Race Report: Austrian GP- Hamilton wins in Austria

The lead up to the Austrian Grand Prix was a bit of a yo-yo effect with the weather on Friday and Saturday being dry, then wet, then dry and it looked like Lewis Hamilton’s race was going to follow that strategy with leading, then trailing and then winning.

Lewis hasn’t found success in Austria like his teammate Nico Rosberg but Sunday did open his account on wins at the Red Bull Ring. Hamilton had a slow stop on lap 22 which handed the lead to Rosberg and a final stop for Lewis saw a set of Soft compounds fitted while his teammate was given the Super Soft. When queried about the choice by Hamilton, the team said they felt this was the best tire to see him to the end of the race and so it appeared to be.

The podium ceremony boo-inspiring move came on the last lap at turn 2 when Hamilton closed on the outside of Rosberg and came alongside the German heading into the turn. Nico went very deep into the corner and held Lewis out very wide by delaying his turn-in to the apex and when Hamilton tried to turn into the corner, the two teammates collided. Rosberg had effectively pushed Hamilton off track by delaying his turn-in and Lewis turned into the corner—perhaps anticipating when Nico would start to turn in to actually make the corner—and that is when contact was made.

Mercedes revealed that Nico had a brake issue that caused him problems in the braking zone and you could clearly see that he was struggling with massive brake dust coming from his wheels under braking for several laps. A long brake pedal, trying to defend your position and braking late doesn’t make for a good scenario but I suspect Nico was never going to make it easy for Lewis to get around him and was going to take every bit of the road in order to prevent it.

The podium was completed byt an exuberant Plucky Teen Max Verstappen and so it should be, his tires were so old they were actually apologies to a tire and Kimi Raikkonen says he felt Ferrari could have done better but took 3rd nonetheless.


A win for Lewis Hamilton who hasn’t historically done well at this circuit and had actually lost the lead to his teammate who started 6th so to recover, be shod with harder tires than Nico and still manage to win the race was a quite a feat and dogged determination from Hamilton. It’s also a win because the team were marking Sebastian for the first half of the race and when Seb DNF’d, they quickly realized they had Nico to contend with as well as slow pit stops for Lewis so great drive and strategy to get him the win.

A big win for McLaren who finished 6th with Jenson Button managing a terrific race while his partner, Fernando Alonso, suffered the indignation of retiring his car with a battery failure. McLaren were able to convert their qualifying performance into a great points-scoring run.

A win for Max Verstappen who gave Red Bull a podium finish at their home track and proved once again that this young man has to tools and talent to be a great driver in F1 given his tire management was spot on today on some very old rubber. That craft usually takes a while to get on top of but he’s done a terrific job of it since entering F1.

Romain Grosjean had a terrific day in Austria giving Haas F1 a great 7th place finish and the team said they may have more up their sleeve after qualifying on Saturday. Indeed, they did and Grosjean turned a ho-hum qualifying into a terrific one-stopper result on Sunday.

The star of the show for me was Manor’s Pascal Wehrlein who, like Max Verstappen, managed his dog-eared tires to the end and gave the team their first points since the late Jules Bianchi took 9th in Monaco back in 2014. Sure, he inherited the position when Force India’s Sergio Perez crashed out on the last lap due to a mechanical issue but you have to be there to take the position and Pascal was running 11th which is a great result for the team. Pascal managed to avoid a penalty for reversing his car on the grid just prior to the start.

A win for Paul Charsley who’s boy Felipe Nasr beat the Swede, Marcus Ericsson. Enjoy it Paul, it’s rare and should be savored.


A fail for Daniil Kvyat and Toro Rosso as the young Russian was forced to retire form the race and this means that his teammate, Carlos Sainz, has scored in the top 10 every race since Daniil came back to the team while the poor Russian has scored just one point. Not a career-cementing situation.

