Sunday, 22 June 2014

Rosberg leads Mercedes 1-2 in Austria but Williams collect their first podium of the year as Bottas finishes third to take his first F1 podium

(Mercedes AMG F1 Team)

Mercedes Nico Rosberg has extended his championship lead over team-mate Lewis Hamilton to 29 point's after claiming his third win of the season at the Red Bull Ring today leading home Hamilton to claim the Brackley based outfit's fifth 1-2 finish of the season. The Brackley based squad are now 158 point's clear of Red Bull Racing at the top of the championship.

It was a fantastic weekend for the Williams Martini Racing Team who started the race with both cars on the front row ended the race with Valtteri Bottas picked up his first ever Formula One podium with a fantastic third place finish and in doing so picked up the Grove based outfit's first podium finish of the season.

Felipe Massa, who started the race from pole position had a great race despite a tough first pit-stop and finished the race in fourth place giving the team a massive haul of point's. The team now move ahead of McLaren into fifth place in the Constructors championship. 

Fernando Alonso did a good job for Ferrari to finish the race in fifth place just ahead of Sahara Force India's Sergio Perez who did a superb job to make his way through the field from 16th on the grid to finish the race in 6th place. The Mexican said:

'Today we got a very positive result for the team, especially considering where we started the afternoon. When you start in 16th it is always going to be difficult to make up ground, but I had a very strong start and made up a good few positions.

It was especially important to pass Jenson [Button] because he was on a similar strategy to mine: it was a key moment for my race. The strategy worked; we showed once more that we can manage the tyres well, and we had a very strong race pace, as we have had all year. It was nice to be in the lead for a while, although we obviously knew that the cars behind us were on a different strategy. The only regret is that without the grid penalty I would have been further up the grid, which would have made a big difference because we had the pace to fight for a podium today. It's nice to be back in the points after two disappointing races: the car is improving and we are in good shape.

 McLaren's Kevin Magnussen who had another good result for McLaren finishing in 7th place. The Dane said:

''I really thought we were going to finish sixth today, but Checo [Perez] just had too much pace at the end of the race. That wasn’t great, but it’s positive that we’re making improvements. We’ve made progress this weekend, but we still need to keep pushing: we still need to find good, efficient downforce.
"Still, I think we got everything out of our package this weekend. It’s tough racing in the midfield pack, like we did today, but we’re going to get there. It’s maybe difficult to see it from the outside, but, believe me, we’re making improvements all the time.'
Infiniti Red Bull Racing had a difficult race as Canadian Grand Prix winner Daniel Ricciardo finished the race in 8th place while reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel lost power on the opening lap of the race and as a result went a lap down and was eventually forced to retire from the race (his third retirement of the season). Following the race Ricciardo said:

'It was frustrating today; it’s never nice going backwards on the first lap. Off the line, it was actually one of our better starts this year, although I think Kevin (Magnussen) on the inside got a better one. I tried to hang around on the outside, which was the wrong thing to do, because you basically lose too much on the exit. So I then got swamped on the long straight. We already struggle on the long straights as it is, but even more when you get a poor exit. So I was frustrated with myself and I will have to look if maybe I could have cut to the inside and done anything better.

From that point on we tried to push and catch the others, but we just didn't have that much pace. It wasn't until the last bit that we were able to overtake the Force India. The last lap move put a little smile on my face, but other than that it wasn’t a great race for us – we’ve got a bit of work to do.'

His Red Bull team mate Sebastian Vettel commented:

'We stopped because we wanted to save some mileage. We were hoping for a safety car but it wasn’t coming. Obviously, it has been a bad first half of the season with a few retirements and other problems, but I guess it's part of the game. Equally we were able to learn a lot today and it’s good that Daniel got some points for us. It would be bad to say I got used to it, but obviously we have had a lot of problems so far already and I got calmer when the problem occurred. Our pace looked alright and we were able to go quite far on the soft tyre, but we were a lap down so in the end we decided to save some mileage.'

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said:

'It was a tough day on track – unfortunately Sebastian lost power right from the first lap with an engine electrical issue, which we are yet to understand what caused it. Daniel, after getting a bit wide after Turn 1, was never able to really recover. Our lack of straight line speed seemed to really hurt us today and despite a great move on the last lap round the outside of Turn 5 by Daniel, P8 was probably the maximum today. It’s been a fantastic event for the fans of Formula One this weekend. There’s been a huge crowd and it’s great for Formula One to be back in Austria. Congratulations to Mr Mateschitz and everyone in Red Bull for putting on such a wonderful event and showing how a Formula One event can and should be promoted.'

Sahara Force India's Nico Hulkenberg continued his point's scoring run for the Silverstone based outfit finishing the race in 9th place. The German commented:

'It was quite a tough afternoon and more difficult than I was expecting. Inside the car I was struggling with the balance quite a lot, which hurt our pace and also had an impact on the tyre wear. So I think it was just a general lack of pace which stopped me from being able to get a better result. 

