Mercedes back on top with Rosberg win in Austria

22 June 2014 02:46

Championship leader Nico Rosberg won the Austrian Grand Prix here Sunday, putting Mercedes back on top in a nail-biting finale with teammate Lewis Hamilton.

The German, clinching his third win this season, managed to hold off Hamilton until the end, with Williams driver Valtteri Bottas taking his first ever podium, in what turned out to be a disastrous home race for Red Bull.

Bottas's teammate Felipe Massa, who had started on pole, was fourth, followed by Ferrari's Fernando Alonso, Sergio Perez of Force India and McLaren's Kevin Magnussen.

The season's eighth race -- and sixth 1-2 finish for Mercedes -- saw the German team extend their lead in the constructors' standings to 301 points, with Red Bull trailing in a distant second place with 143 points.

It also gives Rosberg -- who has never finished off the podium this season -- a 29-point lead on four-win Hamilton in the fierce internal Mercedes battle.

Sunday's race at the Red Bull Ring started with an all-Williams front row after Brazilian Felipe Massa and Bottas put in a superior performance in Saturday's qualifying, depriving Mercedes of pole for the first time this year.

But the German team showed already in the first lap that they were in fighting spirit, with Rosberg briefly coming into second position, while Hamilton jumped from ninth into fourth place after a thundering start.

"It wasn't an easy race. Williams were very quick in the straights so it was hard to fight with them, also in the start. But I had a faster car," the 28-year-old German said afterwards.

"Of course, a 1-2 is also good for the team, I'm happy we achieved that again after the difficult race in Montreal," he added.

The Canadian Grand Prix two weeks ago was the first race this season that did not see Mercedes on top, with Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo instead taking the win.

"I'm extremely happy with the result and it's also great to extend the championship lead which was really my goal coming here to Austria," Rosberg continued.

Hamilton, who spent the end of the race trying to overtake his rival, looked less pleased, noting only that "(to jump) from ninth to second and be pressuring Nico at the end of the race really shows the pace I had this weekend."

- Long way back for Williams -

After taking his first pole position since 2008, Massa had hoped to follow this up with his first win in six years, but this was not to be.

Instead, it was Bottas who brought Williams their first podium in a year, bumping them up to fifth place in the constructors' standings.

"I'm really really happy, I'm just really thankful for the team. It's been a long long way for us since last year," he reacted afterwards.

"The race was exactly what we needed at this point, everything went like planned really. I was good (enough) for the podium this time and I'm so happy."

For Red Bull, which went into this home race fresh from a win in Canada, the day proved a wash-out with Ricciardo finishing eighth.

A disappointing season for reigning four-time champion Sebastian Vettel meanwhile went from bad to worse as he was forced to retire.

Having started in 12th position, he never had a chance as his car came to a complete halt shortly after the start.

He managed to restart but had to call it quits halfway through the race, having also had a minor brush with Sauber's Esteban Gutierrez, which was being investigated.

Toro Rosso's Daniil Kvyat also had to pull out after 26 laps with brake problems, later followed by teammate Jean-Eric Vergne.

Perez posted some of the fastest laps on the track and managed to move up to sixth position after starting in 15th place for causing a crash in Canada with Massa.

The Austrian Grand Prix was making its big comeback this weekend after an 11-year absence.

Some 100,000 spectators watched the show at the historic Spielberg track under blue skies and sunny weather.

Source: AFP