Max Verstappen took a surprise win in the Austrian Grand Prix after disaster struck Mercedes.
The two silver cars held off an attack from Verstappen and Kimi Raikkonen at the start and completed the first lap running one and two. But both were doomed not to finish the race: first Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton stopped with technical problems.
“We were just waiting to see what everyone else did,” explained Hamilton’s race engineer Pete Bonnington on the radio. “We’ve just thrown away a win,” said Hamilton later.
Red Bull appeared to be heading for a one-two at their home track until Daniel Ricciardo’s car began smoking and stopped. Raikkonen closed within range of Verstappen but was unable to make a move on the leader and followed him to the flag.
Despite making his pit stop later than his rivals, Hamilton was unable to get in a position to pass, and instead lost a position to Vettel. A second pit stop failed to help matters, and just as he the team decided to settle for fourth place a sudden loss of hydraulic pressure put him out. Vettel therefore moved back into the lead of the drivers’ championship by taking third place.
The Haas drivers profited from a day when three of the ‘big six’ cars retired to take fourth and fifth place, led by Romain Grosjean. They were followed by the two Force Indias, who took advantage of Nico Hulkenberg’s retirement and Carlos Sainz Jnr suffering a slow pit stop to bag useful points.
Fernando Alonso recovered from his pit lane start to take points for eighth place. The Sauber pair filled the final points–paying positions, Charles Leclerc leading team mate Marcus Ericsson.
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2018 Austrian Grand Prix reaction
- 2018 Austrian Grand Prix interactive data: lap charts, times and tyres
- Red Bull were “surprised” Mercedes didn’t pit Hamilton
- Leclerc impressed by Alonso’s “very clever” tyre tactics
- Verstappen didn’t think win was possible until last three laps
- Mercedes reacted too slowly to bring Hamilton into the pits – Wolff
- Stroll penalised for ignoring blue flags for a lap
- Points finish “completely unexpected” after pit lane start – Alonso
- Mercedes believes retirements aren’t linked to engine upgrade
- Hamilton urges Mercedes to find “bulletproof” fix for strategy errors
- “What the hell was that?”: Hamilton fumes at Mercedes over tactical error