Lewis Hamilton wins Styrian Grand Prix in Mercedes one-two
Mercedes in 1-2 finish, but disaster for Ferrari as Vettel & Leclerc retire after collision
Six-time world champion Lewis Hamilton dominated the Styrian Grand Prix in a Mercedes one-two yesterday to celebrate his 85th Formula One win and move a step closer to Michael Schumacher's record of 91 victories.
His teammate Valtteri Bottas, winner of last weekend's season-opener behind closed doors at the same Austrian circuit, finished a distant runner-up with his championship lead cut to six points.
Red Bull's Max Verstappen completed the podium on a sunny afternoon at his team's home Red Bull Ring after starting on the front row and being passed by Bottas in the closing stages.
Struggling Ferrari provided a major talking point with Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel colliding on the opening lap and both retiring from the race.
"What a weird year it is, but it's great to be back up here, to be driving with this kind of performance," said Hamilton, who started from pole position after a sensational lap in a rain-hit qualifying and remained in complete control.
"I'm so grateful to be back in first place. It feels like a long time coming since the last race last year, and to come back in after a difficult weekend last week is a great, great step forwards."
Bottas, who started fourth and now has 43 points to Hamilton's 37, said his afternoon had been about damage limitation.
"I still got good points, still leading (overall) so it's not too bad. Yesterday wasn't ideal," said the Finn.
It was another day to forget for four-time world champion Vettel, however.
Starting from 10th on the grid, the German was ahead on the opening lap when Leclerc launched his attack, an ill-judged move that ruined the race for both men.
The Monegasque, who started from 14th, attempted to push past his teammate on the inside of Turn Three, but rode the kerbs and instead launched his vehicle into the rear of Vettel's machine, tearing off the rear wing.
Vettel was forced to pit and retire after a safety car was deployed. Leclerc pitted for repairs and continued, but he also pulled out once the action resumed - resulting in both men being out of the race before the start of the sixth lap.
"I am sorry and I apologise to Seb and I know it is not enough at times like this," he told broadcaster Sky Sports.
"I hope I learn and come back stronger next race - it is a tough time for the team and they don't need that - I put all thoughts of the team in a bin and I am sorry. I was too optimistic this move."
A disappointed Vettel could only say: "There was nothing I could do. There was not enough space on the track and that is why we collided."
Ferrari had hoped to use Formula One's first back-to-back races at the same circuit to compare data, but that opportunity never emerged. - REUTERS, AFP
STYRIAN GP RESULTS (Top 5)
1. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 1hr22min 50.683 sec
2. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) +13.719s
3. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) +33.698s
4. Alexander Albon (Red Bull) +44.400s
5. Lando Norris (McLaren) +61.470s
DRIVERS' STANDINGS (Top 5)
1. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) 43 pts
2. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 37pts
3. Lando Norris (McLaren) 26 pts
4. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) 18 pts
5. Sergio Perez (Racing Point) 16 pts
CONSTRUCTORS' STANDINGS (Top 5)
1. Mercedes: 80 points
2. McLaren: 39
3. Red Bull: 27
4. Racing Point: 22
5. Ferrari: 19