Max Verstappen takes fourth career victory as Mercedes suffer double DNF
By: S. Harding, Xiro Xone News July 1, 2018 Updated: 1:11 PM PT
SPIELBERG, Austria — Red Bull driver Max Verstappen, with over 20,000 of his countrymen present, took his fourth career victory as Mercedes suffered their first double DNF of the season.
Things got off to a wild start as the pole sitter Valtteri Bottas, teammate Lewis Hamilton, and Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen go three wide down into Turn 1 with Raikkonen sandwiched in between the two Mercedes. Hamilton was able to take the inside of Turn 1 and come out ahead of Raikkonen and Bottas.
Raikkonen locked up and ran wide at Turn 3 leaving him to fight for position with Max Verstappen. This allowed Bottas to take Raikkonen on the outside of Turn 4.
Hamilton and Bottas look set for a Mercedes one-two but disaster struck on lap 14 when Bottas suffered a loss of fuel pressure and was forced to retire his car triggering a virtual safety car.
Red bull took advantage of this stacking both of the cars in the pits. However, Mercedes chose to keep Hamilton out costing him a potential win. Later during the race, the head of strategy James Vowles apologized to Hamilton over the radio taking responsibility for the pit mistake.
But, the team would have some more apologizing to do after the reigning world champion would encounter an engine failure and his first DNF of the season.
Kimi Raikkonen finished second after taking the position from Daniel Ricciardo, who was suffering from blistering on his rear left tire. Things would worsen for the Australian as he wiould be forced to retire from the race due to a gearbox failure.
Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel finished third after taking the position from title rival Lewis Hamilton in the closing laps. Vettel started sixth due to a three spot grid penalty he received for impeding another driver. The podium finish helped the German driver retake the lead in the driver’s championship by one point.
Haas had cause to celebrate after Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen finished fourth and fifth with Grosjean scoring his first points since the Japanese Grand Prix last season.
Esteban Ocon and teammate Sergio Perez wrapped up te race in sixth and seventh for Force India ahead of McLaren’s Fernando Alonso who finished eighth after starting the race from the pit lane.
Sauber’s Charles Leclerc, who continues to impress, pulled another points scoring finish in ninth with teammate Marcus Ericsson in tenth.
Outside the top ten, Pierre Gasly was the only Toro Rosso to finish the race in 11th after teammate Brendon Hartley suffered a mechanical failure. Carlos Sainz took 12th with teammate Nico Hulkenberg retiring from the race with a suspected turbo failure after starting tenth.
The Williams pair of Sergey Sirotkin and Lance Stroll finished 13th and 14th with Stoffel Vandoorne, who sustained front wing damage at the start of the race, made the final car on the grid to finish the Austrian Grand Prix in 15th.