A big fail for Ferrari and Sebastian Vettel who had 29 laps on his Pirelli Supersoft compound tires when the left rear exploded while leading the race. This happened on Seb’s birthday no less. Vettel was keen to suggest that the issue, which he’s had before with Pirelli tires, is a recurring theme and left a few folks wondering if the tire pressures aren’t to blame as well but he clearly wasn’t going to suggest the team’s strategy ran him too long on the tires. It’s compounded slightly by a good starting position for Kimi who wasn’t able to convert that to a better position than third.

A fail for Force India who started on the front row and ended with two retired cars as Nico Hulkenberg had a serious vibration and Sergio Perez a dramatic and dangerous crash on the final lap. Apparently both issues were due to brakes.


It’s a WTH moment for Nico Rosberg who was never going to make it easy for Lewis to pass him but having a brake failure at turn one, then braking late in turn 2 was going to be very difficult for sure. Perhaps the brake issue was misjudged and added to the situation meaning he wasn’t aware he had a serious brake issue as Toto Wolff said the team couldn’t tell him he did. If you dive into a corner, about to be passed, and try to brake late with a failed brake system, you’re going to run wide but if you were planning on running wide, perhaps that exacerbates the entire situation. That’s the benefit of the doubt…However

Unless new information is released by the team, it was a ham-fisted move as I think Nico took too much of the corner and probably didn’t need that much to put a prevent move on Lewis. Nico most likely would have been able to keep Lewis squeezed to the track side on exit and held his position but I must say, after watching Nico’s on-board many times, that Nico was taking all of the corner, not just the apex line and Lewis turned into Nico as he was doing so. Nico’s left hand was at twelve o’clock but clearly taking all of the corner off the line and to be honest, I would have expected him to take all of the corner. He pressed Lewis hard and Lewis turned into the corner even though there was a car there taking every inch of that corner…right or wrong. There was a car there and it was going all the way to the back of the corner at the white line so you have a choice, turn in and hit Nico or run off track and let Nico punt you. Lewis chose the former and if I were Lewis, I would have chosen the same.

Lewis did this to Nico in Canada this year and Austin last year. He claimed understeer as the problem and perhaps Mercedes has offered brake issues as Nico’s reason in Austria. The problem is, Lewis did it far better and with less of the corner. He took just the amount he needed to get Nico off the line and off his own line and it thwarted Nico’s forward progress just enough to let Lewis come out ahead. Well executed and aggressive driving on Lewis’s part—unlike this incident.

In this case in the Austrian Grand Prix, whether due to brakes or not, it was clumsier than how Lewis has handled the same situation. Nico seemed to be drifting all the way out to the white line in order to take the entire corner and in my opinion, he didn’t need that much of the corner. You could argue that Lewis, upon reaching the white line at track’s edge, followed the white line of the corner on the outside and as it curved back, following the profile of the corner, and made contact rather than lifting. Watching Nico’s on-board, you can see that Lewis planted his left wheel on the white outer line and followed it through the corner making contact with Nico as he was making a straighter line to the back of the corner prior to offering a lot of opposite lock to make the turn. Lewis said he gave him plenty of room and he clearly did, no doubt, but that’s only applicable if Nico was taking the line and apex, not the entire corner itself which is where it got too clumsy, too ham-fisted on Nico’s part.

In the end, I think it was a bit clumsy and aggressive but I am not in agreement with the penalty assessed to Nico. Last lap passes for the win? Isn’t this what we want in F1? Isn’t this why we want them to be allowed to race? Nico tried a ham-fisted move that cost him a podium and a serious chunk of points, he paid the price. Lewis refused to lift or run wide as he was being pushed wide and rolled the dice and won. He did the same thing in Spain when pushed wide. He’s not going to lift and he’s not going to be punted and that’s what I like about Lewis. I also like it when Nico holds his ground and aggressively defends his position instead of being punted by Lewis.

