Verstappen hangs onto chaotic Austrian GP as both Mercedes drivers retire

Red Bulls Max Verstappen wins his first race of 2018 ahead of the Ferrari’s of Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel as both Mercedes drivers of Valterri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton retire from the race.


Grid Formation

1.Bottas  2.Hamilton  3.Raikkonen  4.Verstappen  5.Grosjean  6.Vettel*  7.Ricciardo  8.Magnussen  9.Sainz  10.Hulkenberg  11.Ocon  12.Gasly  13.Stroll  14.Vandoorne  15.Perez  16.Sirotkin  17.Leclerc*  18.Ericsson  19.Hartley*  20.Alonso

Vettel* was demoted 3 places as he impeded Sainz in Q2. Leclerc* was given a 5 place grid penalty for gearbox change. Hartley* serves a 35-place penalty as he takes new engine elements. Alonso* will start from the pit-lane start for changes during parc ferme.


Track temperature has risen significantly since Qualifying yesterday. Will this play a part in the race today and who will it favour most?  Valterri Bottas, Lewis Hamilton, Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo will start on the Supersoft tyre with Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel will be starting on the Ultrasoft tyre.

The lights go out and it’s a poor start for Valterri Bottas as Lewis Hamilton takes the lead into turn 1 with Kimi Raikkonen as Bottas drops to 4th. Raikkonen challenges Hamilton into turn 2 with Raikkonen running wide. Bottas bites back and overtakes Verstappen and Raikkonen down into turn 3 with Verstappen overtaking Raikkonen through turns 5 and 6. Stoffel Vandoorne pits after contact made on the first lap. Charles Leclerc runs wide at turn 4 and falls to 19th.

Lap 3, Sebastian Vettel overtakes Romain Grosjean for 6th down into turn 3. Lewis Hamilton leads ahead of Valterri Bottas, Max Verstappen, Kimi Raikkonen, Daniel Ricciardo, Romain Grosjean, Kevin Magnussen, Nico Hulkenberg and Esteban Ocon. Lance Stroll and Sergey Sirotkin have made good progress for Williams as they sit in 13th and 14th. Lap 7, Hamilton leads Bottas by 2.4 seconds as Ricciardo closes up on Raikkonen. Lots of drivers are telling their teams about debris down at turn 3.

A replay shows that Stoffel Vandoorne made contact with Pierre Gasly at the start, damaging Vandoorne’s front wing. Things got worse for the Belgian as when he pitted, he couldn’t get the car going and losing about 30 seconds. The incident between Gasly and Vandoorne is under investigation.

Lap 12, Nico Hulkenberg’s Renault engine has blown on the main straight. The German pulls over at turn 1 where marshals extinguish the small fire. Hulkenberg lost power just before turn 8 and then coasted to turn 1. Lap 14, Valterri Bottas is slowing. The Finnish driver is out and pulls over at turn 3 where it sounds like the gearbox is out. Lap 15, the VSC is out.

Lap 16, Max Verstappen, Kimi Raikkonen, Daniel Ricciardo and Sebastian Vettel pit for Red Bull and Ferrari. Romain Grosjean, Esteban Ocon and Carlos Sainz have also pitted. The VSC ends with Vettel overtaking Kevin Magnussen for 5th down into turn 3. Lewis Hamilton did not pit and stays in the lead as both Red Bulls and Ferrari’s went onto the Soft tyre. They can go to the end on this set of tyres.

Lap 20, Daniel Ricciardo has overtaken Kimi Raikkonen for 3rd. Raikkonen ran wide at turn 2 with the Aussie overtaking round the outside of turn 3. Lewis Hamilton leads by about 13 seconds ahead of Max Verstappen. The pit-stop loss time is about 22 seconds. Kevin Magnussen and Sergio Perez didn’t pit either and lie 6th and 7th at the moment. Lap 26, Hamilton pits, goes onto the Soft tyre and rejoins in 4th just ahead of Sebastian Vettel. Verstappen leads by 4 seconds ahead of Ricciardo and Raikkonen with Hamilton in 4th and Vettel in 5th.

Under the VSC, Lance Stroll, Pierre Gasly, Charles Leclerc and Fernando Alonso also pitted along with Romain Grosjean, Esteban Ocon and Carlos Sainz with everyone going onto the Soft tyre. Lap 28, Sergio Perez pits, goes onto the Soft tyre and rejoins in 11th. Lap 29, Kevin Magnussen pits, goes onto the Soft tyre and rejoins in 9th. Lap 34, Kimi Raikkonen reports back to his Ferrari team that Daniel Ricciardo ahead has a blister on his left-rear tyre.

