Race Report: Bottas conquers Red Bull Ring in Austrian GP

The Austrian Grand Prix is a very Red Bull-ish affair and that’s to be expected as the energy drink company owns the Red Bull Ring but it was Mercedes and Valtteri Bottas who owned pole position followed by two Ferraris. Valtteri’s teammate, Lewis Hamilton, entered the qualifying session on the back foot with a gearbox change and 5-place grid penalty meaning that he started on Sunday in 8th.


A big win for whoever it was that organized the seas of orange shirts which consumed the grandstands in support of Max Verstappen. Great to see such a fan turnout and passion for an F1 driver. That was impressive.

While some felt the start of Valtteri Bottas may have been a jump start and even Sebastian Vettel radioed for clarification, the stewards determined that it was just an incredible start from the pole sitter.

A big win for Valtteri Bottas and Mercedes who held of a charging Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel. Valtteri did exactly what the team needed; when Lewis is in trouble, the Finn delivered and capitalized on the points denying Vettel the 25-points for a win keeping him closer to Hamilton in the championship but it also creates an intriguing situation in that Bottas is just now 15 points behind Hamilton.

A huge win for Haas F1 and Romain Grosjean with 8 points and close to sixth in the Constructors’ Championship. A great run and not one mention of brakes the entire weekend.

A win for both Force India and Williams for top-10 dual finishes. Williams were perplexing in qualifying starting at the back of the grid but made a terrific nose-to-tail recovery drive to the front for big points.

It wasn’t a points finish but Jolyon Palmer managed to beat his teammate and finishes in 11th and just one place out of the points.

A big win for Austria with Niki Lauda’s team taking the win and Dr. Helmut Marko’s team on the podium for their home race and a vibrant, passionate crowd showing just how committed the Austrian’s are to great racing.


Turn one, lap one hit from Kvyat that took Fernando Alonso and Max Verstappen out of he race. Max had a very poor start while Alonso had a great start and this placed both of them side-by-side when Kvyat cooked the corner hitting Alonso who then hit Verstappen. Kvyat has been in F1 long enough to not make these silly mistakes. Kvyat received a drive-through penalty for his actions. We did hear Max tell team boss Christian Horner that the engine wasn’t right at the start. It is his 5th retirement in 7 races.

A fail for Stoffel Vandoorne for ignoring the blue flags. That’s not what McLaren needed for their sole-remaining car in the race.

Photo by: www.kymillman.com/f1

A fail for Toro Rosso who retired Carlos Sainz with a mechanical issue and this, compounded with Kvyat’s race made a controversial weekend even worse for Sainz. Equally, a fail for Haas F1 and Kevin Magnussen with a mechanical failure in a weekend that the team seemed poised for a terrific finish given Grosjean’s pace.


For Friday and Saturday, much of the talk was about the durability of the three tire compounds on offer this weekend and how the teams would fit Ultraspofts and go the distance but intriguingly, the tires were experiencing more degradation that any of the news reports I read suggested. With 22 laps in the books, the Ultrasoft and Supersofts were all showing signs of blistering and degradation that betrayed the initial commentaries on how the tires would react in Austria. By lap 35, the teams were pitting and while they did last quite a while, drivers were really struggling with the degradation. Makes you wonder if a 2-stopper might not have been an interesting option.

The challenges of car setup and interestingly, Lewis Hamilton’s first lap after the pit stop for Ultrasofts was terrific but a few laps later, his rear tires began to show signs of wear with Lewis saying there was way too much front wing causing oversteer and putting pressure on the rear tires. An interesting look into just how critical the margins are.

Austrian GP Results:

1Valtteri BottasMercedes1h21m48.523s
2Sebastian VettelFerrari0.658s
3Daniel RicciardoRed Bull/Renault6.012s
4Lewis HamiltonMercedes7.430s
5Kimi RaikkonenFerrari20.370s
6Romain GrosjeanHaas/Ferrari1m13.160s
7Sergio PerezForce India/Mercedes1 Lap
8Esteban OconForce India/Mercedes1 Lap
9Felipe MassaWilliams/Mercedes1 Lap
10Lance StrollWilliams/Mercedes1 Lap
11Jolyon PalmerRenault1 Lap
12Stoffel VandoorneMcLaren/Honda1 Lap
13Nico HulkenbergRenault1 Lap
14Pascal WehrleinSauber/Ferrari1 Lap
15Marcus EricssonSauber/Ferrari2 Laps
16Daniil KvyatToro Rosso/Renault3 Laps
Carlos SainzToro Rosso/RenaultRetirement
Kevin MagnussenHaas/FerrariRetirement
Fernando AlonsoMcLaren/HondaCollision
Max VerstappenRed Bull/RenaultCollision

Drivers’ Championship Points:

1Sebastian Vettel171
2Lewis Hamilton151
3Valtteri Bottas136
4Daniel Ricciardo107
5Kimi Raikkonen83
6Sergio Perez50
7Max Verstappen45
8Esteban Ocon39
9Carlos Sainz29
10Felipe Massa22
11Lance Stroll18
12Nico Hulkenberg18
13Romain Grosjean18
14Kevin Magnussen11
15Pascal Wehrlein5
16Daniil Kvyat4
17Fernando Alonso2
18Jolyon Palmer0
19Marcus Ericsson0
20Stoffel Vandoorne0
21Antonio Giovinazzi0

Constructors’ Championship Points:

3Red Bull/Renault152
4Force India/Mercedes89
6Toro Rosso/Renault33


Overall Race
race-report-bottas-conquers-red-bull-ring-in-austrian-gpA good race and recovery drive from Lewis as well as win for Valtteri. It closes the championship up very nicely as Bottas is just 15 points off Hamilton. Great to see the crowd and fans out in such force and for Red Bull with a podium finish.
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To watch 3 natural born racers hamstrung by events makes for an anti-climax


You mean Verstappen, Alonso and Kyvat going out at the first corner?
Yep F1 is so fickle :-)


LH, FA, MV. I suspect Kyvat time is up in F1


No so bad for LH. I always think its quite entertaining when a fast car has to come through the field, and he did a good job of that. The last few laps dicing Ricciardo were good racing.


I would have preferred a race between LH, SV and VB up-front. Intelligent racing from LH and great defence by DB. I thought there would be contact and off into the gravel at one point. Zero points. Smart from both.


Donkey of the race goes to Kyvat….again. Just bad racing by him…he had no prayer of making that corner and clobbered Alonso.

Does anyone know the exact rule on jumped starts?

To me the spirit of it was violated by Bottas….his tires were moving before the lights went out, therefore he “started” before the lights went out. However it sounds like the rules might not be written that way. Perhaps it’s crossing the timing beam minus some “reaction time” margin that determines whether a driver jumped the start?

Paul KieferJr

According to the FIA (heard it on Sky Sports F1), there’s supposed to be a natural reaction time. If the driver beats that time, then he’s considered to have jumped the start and will be penalized accordingly. Further, I also watched a review with Anthony Davidson. Neither he nor I could see it as they looked at it frame by frame. Frame 1: Lights on, no movement. Frame 2: Lights off, just barely starting to move. Each frame is 0.4 seconds. The stewards looked at telemetry as well as the video, and they couldn’t see it, either. Ergo, it’s a… Read more »

Scott Moore

There is a video from a chap on twitter that shows his car moving while the lights are on. It’s from the onboard camera. https://twitter.com/echelonbrother/status/884025698222034945


Thanks for digging that up. This is the same footage I slow-mo’d on my DVR. His tires clearly start rolling with the lights still on. Paul Kiefer…doing a frame-by-frame with 0.4s frames is strange. Things are shot at 30 or 60fps these days which means each frame should be at the longest .03s each frame. The “natural reaction time” comment people are making is what makes this even more confusing. That means the spirit of the rule is that the driver should wait for the lights to go out, react, then go. He clearly “reacted” before the lights went out… Read more »


Thanks B52, that was my thinking also. I do not understand how movement before the lights go out can be considered within natural reaction time, would that be negative reaction time. I guess there may also be a difference between when the button is released to when the lights are actually really out that must also be considered, but, doesn’t the pre-requisite need to be the lights going out visually to the drivers for it to be a reaction and not a guess(?). Hey, I’m glad Bottas won, but it smells wrong. I also read a reference to this being… Read more »


The Sky coverage had a display showing Bottas reaction time of 0.201sec, and 4.6 sec to 200kph (125mph in old money). Apparently under 0.2sec and it would be called asa ‘jump start’, so a perfectly judged anticipated start, or he’s a ninja.
Vettel’s reaction time was s sluggish 0.393sec, and 4.7 to 200kph, he must have been snoozing :-)
Interestingly, in drag racing where its all about reaction time, you get a ‘red light’ if your tyre crosses the startline within 0.4sec of the last light on the tree going out, so Bottas reactions are too fast for drag racing!


Merci. pour votre pour votre liste information k k. k. k.


De rien

Paul KieferJr

I would also point out that the heat was a bit intense. It might have made for higher pressures in the tires. Additionally, one could also look at the road surface to see if it was a bit more abrasive than anticipated.


Well, that all come together at the end. It was surprising (to me) that after Bottas having such a strong lead in the first stint, that Vettel was able to close him down in the second stint. And inversely, it was surprising that Hamilton didn’t quite have the pace to close in on Ricciardo in the second stint. It all made for an exciting last 10 or 15 laps, even if the first 60 were a bit uneventful. It was a stellar, but totally unremarked, performance by Grosjean in the Haas. Sky completely overlooked him once he’d dropped from 4th… Read more »


Verstappen had a clutch failure at the start, he later told reporters that he wouldn’t have finished the race with that clutch anyway. But still he cld have had a couple of laps in. I hope kvyatt heard the crowd when he passed by. We were over 10.000 strong on the Red Bull grand stand (between corners 1 and 2). When he passed by he was greeted by 10.000 middle fingers and booing from the crowd. It was a very anticlimactic end to a great weekend