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2018 Austrian Grand Prix.

Discussion in 'Sports' started by Swami, Jun 28, 2018.

  1. Swami

    Swami Soap Chat Warrior

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    F1 heads to the Red Bull Ring this weekend, not bad by modern standards but still a pale shadow of the glorious Osterreichring of the 1970s and 1980s. Still some chat that the circuit owner is trying to get planning permission to restore the circuit to its former glory, so fingers crossed!

    Swami
     
  2. Swami

    Swami Soap Chat Warrior

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    Lewis Hamilton heads Mercedes one-two
    [​IMG]
    By Andrew Benson

    [​IMG]
    Lewis Hamilton said a new aerodynamic package meant the car was "a step forward from last week"
    Lewis Hamilton led a Mercedes one-two in both practice sessions on Friday at the Austrian Grand Prix.

    Hamilton headed team-mate Valtteri Bottas by 0.176 seconds in the second session, despite setting his time on the hardest type of tyre.

    Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel, 14 points behind Hamilton in the championship, was 0.236secs back in third place.


    Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo was fourth, ahead of team-mate Max Verstappen and Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen.

    Just 0.686secs separated the top six cars on a day when there was minimal difference between the three available tyre compounds.

    Hamilton failed to improve on the theoretically fastest ultra-soft tyre after using the soft tyre on his first run early in the session. And Ricciardo's fastest time was set on the super-soft, the middle of the three tyres.

    Bottas, Vettel and Raikkonen did improve on the ultra-soft, but only after a number of attempts and by a fraction - 0.023secs in the German's case.

    Mercedes have introduced a significant aerodynamic upgrade in Austria, with a new shaping to the bodywork on the side-pods beside the driver and the airflow-shaping vanes in front of them.

    Hamilton said: "It's been a good day so far - pretty straightforward with no real issues.

    "There are not many corners here in Austria. It's a very fast track and it's very close between all the tyres. The harder tyre seems to be the better for me.

    "It's really great to see the updates; the guys at the factory have been working so hard to bring quality components. The car feels better in certain areas around the track, which is already a step forward from last week."

    Vettel said his car had been "quite good", adding: "Usually we have a good step from Friday to Saturday.

    "It is quite close, Mercedes had the upper hand today. They looked very quick in all conditions, but it was a tricky Friday and we should be well prepared for tomorrow and Sunday."

    Haas driver Romain Grosjean was best of the rest in seventh from team-mate Kevin Magnussen. Pierre Gasly's Toro Rosso was ninth, despite the Frenchman breaking his left front suspension over a kerb at Turn Nine.

    McLaren's Stoffel Vandoorne was 10th while team-mate Fernando Alonso had a bitty day, damaging his floor at Turn Nine and then failing to set a representative time, ending up 19th fastest.

    Who will win in Austria?
    Choose your top three drivers from the list below

    Leclerc's Ferrari deal done
    Off track, it is looking increasingly likely that Sauber's Charles Leclerc will move to Ferrari next year in place of Kimi Raikkonen.

    A source close to the team has told BBC Sport that the deal to promote the driver, from Monaco, after his debut season has been done, but not yet signed.

    Leclerc, who has impressed greatly since scoring his first points with sixth place at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix at the end of April, is emerging as a potential major future star. He ended the day 12th, with team-mate Marcus Ericsson 14th.

    [​IMG]
    The Austrian GP takes place in the dramatic surroundings of the Styrian mountains
    [​IMG]
    The only real on-track drama so far has been Pierre Gasly's broken suspension

    Swami
     
  3. Swami

    Swami Soap Chat Warrior

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    Lewis Hamilton loses out to Valtteri Bottas in Austria & Sebastian Vettel is penalised
    [​IMG]
    By Andrew Benson

    [​IMG]
    Sunday's race is live on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra and the BBC Sport website
    Valtteri Bottas pipped Lewis Hamilton in a tight fight for Austrian Grand Prix pole position as Sebastian Vettel was penalised for impeding a rival.

    Vettel, 14 points behind Mercedes driver Hamilton in the championship, will drop from third to sixth after being found guilty of blocking Renault's Carlos Sainz.

    Bottas took pole by 0.019 seconds after Hamilton made life difficult for himself with a mistake on his first lap.


    Vettel qualified 0.334secs behind the Finn in his Ferrari.

    But the German will now start behind his team-mate Kimi Raikkonen, the Red Bull of Max Verstappen and the impressive Haas of Romain Grosjean.

    Verstappen's team-mate Daniel Ricciardo took seventh, and expressed his unhappiness with Red Bull's strategy during the session.

    [​IMG]
    Who, me? Bottas is actually quite good around Austria - this is his second pole. Last year he won from the top spot
    Bottas the star for once
    Bottas blitzed the first runs in the top 10 shootout, while both Hamilton and Vettel made errors.

    The Finn was nearly 0.5secs clear of Hamilton after the Briton ran wide at Turn Three, the second hairpin, and lost speed all the way down the following straight.

    Vettel also ran wide and lost time - but in his case at Turn Four.

    Hamilton put it together on his second run but was on the back foot and Bottas improved anyway to move the goalposts even further ahead.

    In the stewards' investigation into the incident with Sainz, Vettel said that he had not been warned about the Spaniard behind him and could not see him in his mirrors. But the stewards ruled that Vettel "should not have been so slow and on the racing line during a slow-down lap".

    Who will win in Austria?
    Choose your top three drivers from the list below

    Red Bull tension
    Red Bull were struggling for pace on their home track, with Verstappen fifth and Ricciardo seventh, split by Haas driver Romain Grosjean.

    But there appeared to be tension on track as Ricciardo seemed to slow at one point in Q3 to try to let Verstappen by, but the Dutchman refused the invitation.