Lap 35, Carlos Sainz pits for Renault after he is overtaken by Sergio Perez for 9th. The Spaniard rejoins in 17th on a set of Supersoft tyre. Lap 37, Kimi Raikkonen is pressurising Daniel Ricciardo for 2nd and Sebastian Vettel closes up on Lewis Hamilton for 4th. Lap 38, Raikkonen challenges Ricciardo down into turn 2 but a poor exit for Ricciardo means that Raikkonen overtakes the Aussie down into turn 3. Lap 39, Ricciardo pits, goes onto the Supersoft tyre and rejoins in 5th as Vettel overtakes Hamilton down into turn 2.

Lap 40, Max Verstappen still leads ahead of Kimi Raikkonen, Sebastian Vettel, Lewis Hamilton, Daniel Ricciardo, Romain Grosjean, Esteban Ocon, Kevin Magnussen, Sergio Perez and Marcus Ericsson who hasn’t pitted yet. Hamilton is now complaining of blistering as well. Verstappen’s lead is just over 6 seconds to Raikkonen is 2nd. Lap 50, Ricciardo hasn’t exactly made huge progress into the gap between himself and Hamilton. The gap now coming down to 18 and a half seconds. If Hamilton pitted, he would rejoin behind Ricciardo.

Lap 52, Lewis Hamilton pits from 4th. He goes onto the Supersoft tyre and rejoins behind Daniel Ricciardo in 5th. The Brit was on the team radio saying that his rear tyres were not going to make it to the end. Lap 55, Ricciardo pulls over just past turn 1 as the Birthday boy retires with apparent engine failure. This promotes Hamilton to 4th, Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen to 5th and 6th for Haas.

Lap 56, Brendon Hartley seems to be in trouble as well as the Toro Rosso driver slows and stops between turns 1 and 2. The New Zealander is out and retires on lap 58 as Max Verstappen’s lead has been decreased to just over 4 and a half seconds to Kimi Raikkonen in 2nd. Lap 60, Lewis Hamilton is 21 seconds behind Sebastian Vettel in 3rd with Verstappen’s lead now being cut to just 4 seconds. Lap 61, Sergio Perez overtakes Force India team-mate Esteban Ocon for 7th down into turn 2.

Lap 63, Lewis Hamilton reports back to his Mercedes team that he is losing power. The Brit is out and pulls over just after turn 2. Both Mercedes are out and Hamilton’s points scoring streak of 33 races is over. Lap 66, Fernando Alonso overtakes Pierre Gasly for 8th place. Max Verstappen’s lead is just over 3 seconds ahead of Kimi Raikkonen. Gasly is struggling as Charles Leclerc and Marcus Ericsson overtake the Toro Rosso driver.

Lap 69, Max Verstappen’s lead is down to 2.7 seconds ahead of Kimi Raikkonen with Sebastian Vettel 1.5 seconds behind his Ferrari team-mate. Onto the final lap, Verstappen gap is under 2 seconds but the Dutchman comes round the final corner to win the Austrian GP for Red Bull! Raikkonen and Vettel round-out the podium with Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen finish 4th and 5th.

Haas score points on their 50th GP start and Force India score points on their 200th GP start.

Race Result

  1. Max Verstappen, Red Bull, 71 Laps (4th career win & Fans Driver of the Day)
  2. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, +1.504s (DHL Fastest Lap Award)
  3. Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, +3.181s (Retakes championship lead)
  4. Romain Grosjean, Haas, + 1 Lap
  5. Kevin Magnussen, Haas, + 1 Lap
  6. Esteban Ocon, Force India, + 1 Lap
  7. Sergio Perez, Force India, + 1 Lap
  8. Fernando Alonso, McLaren, + 1 Lap
  9. Charles Leclerc, Sauber, + 1 Lap
  10. Marcus Ericsson, Sauber, + 1 Lap
  11. Pierre Gasly, Toro Rosso, + 1 Lap
  12. Carlos Sainz, Renault, + 1 Lap
  13. Sergey Sirotkin, Williams, + 2 Laps
  14. Lance Stroll, Williams, + 2 Laps
  15. Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren, DNF

Stroll was given a 10 second time penalty added to his Austrian Grand Prix race time and received three penalty points for failing to obey blue flags. The penalty meant that the Canadian swapped places with Williams team-mate Sergey Sirotkin.

  • Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, DNF
  • Brendon Hartley, Toro Rosso, DNF
  • Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, DNF
  • Valterri Bottas, Mercedes, DNF
  • Nico Hulkenberg, Renault, DNF


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