Austrian GP: Valtteri Bottas holds off Sebastian Vettel to win with Lewis Hamilton fourth
Vettel moves 20 points clear in title race; Ricciardo holds off Hamilton for final podium position
By Pete Gill
Last Updated: 09/07/17 10:51pm
Valtteri Bottas claimed his second F1 win with victory in the Austrian GP ahead of Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo.
Courtesy of his second place, Vettel has extended his lead of the world championship to 20 points after Lewis Hamilton was unable to pass Ricciardo for the final podium position in the closing stages.
A largely uneventful race came alive at its conclusion as Hamilton challenged Ricciardo and Vettel tried to force victory out of Bottas' grasp.
After Bottas beat the title leader to pole position by less than a tenth of a second on Saturday, less than a second separated their two cars when they crossed the finishing line at the end of a slow-burning afternoon in the Austrian mountains.
Having survived a lengthy investigation from the stewards over an alleged jump start, Bottas had built up a substantial lead through the opening stint. But after the leaders switched from ultrasofts to supersofts, the balance of power shifted to Ferrari and saw Vettel rapidly close in on the Mercedes after Bottas blistered his tyres.
Critically, Bottas gained almost half a second in traffic three laps from the end and made no mistake during a tension-filled final lap as Vettel shadowed him to the chequered flag.
Later told that Bottas' reaction time off the line was measured at 0.201 of a second, a thousandth above the threshold for a penalty, an incredulous Vettel retorted: "I don't believe that."
There is likely to be less dispute about Bottas' presence in the title race, however, following his second win of the campaign.
"Valtteri is not going down without a fight," said Sky F1's Damon Hill. "He knows that this is his big chance and he's not going to let it go."
With the gap between the two Mercedes team-mates reduced to 15 points, Bottas is now closer to Hamilton in the championship standings than Hamilton is to Vettel.
"I gave it everything I could," said Hamilton. "I take heart and just move on. It's been a difficult weekend.
"I have a couple of down days now and look forward to seeing the home crowd. Hopefully we won't approach Silverstone with any issues and can start with a clean slate."
Updated Drivers' Championship standings
|Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull||107|
Hamilton, who had sounded increasingly frustrated during the race, went side-by-side with Ricciardo through Turn Three on the penultimate lap but was unable to make the move stick and prevent Ricciardo from claiming his fifth podium finish in as many races.
In stark contrast, Red Bull team-mate Max Verstappen only made it to the first corner before a collision with Fernando Alonso's McLaren, triggered by Daniil Kvyat, condemned the Dutch youngster to his fifth retirement in the last seven events.
Before the race, the Dutchman's father, Jos, ended speculation about the 19-year-old's future by confirming he would stay at Red Bull for next season.
Paddock gossip may well now shift focus towards Kvyat after the stewards judged him guilty of causing the first-lap melee.
Romain Grosjean took sixth for Haas, their best result of the season so far, while, for the fifth time in 2017, Sergio Perez finished just ahead of Force India team-mate Esteban Ocon in the points.
After a difficult weekend, both Williams cars also finished in the top ten after the improving Lance Stroll just rebuffed Jolyon Palmer for the final points-paying position.
Austrian GP race result
|1) Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes||1:21:48.527|
|2) Sebastian Vettel||Ferrari||+ 0.658|
|3) Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull||+ 6.012|
|4) Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||+ 7.430|
|5) Kimi Raikkonen||Ferrari||+ 20.370|
|6) Romain Grosjean||Haas||+ 73.160|
|7) Sergio Perez||Force India||+ 1 LAP|
|8) Esteban Ocon||Force India||+ 1 LAP|
|9) Felipe Massa||Williams||+ 1 LAP|
|10) Lance Stroll||Williams||+ 1 LAP|
|11) Jolyon Palmer||Renault||+ 1 LAP|
|12) Stoffel Vandoorne||McLaren||+ 1 LAP|
|13) Nico Hulkenberg||Renault||+ 1 LAP|
|14) Pascal Wehrlein||Sauber||+ 1 LAP|
|15) Marcus Ericsson||Sauber||+ 2 LAPS|
|16) Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso||+ 3 LAPS|
|17) Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso||DNF|
|18) Kevin Magnussen||Haas||DNF|
|19) Fernando Alonso||McLaren||DNF|
|20) Max Verstappen||Red Bull||DNF|
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Don't miss a bumper F1 Report on Wednesday at 9pm on Sky F1 as paddock journalists Ben Hunt and Chris Medland join Rachel Brookes to both review the Austrian GP and look ahead to a much-anticipated British GP