The key for me is that if Mercedes doesn’t like it, they’ll need to institute team orders then. Why they would, given their domination over the field now, is beyond me. We all dislike team orders but we know Lewis is a “racer” and he’s not going to lift for anyone. The difference is, Nico has decided to be that kind of “racer” too and now Merc find themselves with two drivers who won’t play wet-nurse to each other. This is what Ron Dennis faced all those years ago. If I had to put a bet on it, it’ll be Nico who fold like a chaise lounge on this issue. If I were him, I wouldn’t though. Lewis wouldn’t and I would not blame him for refusing to. That’s Lewis and that’s what makes him a fun driver to watch.

Just so I don’t get all the #TeamLH hate mail: Nico’s fault, too much corner taken in his defense of the position and a clumsy move. Not penalty worthy though. It’s a last-lap racing incident between teammates going for the win. Regardless of how much corner he took or not, Lewis could have avoided the incident too and Toto says it takes two to tango, he’s right but going straight at the corner until you reach the back of the corner is a clumsy move. He should have taken a lot of the corner and squeezed Lewis on exit under acceleration. I have no idea how much the brake issue played into the situation but my assessment is discounting any brake issues which may not be fair to Rosberg fans but I’m not on the pit wall.

I also have to offer a WTH moment for Williams, a team who was on the front of the grid at this circuit two years ago and barely managed to score points this weekend. What happened? Brake issues for Massa and tire wear for Bottas they say.

Finally, a WTH for the crowd who booed Lewis on the podium. I hated it when they did it to Nico and I hate it now for Lewis. He doesn’t deserve that at all for anything he did during the race. He drove a terrific race and won. Also, could F1 please get an English-speaking person who does all of the podium interviews? It’s a global sport, I get it, but this is a critical point to interview the drivers right out of the car and it’s important they have Martin or DC or someone who is professional and does the job right each time.

Austrian GP results:

1Lewis HamiltonMercedes1h27m38.107s
2Max VerstappenRed Bull/Renault5.719s
3Kimi RaikkonenFerrari6.024s
4Nico RosbergMercedes16.710s
5Daniel RicciardoRed Bull/Renault30.981s
6Jenson ButtonMcLaren/Honda37.706s
7Romain GrosjeanHaas/Ferrari44.668s
8Carlos SainzToro Rosso/Ferrari47.400s
9Valtteri BottasWilliams/Mercedes1 Lap
10Pascal WehrleinManor/Mercedes1 Lap
11Esteban GutierrezHaas/Ferrari1 Lap
12Jolyon PalmerRenault1 Lap
13Felipe NasrSauber/Ferrari1 Lap
14Kevin MagnussenRenault1 Lap
15Marcus EricssonSauber/Ferrari1 Lap
16Rio HaryantoManor/Mercedes1 Lap
17Sergio PerezForce India/Mercedes2 Laps
18Fernando AlonsoMcLaren/Honda7 Laps
19Nico HulkenbergForce India/Mercedes7 Laps
20Felipe MassaWilliams/Mercedes8 Laps
Sebastian VettelFerrariTyre
Daniil KvyatToro Rosso/FerrariRetirement

Driver’s Championship Points

1Nico Rosberg153
2Lewis Hamilton142
3Sebastian Vettel96
4Kimi Raikkonen96
5Daniel Ricciardo88
6Max Verstappen72
7Valtteri Bottas54
8Sergio Perez39
9Felipe Massa38
10Romain Grosjean28
11Daniil Kvyat22
12Carlos Sainz22
13Nico Hulkenberg20
14Fernando Alonso18
15Jenson Button13
16Kevin Magnussen6
17Pascal Wehrlein1
18Stoffel Vandoorne1
19Esteban Gutierrez0
20Jolyon Palmer0
21Marcus Ericsson0
22Felipe Nasr0
23Rio Haryanto0

Constructors’ Championship Points

3Red Bull/Renault168
5Force India/Mercedes59
6Toro Rosso/Ferrari36
Overall Race
race-report-austrian-gp-hamilton-wins-in-austriaI enjoyed the race and the dual strategy that Mercedes had to deploy for Lewis in order to fight off Vettel and then Rosberg. The last lap was ham-fisted but seeing a battle for the win is better than not.
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Noemi de Miguel was the lovely ladies name on the podium today. Unfortunately English isn’t her strong point.

