• Sun
  • Aug 31, 2014
  • Updated: 12:32am
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MOTOR RACING

Rosberg confirms Mercedes' firepower

F1 championship leader holds off teammate Lewis Hamilton in Austrian Grand Prix, with Valtteri Bottas taking his first ever podium

PUBLISHED : Monday, 23 June, 2014, 12:39am
UPDATED : Monday, 23 June, 2014, 12:39am
 

Formula One championship leader Nico Rosberg won the Austrian Grand Prix on Sunday, in a nail-biting finale with teammate Lewis Hamilton, as Mercedes finished on top again.

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' 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.

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

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.

The race at the Red Bull Ring started with an all-Williams front row after Brazilian Massa and Bottas were top 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.

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 said.

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".

After taking his first pole position since 2008, Massa had hoped to follow this up with his first win in six years, but it 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," Bottas said.

"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 washout 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 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.

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 after an 11-year absence.

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