Sunday, 22 July, 2018

Verstappen engine protected after Ricciardo exit

5:06                                            Toto Wolff felt pleased with the opening practice session of the Austrian GP after Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas 5:06 Toto Wolff felt pleased with the opening practice session of the Austrian GP after Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas
Domingo Copeland | 05 July, 2018, 06:47

While Mercedes chose not to pit Hamilton, who was leading, when the virtual safety auto kicked in to clear Bottas' stricken vehicle, Ferrari and Red Bull reacted - and that opened up Verstappen's path to victory.

The Mercedes boss has enjoyed a long spell of sustained success with his team dominating easily from 2014 to 2016 before resisting a strong challenge by Ferrari past year.

Mercedes and Ferrari have expressed concern, with the latter team threatening to quit the sport because it is unhappy with Liberty's proposal to simplify engines and redistribute prize money among teams after the current contract expires at the end of 2020.

"If you want to win a race this is the ideal place, in a Red Bull auto at the Red Bull Ring". Hamilton and Vettel both struggled with tyre wear in the later stages before Hamilton succumbed to a loss of fuel pressure. Eventually he made a stop 10 laps later to limit the damage. It is the fourth career victory for Verstappen, and his first of the 2018 Formula 1 season.

- Sadly for Ricciardo, he had to retire with an exhaust problem and then Hamilton's auto lost power soon after to leave Verstappen in prime position to claim victory.

Bottas's British teammate Lewis Hamilton is to start Sunday's race from the first row of the Red Bull Ring after coming second, 0.019 seconds off the pace, having set the pace in the first two free practice sessions.

"It was awesome", exclaimed Verstappen. He had a very good feeling for how to manage the tires, the slip, the control, so it was a really impressive job. In full force to fight for the pole moved "Mercedes", "Ferrari", "Red bull", "Haas" and "Renault".

So, yeah, fantastic that they all came over here. It's just not my thing, I don't have the need to share.

"I just tried to do my best race possible".

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Raikkonen took second place after a week of febrile speculation that he is destined to be replaced by Charles Leclerc, perhaps as early as August.

"It was absolutely nailed in the first lap".

When Hamilton did pit, he came back out in fourth place. We thought that the Virtual Safety Car would last for more than one lap, so we thought we would wait and see what happened to the guys behind us, see whether they stop or didn't stop, and make our decision on the second lap.

"It was a good result for the team".

The Dutch driver made the most of a bad day for Mercedes and yet another inspired strategy call from his team to emerge in the lead at the third-way point of the race in Spielberg, from there he would maintain a solid advantage until the checkered flag, finishing ahead of the two Ferraris.

"We knew that they would come back on us at the end of the race".

"Obviously it would've been nice to start further up", he said.

"I tried to manage, I could see my tyres opening up". The short lap also makes the times very close.

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