Negative Camber

Completely understand and you can imagine how horrible I would do if asked to do an interview in Spanish. As such, F1’s mandate is that English is the series language and must be used in the paddock and garages. My point is that this is a raw, visceral moment and a key time to ask questions. They shouldn’t let her or George Lucas or Mike Douglas do these, they should have their own peeps and make it effective and revealing. I’m sure she’s a delightful person and very good at what she does.


I always cringe when i see some celeb coming up to interview wondering if they even understand the sport. If they are determined to use entertainers as interviewers at times, can it at least be super-knowlegable ones who ask incisive questions because they understand the sport…like Patrick Dempsey, etc.

jiji the cat

I thought Micheal Douglas did a good job in Canada. He may be the exception

Negative Camber

He did but I tend to think this is a critical moment to get immediate driver reaction to the race and with a well-polished person, they could really make a meal out of these interviews. With the revolving door, it seems like a platitude and it could be a lot more.


I agree. Formula 1 goes to extreme length to ensure continuity. There are good reasons, why the same people run the races every time. Whether it is the starting procedure, scruteniering, podium ceremony, savety car, medical car … the same should apply to the interviews. It became a big part “of the show”

Bacon Wrapped Sushi

We should just rotate between EJ, DC, and Brundle and be done with it!


It was, in my estimation, exactly what Steve Matchett said, ‘There was no way Nico was going to allow Lewis to win even if it meant taking both cars not finishing, this is the same as Senna/Prost at Suzuka’. I agree with the perspective that Lewis can run a parabolic line with more polish when wanting to accomplish running a teammate wide, and i think for sure this is what Nico planned, but it was so ugly and primitive in retrospect as Nico practically straight-cut the corner to the other side. Obviously the stewards saw the same thing, no 50/50… Read more »

Dennis Tirch

Couldn’t agree more. Before the incident even happened, Matchett called it. He saw it on the way. This is also exactly the kind of thing that I’ve complained about concerning Nico’s sloppy defenses in this context earlier this season. It goes a bit further for me. This is a problem, and I don’t think it is going away. Clearly Nico’s fault. If he can’t drive like a “racer” without consistently creating accidents then he is nothing better than Pastor Maldonado with a faster car and a higher profile. Despite being a Hamilton fan, I have spent enough time reviewing all… Read more »

Dennis Tirch

Let me add that if this was happening with Hamilton behaving similarly, I would be similarly frustrated and angry. I’m a Hamilton fan because I appreciate the way he drives and approaches racing, not the other way around.


I agree, I’m a multiple fan of several drivers, and in the past I was totally embarrassed and frustrated with Lewis’ handling of situations that were juvenile to the sport I adore. To be really honest? Senna antics did the same to me, as Shumacher, Prost, etc etc. Part of the mindset, psychology and requisite skill sets no doubt as the top drivers mature over time.

Negative Camber

Clearly Lewis had no where to go here. The door was slammed shut and it was a clumsy move so I understand being frustrated with Nico for sure. Could have handled that much, much better.

Negative Camber

I’m not willing to go that far to be honest. I understand Steve’s point but I’m not quite sure it was a deliberate situation like Prost/Senna in that it is down to the wire and all he has to do is prevent Lewis from passing and the title is his. It’s a long ways to go and I think Nico truly was going to prevent Lewis from having any of the corner and force him wide…very aggressively for sure. He put Lewis in a position of having to lift, brake or collide. It may have been far better had he… Read more »


That’s a great point…its early in the season and its not the title race as yet. If you get a chance to interview Steve in the near future this might be a talking point. I have to say I think Nico’s game is raised for sure this year…i have always loved the ‘take no prisoner’ approach in F1 driving which Lewis has always had and Nico is now doing, its awesome. And the psych factor now will be interesting!


