Published: Thu, July 05, 2018
Sports | By Brett Lawson

Lewis Hamilton retires from Austrian GP as Max Verstappen wins

Lewis Hamilton retires from Austrian GP as Max Verstappen wins

It was a similar situation for Red Bull Racing's Daniel Ricciardo, who also had to stop a second time. Nico Hulkenberg's engine let go early in the race while pole-sitter Valtteri Bottas had a gearbox failure.

Verstappen led Raikkonen by more than six seconds but with everyone behind the Dutchman seemingly anxious to protect tyres, he was unchallenged.

The changes to the aerodynamics of the chassis came a week after Mercedes finally introduced its improved engine, which helped Hamilton to a convincing win at the French GP.

"If you want to win a race this is the flawless place, in a Red Bull vehicle at the Red Bull Ring". And then if you win the race and see all the fans lining up there.

When asked if a challenge for the title is realistic, Verstappen told Sky Sports: "Well we never give up like I said". "Today was definitely a very good day for me". He had a very good feeling for how to manage the tires, the slip, the control, so it was a really impressive job.

Due to the significantly hotter track temperatures, blistering became a problem for the majority of the drivers, even forcing Hamilton and Daniel Ricciardo to make a second stop.

A Mercedes strategy error had already handed the lead to Verstappen by then and he responded with a mature drive to the chequered flag as his fans celebrated all around. On lap 53, he pitted again for super-softs, dropping a place to fifth behind Ricciardo, who nearly immediately slowed and stopped.

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"The auto came very good, but we just ran out of laps", said Raikkonen, reflecting on his victory chase.

"Until we get the cars back and stripped, it's hard to say".

Vettel was able to close in on team-mate Raikkonen in the closing stages of the race but, despite Vettel's advantage in the championship standings, Ferrari opted not to switch it's drivers. It was one that looked a distant possibility following Red Bull's dire qualifying. "That's why he obviously started to back off a bit". "I think the pace was very good, tyre management was very good. So positive day, but could have been better".

Grosjean and Magnussen delivered big points for Haas after eight races of underdelivery by the team that started the season with the fourth-fastest auto.

Sauber had a double points finish through Marcus Ericsson and Charles Leclerc while the McLaren of Fernando Alonso finished eighth after starting from pit lane.

The triple-header of consecutive French, Austrian and British races concludes next week at Silverstone with the championship now fascinatingly poised.

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