Formula One 2016

Lewis Hamilton snatches victory in Austria after crash with teammate Nico Rosberg

Mercedes pair tangle on the last lap and Rosberg limps home in fourth place; Max Verstappen finishes second and Kimi Raikkonen third

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 03 July, 2016, 11:26pm
UPDATED : Monday, 04 July, 2016, 9:29am

Lewis Hamilton collided with his Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg in a wild final lap yesterday as he claimed a dramatic victory in a pulsating Austrian Grand Prix.

The defending three-time world champion, who started from pole position, attacked the championship leader who ­defended hard at the second turn where the pair collided.

Rosberg forced Hamilton off the track, but the Briton rejoined, the pair touching briefly again, and pulled clear to win. Behind him, Rosberg suffered a damaged front wing and dropped back to finish fourth.

The collision concluded a titanic contest between the two Mercedes men after an incident-packed race.

Dutch teenager Max Verstappen claimed his second career ­podium, finishing second for Red Bull ahead of third-placed Finn Kimi Raikkonen for Ferrari.

Rosberg was fourth ahead of Australian Daniel Ricciardo in the second Red Bull, Briton Jenson Button of McLaren Honda, Frenchman Romain Grosjean of Haas and Spaniard Carlos Sainz of Toro Rosso.

Finn Valtteri Bottas of Williams was ninth ahead of German Pascal Wehrlein, who claimed a fine final point for Manor.

The stewards announced an inquiry into Rosberg’s part in the final-lap collision after the race as Hamilton was jeered by some of the crowd as he stood on the ­podium.

Back in the fast lane: Nico Rosberg cruises to victory at European Grand Prix

The German was summoned to answer charges of causing a collision and failing to stop with a seriously damaged car.

“I was on the outside,” Hamilton said on the team radio at the time of the incident. “It wasn’t me that crashed.”

Later, Rosberg took issue with Hamilton’s stance, saying: “Well, no, it was my racing line and I was the one there”.

He told Sky Sports he was “gutted” and “surprised” that Hamilton had turned into him.

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff ­described the collision as “brainless”, without singling out either of his drivers for blame.

The team revealed Rosberg had suffered a problem with his brake-by-wire system which went into “passive mode” at the end of the penultimate lap as Hamilton closed in.

The crowd, small in comparison to the previous two years with rows of empty seats in the grandstands, made their disapproval evident with whistles and boos as Hamilton was interviewed on the podium.

“That’s not my problem, it’s their problem,” the surprised Briton, who started on pole, shrugged when asked about the noise.

“I left a lot of room on the ­inside and I guess he locked up and crashed into me. I think he had a problem with his brakes. I’m here to win. That’s all.”

Hamilton’s win ended Rosberg’s hopes of a third consecutive victory and cut the German’s lead in the title race from 24 points to 11 ahead of next weekend’s British Grand Prix at Silverstone. It was the 46th win of Hamilton’s ­career.

Earlier in the race, Sebastian Vettel’s hopes were dashed when a rear tyre shredded. “Out of nowhere the tyre ­decided to blow up,” said Vettel. “I had no signs in the car, big shame.”

Asked if that meant the end of his championship challenge, he said: “There are a lot of races left but surely it doesn’t help when you don’t finish the race.”

Additional reporting by Reuters