixth pace, helped by a 30-lap opening stint on Pirelli’s soft tyre compound.

Drive of the Day

Let’s split it between the winner and the man who came third. Bottas, Finland’s latest F1 hero, underlined his reputation for having an old head on young shoulders by taking the fight in mid-race to the two Mercedes, then realizing he didn’t quite have the tools to do the job and settling for a splendidly controlled podium finish. “The race was exactly what we needed at this point,” he said. “Clean, nice, and the cars were everything we wanted.”

Rosberg meanwhile – whose overalls carry a German message meaning ‘Ready like never before’ – made his intentions clear with a blinding start, bided his time before moving into the lead and overcame a couple of scrappy laps near the finish to maintain his 100% podium record in 2014 and extend his World Championship lead to 29 points. “It wasn’t the easiest of days,” he said, “trying to manage things which were a bit on the limit on the car…”

Who’s leading?

1 Rosberg 165 points br> 2 Hamilton 136 points br> 3 Ricciardo 83 points br> 4 Alonso 79 points br> 5 Vettel 60 points br> 6 Hulkenberg 59 points

Mercedes now have 301 points, Red Bull 143 points and Ferrari 98 points

Quote of the weekend

Brazil is the focus of world attention right now, with emotions at fever pitch during the World Cup. Brazilian Felipe Massa has always worn his heart on his sleeve, a man who helps give F1 a human face, and it was no different when he claimed his first pole position since his home race in 2008: “It’s a special day! After a long time that I couldn’t be in this place, hopefully this is the beginning of some great possibilities. It’s an incredible moment for me, but the whole team is feeling this too. The team has a great history and we continue to build on that. Today is a day I won’t forget and it’s the first time my son has seen me get pole. So emotions are high, it makes a father feel nice.”

Where do we go next?

To Britain for Round 9 at the Silverstone circuit, Silverstone, on July 6

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