Actually, Lewis was in front going into the corner so braking & lifting weren’t really options. It was either hold his line around the outside of the corner, which he did, or run off the track when he saw that Nico was going to barge into him.


Just a clarification point also, i loved this today, not the accident on the corner but racers racing. Like Monaco, I think the sport consequences themselves can be self-governing. If you take a corner badly, or try to push another driver off, if they DONT back down you are gambling your race also either with car damage or a unforgiving guardrail.


So can we call a spade a spade at this point? Rosberg is dirty! Having seen this now and knowing what happened in Spain, is it any question that Rosberg is willing to DNF both cars to avoid defeat? How many more unsporting acts are we going to see from Rosberg before the media and fans call him out for what he is? The FIA is very reluctant to punish him because he keeps doing these things to his teammate. If he was driving like this against a rival team, he would pay a price for it. 10-sec penalty does… Read more »

Negative Camber

I think that’s a little heavy-handed mate. I don’t think he’s “dirty” nor do I think Lewis is. When you talk of Nico being ham-fisted on defense, I understand your point…certainly here but perhaps we forget Lewis’s attempts as well?



Again with the false equivalency. See this is how you’re going get yourself falsely accused of being biased or a Rosberg apologist. Perhaps you are and just don’t realize it? You just proved my point with that video. Hamilton is perfectly capable of close hard combat, yet remain fair. He is well known for his overtaking skills, but his defense is also remarkable. What that video shows is a hot headed impatient driver(Maldonado), who is willing to go off track to try and make a pass despite his huge pace advantage. I remember that race and thinking Hamilton is a… Read more »


Agreed, in that incident Maldonado left the track, so Hamilton should have been entitled to hold his racing line into the next left-hander where Maldonado rammed him on rejoining. Its not at all comparable to Rosberg’s actions at Austria.

Negative Camber

I’m not worried if people think I am biased toward or against. I’m too old to care about such things. :) Nico slammed the door on Lewis for sure and it was a clumsy move but my issue is that they all make clumsy moves from time to time and they all punt or press others wide from time to time. It happens and in this case I think Nico overplayed it. What I am not willing to do is engage in character assassination because I am an Hamilton fan or didn’t like Nico’s move. Nor would I for Lewis… Read more »


I have asked myself is Nico a villain? And the answer I keep coming up with is no, like many great athletes he has reached his peak at a time when another better, or more driven, or better equipped person, or insert superlative here, has reached theirs, he is left frustrated and appears to be second fiddle. Nico’s personality is such that he comes across as a spoiled petulant child, but he is trying to win. He is not Reubens and at some point you’re going to want to turn that wheel son, brake issues or not. But when racers… Read more »


Very interesting observation, I want to give that some thought, it seems very viable. Great point.


I think both driver are showing very poor judgment when it comes to racing each other. It seems they then believe they are in bumper cars. Lewis was lucky this time. Sure, Nico should have approached this corner in a different way and his defense move was clumsy. But also Lewis turned in while Nico was still there, forcing the accident although runoff area was available. Again, Nico should not have been there, but he was. So turning in could have left Lewis very easily with 0 points at the end. It seems both driver are currently in a mind… Read more »

Zachary Noepe

Totally agree. The championship this year is much like the American election – the tragic thing is that one of these two is going to win.

On the other hand, if they weren’t such emotionally fragile selfish idiots, think of how BORORORing this season would be. Thank goodness for their flaws, in a way..

I think Nico’s big mistake here is with regard to his contract. Hamilton’s signed, Nico’s not, who needs this crap anymore?

Negative Camber

I guess no one is going to start going on about the radio ban and inability for the team to tell Nico he had a brake issue and what to do about it? :) I JEST! I JEST!

If you look at what Merc had to do to get Lewis the win (first marking Ferrari and then having to change and mark Nico) and Lewis’s terrific drive, it’s a candidate for drive of the race for sure.

