Published: Fri, July 06, 2018
Sports | By Brett Lawson

Formula One: Red Bull's Verstappen Wins Austrian GP As Mercedes Implodes

Formula One: Red Bull's Verstappen Wins Austrian GP As Mercedes Implodes

"It was fantastic, very hard to manage the tyres, lot of blistering, but we managed to hang on", said Verstappen of Red Bull's first win at the circuit they own.

Mercedes failed to score points at last weekend's grand prix after both cars retired with reliability issues, but prior to Lewis Hamilton's retirement the pit wall threw away the lead of the race by failing to pit Hamilton under a Virtual Safety Car. "There's a great energy about the team".

The Dutch tyro grabbed victory after both Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas pulled up with power and gearbox failures respectively as their team's run of four straight Austrian wins came to an abrupt end at the Red Bull Ring where the track temperature was 48 celsius degrees (118 Fahrenheit). Räikkönen was third with 101 points, Daniel Ricciardo with 96, and Verstappen with 93 points.

It was also Verstappen's fourth career victory as he came home 1.504 seconds ahead of Kimi Raikkonen and his Ferrari team-mate Sebastian Vettel, who regained the lead in the drivers championship ahead of Hamilton by a single point.

Verstappen finished the race in one hour, 21 minutes, and 56 seconds, while Raikkonen ended up second, 1.5 seconds behind the victor.

The Formula One season will start a week earlier in 2019, with the Australian Grand Prix announcing its race will take place on March 17.

But Hamilton said he was relishing the challenge from Ferrari - and the evolving Silverstone circuit.

"Quali will be low fuel so probably going to try it again tomorrow, but today I tried and it wasn't possible".

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English fans were given a bit of a reprieve from the heartbreak of losing in penalties. "I felt exhausted, stressed, elated". Dier said of Pickford: "He was incredible, he's a fantastic goalkeeper and he was fantastic in the penalty shootout.

Hamilton set the overall fastest time of the day in first practice, 0.065secs faster than Vettel's fastest lap in the second session and 0.5secs ahead of the Ferrari in the same conditions in the morning.

"It's been a really incredible journey since 2007", Hamilton said of his debut season, when he finished third in Silverstone. "I'm very, very sorry guys. Not many drivers get to do that". "I'm very privileged in this respect".

Ferrari landed the first blow in their battle with Mercedes for supremacy at Silverstone after auto updates to the SF71-H delivered an immediate on-track improvement.

"I'm not a fan of these penalties", he said.

"Nobody is ideal. It would be boring if that was the case", added Hamilton, 33, whose new £120million contract with Mercedes will not be announced this weekend.

Hamilton said the team was "constantly improving" and he appeared confident that the problems would cease.

Vettel said he was hoping England would progress beyond their World Cup quarter-final match with Belgium, which starts as qualifying finishes at 15:00 BST on Saturday.

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