Home Car News Austrian GP: Final Lap Crash for Mercedes Evens out Podium, Hamilton-Max-Kimi

Austrian GP: Final Lap Crash for Mercedes Evens out Podium, Hamilton-Max-Kimi

Hamilton has won his third Grand Prix of the season at the Austrian GP today, in a dramatic race to the end that saw both Mercedes drivers collide on the final lap. Rosberg was in the lead, with a 0.4s gap over Hamilton, both were wading through traffic on the final lap. The contact threw Rosberg off the lead allowing Hamilton to cross the finish line first.

Max Verstappen was probably the most spectacular driver today, having only stopped once when the rest of the field had at least two stops. The Red Bull driver was running third prior to the last minute crash, he finished second after Rosberg’s fall out. Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen settled for third

“Wooo – that was intense at the end. He made a mistake, I was ahead on the outside under braking and as I tried to turn he decided to crash…Oh jeez.” Hamilton told Verstappen.

Rosberg is now under investigation for causing the collision and failing to stop with a broken car. Hamilton is only 11 points behind the standings leader, Rosberg.

Austrian GP 2016 Results

1. Lewis Hamilton – Mercedes
2. Max Verstappen – Red Bull
3. Kimi Raikkonen – Ferrari
4. Nico Rosberg – Mercedes
5. Daniel Ricciardo – Red Bull
6. Jenson Button – McLaren
7. Romain Grosjean – Haas F1
8. Carlos Sainz – Toro Rosso
9. Valtteri Bottas – Williams
10. Pascal Wehrlein – Manor Racing

The Austrian GP has had an on-off relationship with the Formula 1 calendar, having taken place first in 1964, then between 1970 and 1987 before a long hiatus which ended in 1997. The race was retained on the calendar until 2003, it was then stopped for a decade again till 2013. The beginning of the hybrid era in 2014 also resumed the Austrian GP which has been won by Nico Rosberg in the last two years.

McLaren who have the highest number of wins in Austria started from third, an incredible start for a team that has gradually shown improvements over the last few races. Nico Rosberg qualified second but started from sixth, Vettel qualified fourth but he started from ninth – both drivers were serving a five-place grid penalty for gearbox changes.

Hamilton led the formation lap of the Austrian GP 2016 away from Hulkenberg, Button, Raikkonen, Ricciardo, Rosberg and Bottas. The Mercedes driver got away quickly while Hulkenberg’s start failed to match Button’s pace. Both Button and Raikkonen passed Hulkenberg in the process, settling for second and third while demoting the Force India to fourth.

Kvyat started from the pits today but trouble followed him to the field, a few laps after the start he parked his Toro Rosso. After six laps, Rosberg had moved to fifth, one place up while Vettel was running eighth. The order changed quickly when Rosberg’s pace got in shape, the Mercedes driver passed both Hulkenberg and Button before settling for third, Verstappen was right behind him in fourth.

Hamilton ahead, continued to score a series of fastest lap times but with a slight 4s gap over second placed Raikkonen. Vettel on the other had managed to jump the crowd ahead and was now running fifth behind Verstappen after 10 laps. Rosberg took his first pitstop almost immediately after lap 10, he rejoined behind traffic in seventh place.

Ricciardo also made his first stop and just like Rosberg, he picked up a set of soft tires. With Rosberg already up to fourth, the top leaders were yet to make their first stop – Hamilton and the two Ferraris. Despite being on supersoft, Raikkonen was not matching Hamilton’s speed who was on a worn out ultrasoft tire.

After 20 laps of 71 at the Austrian GP 2016, Hamilton led the race from Raikkonen, Vettel, Rosberg, Verstappen, Ricciardo, Grosjean, Nasr, Button and Hulkenberg. The Brit pitted after lap 21 and at the same time Rosberg set a new fastest time of the race on 1m09.929s. Raikkonen also made his first stop picking up softs just like Hamilton, Vettel claimed the lead ahead of Rosberg and Hamilton.

The safety car came out on lap 27 after Vettel plunged into the wall due to a puncture on the main straight. “Rear right exploded – nothing I can do, engine off. That’s it, sorry guys,” said the Ferrari driver. The car sustained major damage, it was over for Vettel at the Austrian GP 2016.

The race was back to green on lap 32 with Rosberg leading the pack, the new front order was Mercedes-Red Bull duo followed by the lone Ferrari of Raikkonen in fifth. It was later established that debris on the track were the reason for Vettel’s race-ending puncture. At the front, Hamilton and Rosberg were only separated by 1.6s, and they were both exchanging fastest times of the race lap after lap.

Rosberg nearly lost it at turn 2 on lap 45 after locking hard and running off, Hamilton trimmed the gap to 1s but the German was able to get back his pace. Hamilton was also warned of critical load levels on his suspension at turn 9.

Hamilton made his second stop on lap 55 and rejoined in third behind Verstappen and in front of Ricciardo. He however ran wide at turn 2 just before Rosberg’s second stop. The mistake proved costly for Hamilton as it bought more time for Rosberg who emerged ahead of the Brit in second, Verstappen had the lead now.

Rosberg managed to pass Verstappen on lap 61 with the help of DRS, Hamilton was now stuck behind the Red Bull in third. His moment came on lap 63 where he passed the Verstappen on the straight as they both lapped Palmer, still incredible since Verstappen appeared to be on a one stop strategy.

Hamilton was only 1s behind Rosberg as the race end neared, Verstappen was 5s behind the duo. Massa and Alonso retired their cars with less than 10 laps left in the race, meanwhile, Button was eyeing for a strong P6 finish. And Hulkenberg also followed Massa and Alonso into retirement.

The final 3 laps were closely fought between the Mercedes cars for first while Verstappen had to defend his worn out tires in a fight for third. Drama unfolded on the final lap when both Hamilton and Rosberg crashed, and Hamilton claimed the lead. Rosberg fell back allowing Verstappen and Raikkonen to pass through, an eventful finish but a sweet victory for Hamilton!

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