Paul KieferJr

Drive and Pass. ;-)


After the final tyre change, Hamilton didn’t look as comfortable moving through traffic or passing Verstappen. It took a mistake by Rosberg in turn one for Hamilton to get the opportunity to overtake. Rosberg’s driver was far more impressive for over 70 of the 71 laps. Hamilton benefited from Button holding the rest of the field for the first seven laps.

If after the next race the points are close to level, Hamilton will still be at a disadvantage due to the number of power units used.

Geoff Peterson

Because of the differences in tire compound, Rosberg was always going to be faster at the beginning of the stint, and Hamilton was going to be faster in the last laps of the race. As for the radio situation, Perez’s brakes failed sending him off the track and into a wall. Race control denied Force India a radio call to warn the driver. I’m guessing this is also why Mercedes has strategically mentioned Nico’s brakes immediately when questioned about the last lap incident. Niki, Toto and Paddy all mentioned the radio restrictions and Nico’s brake failure. At first I thought… Read more »


I just thought that Hamilton still doesn’t look as comfortable at this circuit as he does on most others. He mentioned on C4 that the nature of the corners doesn’t suit his attacking style of driving. If the safety car hadn’t allowed him to catch Rosberg, I’m not sure that he would have been close enough come the end to force Rosberg’s error. For the first time I heard Coulthard admit that Rosberg May win the championship, but that was on lap 70, when he said if he wins this it will be a champions drive. Half a lap later… Read more »

Paul KieferJr

My initial reaction was Rosberg’s fault. I have since had a look at the replays and the explanation by Anthony Davidson, and that confirmed my suspicion. A definite WTH for Rosberg, he gets the Donkey for this one.


Whoooohooooo! Manor scoreds point! And McLaren’s #2 driver keeps it going and makes it home in 6th. And some other stuff happened, great race :-)


To be honest, I think the incident was pretty straightforward. Hamilton tried going around the outside, and I thought he was assuming Nico was going to take the normal corner apex. Nico had whatever problem he had and pushed/turned way late and hit Lewis. End of story, other than the whining. I think the more important questions should be concerned with [1] why the Lewis’ team seems to fail on pit stops and strategy decisions seem to be working in Lewis’ disfavor, and [2] why F1 has decided to let any Bozo attempt to handle driver interviews. What a pathetic,… Read more »

Tim C.

As they say in football, “let the arm chair quarterbacking begin”. The comments are sometimes just as entertaining as the race. A professor I once had stated that we judge events based on our own lenses, filters, biases, etc. We draw our on conclusions based on these things. And there are a lot of conclusions being drawn on this event. That’s part of the fun of being a fan of motorsports. Without opinions all you have is a bunch of cars just running around. However, with regards to this situation, I have to remind myself that I wasn’t sitting inside… Read more »

Zachary Noepe

I respect what you’re saying but I just want to push back, not to you so much but generally, to this impression that’s becoming popular that it’s alright and inevitable to be biased. We can all strive for better than that, we can all do better than that. I don’t like Lewis Hamilton. I don’t want Lewis Hamilton to win the Championship. But Lewis Hamilton was right in this incident, and Nico Rosberg was wrong. See it’s not that hard. Your professor was right to call our attention to biases, but so we can beat them back, not so we… Read more »

Daniel Johnson

I’m more than a little surprised by your take. Just when is Lewis supposed to turn in? Each time Lewis ran Nico off the road it was on corner exit. Nico still could have run all the way up the track after hitting the apex and had momentum AND a front wing. While at the same time killing Lewis’s run. The damning part is when Nico turns in he’s already past the apex. He had no intention of getting anywhere close to the apex. Either go full measure and lock em up so neither finish or stay clean so worst… Read more »

Zachary Noepe

I know a lot of other things happened, but Verstappen! Boy was I wrong in thinking this guy was overhyped. It’s not his speed, some people have that, but this is a handy driver, one race he’s Lewis Hamilton fast and ruthless, but if the best strat in the next race is to run 50 laps on tires, he’s Sergio Perez gentle for that race, or part of the race! What a toolbox this guy has. Impressive.

Louis Jansen