Rosberg closes the gap in Formula One championship
Nico Rosberg drove past Lewis Hamilton at the start to win the Austrian Grand Prix on Sunday for a second successive season to close the gap in the Formula One world championship.
Hamilton suffered a setback around the halfway stage with a five-second penalty after infringing a white lane on a pit exit.
Rosberg stayed in command for his third race of the season and 11th of his career, moving to within 10 points of Hamilton in the standings.
“It’s an awesome feeling to win again here,” Rosberg said on the podium.
“The start made the race. It was a great start and I managed to defend in the first couple of corners. I was really happy with the car and to see the gap open up to Lewis.”
Rosberg managed to get past pole-sitter Hamilton at the first turn but the safety car came out after Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso collided on turn two.
Alonso’s McLaren mounted Raikkonen’s Ferrari as both slid along a crash barrier but both drivers climbed out unhurt.
Alonso, starting on the last row alongside teammate Jenson Button after grid penalties, went to the medical centre to be checked before giving the all clear.
“I’m OK. It was obviously quite scary,” Alonso said.
“Kimi had a lot of wheel spin out of turn two. We were overtaking him and he lost the car on the left.
“I was on the left. I could not see anything. I looked in the mirror and saw a car under my car. I jumped quickly to see he was OK. I saw he was so was happy.”
McLaren’s disastrous season continued when Button was called in after 10 laps with a technical problem.
“A brief and very disappointing Austrian GP for the team,” McLaren said via Twitter.
“Time to get our heads down for testing and Silverstone.”
Rosberg remained comfortably in front and took the chequered flag 3.8 seconds up on Hamilton (8.8 seconds including the time penalty).
“Nico did a fantastic job today,” Hamilton said.
“He was quicker during the race. I had a bad start which lost me ground. In the second stint, it was just about making the distance so that’s what we tried to do.”
Felipe Massa in a Williams held off Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel to capture third, a second successive podium for Williams after their third place from Valtteri Bottas in Canada two weeks ago. Vettel had to make do with fourth, followed by Bottas and Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg. The top 10 was completed by Pastor Maldonado (Lotus), Max Verstappen (Toro Rosso), Sergio Perez (Force India) and Australian Daniel Ricciardo, who picked up a point for Red Bull, after starting down the back of the grid.
With the F1 season moving to Britain for the Silverstone GP in two weeks, Hamilton has 169 points in the standings, Rosberg 159, Vettel 120, Raikkonen 72, Bottas 67, Massa 62 and Ricciardo 36.