Max Verstappen wins a thrilling Austrian GP ahead of the two Ferraris, as Mercedes went suicidal with both drivers due to reliability problems. Haas claimed a historical 4th and 5th with Grosjean and Magnussen. Daniel Ricciardo's power unit blew out and forced him to retire, leaving Red Bull with a painful zero on one hand and an epic home race win on the other.
Kimi Raikkonen recounted the first-lap chaos he went through, as he was on the verge of crashing into Verstappen and even Bottas right after the start. "Obviously there was a lot happening in the first lap and I got a little bit of sideways, lost the line a little bit, into 6 and Max was very close into 7"
"The car in front of me disturbed me a bit, and Verstappen got the run, I tried to hang on the outside. I got a bit sideways because we touched a little bit and lost the place. We did the best out of it, not taking each other out and fighting through that kind of corner, it's not easy to stay next to each other when you try. That's what happens sometimes, it wasn't ideal for me but it was fair enough."
The Finn ended the race 1.5s off Max Verstappen, meaning that he had the pace to win the race. If he had had a few more lap, he probably would have brought it home. “Basically, I think we had good speed, especially in the end. A little bit tricky on the first part in the second stint, and then once the tyre started to do the work, was good.”
"I think it's disappointing - obviously it's great for the team, a lot of points, against the team that we race in the championship, they had a pretty awful day.”
"In that side it's good but obviously we want to win. And we had this speed in the end, but it didn't happen today.”
Mercedes laments a double DNF in Austria, which was rather unexpected given the positivity that pervaded the whole outfit. The German team was confident to get the win, as the drivers had managed to secure a front row lock out, but things did not go accordingly.
Lewis Hamilton grabbed the lead of the race, but his effort was thwarted by an error from the pit wall. That caused James Allison to speak directly to the driver during the race, taking the blame for the loss. However, Hamilton’s race came to an end at lap 58 due to a fuel pressure-related issue. “Definitely the worst weekend that I can remember for a long time. The car has been great all weekend, we were quickest and we’ve had such great reliability for so many years. So as painful as it is, we have to take the rough with the smooth. We can’t throw away points, so we will have to find a bullet-proof method going forward.”
Ferrari team principal Maurizio Arrivabene shot on Mercedes' cocky attitude heading into the weekend. "You have to be careful in F1. People talk, bring huge aero updates and then their results ended up refuting everything" he told Sky Italia after the race. Both drivers were confident to score a 1-2 after qualifying, but their race was filled with problems and tyre struggles unlike Ferrari's.
Valtteri Bottas’ race was brought to a halt earlier than his teammate’s. During lap 12 the poleman was stopped by a gearbox failure, continuing his gutting streak of missed achievements.
“The luck I’m having this year feels like a bit of a bad joke at the moment. My start was not ideal; I had quite a bit of wheel spin and there was less grip than we expected, so I dropped a few places. Going into Turn 3, I could recover two places and was back in second place. After that the car felt strong, we were running well, but then I suddenly experienced a loss of hydraulic pressure.”
“I guess it was just not meant to be today - but one day it will.”
While Bottas could not get the job done, Romain Grosjean brought the car home in P4 in sumptuous fashion. The Frenchman, having faced a low and disastrous start to the season, went for it and collected his first points this season. “It’s a great day for all of us, the whole team. They deserve such a good result with the cars finishing fourth and fifth. It’s incredible for our 50th grand prix.”
“We’ve had some luck in the race with Mercedes cars not finishing, but it’s been a great weekend and we can build on that. The last 20 laps were not fun- there were blisters on the rears- and I was afraid they were going to explode at any time”.