Checo obviously had better race pace, even though he was on a different strategy, so we need to understand why that was the case. It’s good to continue picking up points and I had some good battles this afternoon, especially with Ricciardo on the final lap. I was fighting hard to keep him behind but he had a tyre advantage and I could not hold him off.'

Sahara Force India team boss Dr Vijay Mallya said:

'All in all it’s encouraging to see both our cars come home in the points to maintain our fourth place in the championship. Checo’s race was particularly noteworthy when you consider that he started from P16. It was a very mature drive and he did a fantastic job of looking after the tyres and making an alternative strategy work.

His pace was excellent, he set the fastest lap of the race, and he didn’t put a wheel wrong. The opening lap was the key to making the strategy work because he overtook five cars. Nico’s two-stop race followed a similar pattern to most of the frontrunners, but he struggled for outright pace on the soft tyres. He still picked up a couple of points – continuing his run of points in every race this year, which shows how consistent he has been. It sets us up nicely for the British Grand Prix where we will try and deliver another strong showing at our local track.'

Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen continued to struggle with the F14T and could only manage to finish the race in 10th place just ahead of McLaren's Jenson Button. The 2009 World champion said:

'I’d hoped we could make up some places today, but it’s never easy to overtake around here. We went for a different strategy – starting on Primes – but it didn’t really work for us.
"At the start, Nico [Hulkenberg] pushed me wide at the exit of Turn One – there was no real need for that as there was enough room for both of us – so I lost a couple of places. From then on, my race was all about sitting in the train, waiting for people ahead of me to pit, and trying to make my strategy work – which in the end I couldn’t. It was a long afternoon’s work for 11th place.' I’m now really looking forward to Silverstone
McLaren Racing Director Eric Boullier said:
'Kevin drove extremely maturely all afternoon, balancing the need to turn fast laps when required with the ever-present necessity to manage tyre wear.
"For the first half of the race, he was able to maintain a steady sixth place, best of the rest behind the two Mercedes-Benzes, the two Williamses and Fernando’s [Alonso] Ferrari. He did well to hold that position until lap 66, when, running on worn Primes, he was unable to prevent Checo, running on fresh Options, from passing him.
"Jenson was never quite able to compensate for his less-than-optimal grid position, but he nonetheless did his level best to capitalise on an adventurous race strategy which in the end didn’t quite work out. As a result, he was able to finish only 11th, through no fault of his own.
"In summary, then, seventh and 11th isn’t the result we were hoping for, but, as I said yesterday, we’re on the right development path, even if the gains we’re making are frustratingly incremental at the moment. We’ll continue to work as hard as we possibly can in an effort gradually to enlarge those gains, but it won’t be an instant fix.
"Even so, we’re very much looking forward to the Santander British Grand Prix, at Silverstone, the spiritual home of British motorsport, where, once again, you can be well sure that Jenson and Kevin will both be driving their hearts out in an effort to put on a good show for McLaren’s many UK-based fans, who’ll be cheering them on from the packed grandstands all around the circuit.
The Lotus F1 Team's Pastor Maldonado had a good result for the team to finish the race in 12th place just ahead of Sauber's Adrian Sutil. Romain Grosjean did a great job in the second Lotus having started from the pit-lane following a gearbox failure to finish the race in 14th place just ahead of the Marussia F1 Team's Jules Binachi in 15th place. Kamui Kobayashi finished the race in 16th place just ahead of Max Chilton in the second Marussia.

Marcus Ericsson finished the race in 18th place just ahead of Esteban Gutierrez in the second Sauber. The two Toro Rosso's failed to finish with Jean Eric Vergne suffering a suspected brake failure will Daniil Kvyat suffered a suspension failure.

Driver's Championship Standings

1 Nico Rosberg Mercedes AMG F1 Team 165 Point's
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes AMG F1 Team 136
3 Daniel Ricciardo Infiniti Red Bull Racing 83
4 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 79
5 Sebastian Vettel Infiniti Red Bull Racing 60
6 Nico Hulkenberg Sahara Force India F1 Team 59
7 Valtteri Bottas Williams Martini Racing 55
8 Jenson Button McLaren Mercedes 43
9 Felipe Massa Williams Martini Racing 30
10 Kevin Magnussen McLaren Mercedes 29
11 Sergio Perez Sahara Force India F1 Team 28
12 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 19
13 Romain Grosjean Lotus F1 Team 8
14 Jean Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 8
15 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 4
16 Jules Bianchi Marussia F1 Team 2

Constructors Championship

1 Mercedes AMG F1 Team 301 Point's
2 Infiniti Red Bull Racing 143
3 Ferrari 98
4 Sahara Force India F1 Team 87
5 Williams Martini Racing 85
6 McLaren Mercedes 72
7 Toro Rosso 12
8 Lotus F1 Team 8
9 Marussia F1 Team 2
10 Sauber F1 Team 0
11 Caterham F1 Team 

© Ben Johnston 2014

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