Sunday 4 December 2016

Nico Rosberg too quick for Lewis Hamilton as he takes Austrian Grand Prix win

Mark Bryans

Published 21/06/2015 | 14:50

Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg of Germany celebrates after winning the Austrian F1 Grand Prix at the Red Bull Ring circuit in Spielberg, Austria
Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg of Germany celebrates after winning the Austrian F1 Grand Prix at the Red Bull Ring circuit in Spielberg, Austria

Nico Rosberg once again proved he is the Daddy of the Red Bull Ring after leading home Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton to win the Austrian Grand Prix.

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The German, who is awaiting the birth of his first child, won here 12 months ago during a purple patch that ultimately failed to land him the championship, but he repeated the feat on Father's Day to remain in the title hunt this year.

Hamilton had qualified on pole but was well-beaten, with his hopes hit following a penalty for a small pit-lane misdemeanour, although he did easily take second ahead of the Williams of Felipe Massa.

Rosberg got the better start and eased ahead of Hamilton going into turn one and then managed to keep him at bay as the pole-sitter looked to fight back.

Any chance of battling back past Rosberg in the early stages was ended as the safety was deployed following a big accident after a coming together between the Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso's McLaren.

After the two cars had been cleared, Rosberg pulled clear following the restart as the second McLaren of Jenson Button, having already pitted for new tyres and serving a 10-second penalty, retired at the end of lap nine.

That meant both McLarens retired for the second race in succession as their ongoing issues show no sign of abating - with Alonso and Button having already been hit with 25-place grid penalties before the start.

Rosberg was maintaining a measured gap back to Hamilton in a role reversal from the Canadian Grand Prix and, after a clean pit stop on lap 34, the door was not opened for the Brit to take the lead with the undercut of pitting two laps later.

He was then hit with a five-second time penalty for crossing the line at the pit exit, meaning even passing his rival out on track would not guarantee victory.

Rosberg looked like was going to control the race but lost time after complaining of tyre vibrations five laps from the end, but he kept on and took the chequered flag to close to within 10 points of Hamilton going into the British Grand Prix in a fortnight.

"It is an awesome feeling to win again here," Rosberg said on the podium.

"The start made the race, it was a great start, I managed to defend in the first corners and then pushed this time. I was happy to see the gap open to Lewis and it worked out perfectly today."

Hamilton conceded he was beaten by the better man.

"Nico did a fantastic job today," he said. "He was quicker in the race, I had a really bad start and after that I was pushing as hard as I could."

Third place went to Massa after the Brazilian jumped the Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel following a slow pit-stop for the four-time world champion.

Vettel fought to within a second but could not pass the Williams and had to settle for fourth place, with Massa's team-mate Valtteri Bottas coming home a distant fifth.

Le Mans winner Nico Hulkenberg took sixth place for Force India, his best result of the season so far, and Pastor Maldonado survived a scare in passing the Toro Rosso of Max Verstappen in the closing stages to beat the teenager to seventh place.

The second Force India of Sergio Perez was ninth, with Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo taking the final point, despite serving a 10-place grid penalty.

There were early battles in the midfield as Bottas put a smart move on Verstappen's Toro Rosso, but the Williams could not get past Hulkenberg despite, pitting a lap later.

Romain Grosjean was also dicing in a number of battles before his afternoon came to an end as he retired his Lotus with a gearbox issue.

A number of cars struggled to keep life in their soft compound tyres after early stops, with Maldonado benefiting to pass Verstappen for seventh place.

Felipe Nasr had enjoyed a strong showing over the whole weekend and was able to fight with Perez, but he missed out on a points finish as Ricciardo passed late on to take 10th on a poor home race for Red Bull, with team-mate Daniil Kvyat in 12th.

Marcus Ericsson came home 13th in the Sauber with Roberto Merhi's Manor the last finisher, with the sister car of Will Stevens joining Grosjean, Button, Alonso, Raikkonen and the Toro Rosso of Carlos Sainz in retiring from the race.

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