    Ricciardo was then heard on the radio saying: "There is no point me running. I'm just punching a hole." It was an apparent reference to the proximity between the two cars on track and the Australian being close enough to give Verstappen a slipstream, which would be an advantage.

    Later, Verstappen, again running behind Ricciardo at the start of their second runs, was heard saying on the radio: "What is going on?"

    He was told by his engineer Gianpiero Lambiese: "Just overtake him, mate."

    Verstappen replied: "No. Last weekend I was in front and now he is in front."

    He was again told to overtake him, and Verstappen replied: "No. Discipline."

    Ricciardo was angry because the team decided the drivers would do three runs in Q3, and he was ahead for all three.

    [​IMG]
    The pot has been boiling in the Red Bull camp since Verstappen joined the team in mid-2016
    The aftermath
    The Australian said: "I knew I was going to be first but my argument was, having three runs, at least give me one run when I am not first. I can be disadvantaged for two, but give me one where I got something.

    "Every weekend we swap. One car goes first. This time it was me. But at least give me one. I don't want to think too much into it. It just a simple question - why couldn't I have at least one run, which was fair? Or give me with a tow one run.

    "Call it luck of the draw because it's my turn this weekend to be first, fair enough I'll take it, but why all three? I was just bleeding lap time on the straight and 0.2secs is 0.2secs. You've got to push back, and I feel this weekend is worth pushing back for."

    Verstappen said the drivers take it in turns and that he had to punch the hole for Ricciardo in France; this week it was Ricciardo's turn to return the favour.

    "Why is he frustrated? He did all weekend in Paul Ricard in qualifying and we always swap around. Paul Ricard I was ahead. Canada I was behind. And next weekend I'll be in front again. I understand it is not nice, but it was also not nice for me in Paul Ricard.

    "It was very clear what the team wanted and what they said before qualifying and I stick with that."

    Verstappen ended up 0.156secs quicker than Ricciardo, behind whom the second Haas of Kevin Magnussen and the Renaults of Sainz and Nico Hulkenberg completed the top 10.

    Two great names struggling
    McLaren had another difficult day. Fernando Alonso looked as if he could have qualified in around 11th or 12th place but he ran wide on his final run in second qualifying at the final two corners, damaging his front wing and failing to improve on his earlier time.

    That left the Spaniard 14th, while team-mate Stoffel Vandoorne ended up 16th, failing to progress beyond first qualifying, when he was nearly 0.3secs slower than Alonso.

    A Williams made it out of Q1 for the first time since the Monaco Grand Prix, Lance Stroll qualifying 15th, and giving a little whoop of delight as he was told of his time at the end of the first session.

    All three men will be promoted one place on the grid as a result of a five-place penalty for an unauthorised gearbox change for Sauber's Charles Leclerc, who qualified 13th.

    [​IMG]
    Hamilton arrived for qualifying on his motorbike, before promptly choking his fans - to their delight
    What they said
    Valtteri Bottas: "The whole weekend we have been making good progress with the set-up. The car felt so good and in the last run I knew there was 0.1secs I could improve on the first run and I managed to find it. Apparently I needed it."

    Lewis Hamilton: "Not too bad. I am happy with it. Valtteri did a stunning lap on the first run and I did a little mistake and that kind of ended the run. This is a great result for the team and Valtteri deserved it today."

    Swami
     
  4. Swami

    Swami Soap Chat Warrior

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    Lewis Hamilton retires from Austrian GP as Max Verstappen wins
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    By Andrew Benson

    [​IMG]
    Lewis Hamilton lost the world championship lead after retiring from a sobering Austrian Grand Prix for Mercedes, as Max Verstappen took an unexpected victory for Red Bull.

    Hamilton retired due to a loss of fuel pressure with eight laps to go as he was looking to regain his title lead following a Mercedes strategy blunder and tyre problems.

    His retirement, with title rival Sebastian Vettel finishing third in his Ferrari behind team-mate Kimi Raikkonen, puts Vettel into a one-point lead heading into next weekend's British Grand Prix.


    Mercedes will leave Austria and head to Silverstone with plenty on their minds as they ponder how what had looked set to be an easy one-two on a weekend they had dominated fell apart.

    Their problems handed a first win on their home track to Red Bull, for whom Verstappen drove beautifully to control the race once Mercedes hit their problems, well out of reach of the pursuing Ferraris.

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    Verstappen's Dutch fanbase were out in force in Austria
    Mercedes miss a gaping open goal
    What had appeared set to be a comfortable cruise to a one-two for Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas began to fall apart for Mercedes relatively early on.

    Bottas started from pole but Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen muscled between the Finn and Hamilton off the line and took second place, with Hamilton into the lead and Bottas briefly falling back behind Verstappen into fourth after the first corner.

    Bottas reclaimed second place with a brave move around the outside of Verstappen and Raikkonen into Turn Four and Mercedes looked to be in control.

    But Bottas retired on lap 14 of 71 with a loss of hydraulic pressure, and Mercedes' strategists failed to react to the imposition of the virtual safety car, which remotely forces all cars to reduce speed, as his car was recovered.

    Stopping under the VSC costs less time than during active racing and all the leading teams apart from Mercedes took advantage. The world champions soon realised they had made a grave error.

    Verstappen rejoined just 13 seconds behind Hamilton, with Raikkonen and Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo also close enough to mean the Briton would come out behind them when he stopped.

    [​IMG]
    The last time both Mercedes retired from the same race from mechanical reasons was the 1955 Italian GP
    Mercedes' chief strategist James Vowles came on to the radio to apologise to Hamilton, saying it was his error - a message he had to repeat later in the race after his driver complained about the team "throwing away a win".

    It was the third time this season that Mercedes' strategists had made an error around a safety car - after Hamilton lost a win in Australia in March, they failed to stop him under a safety car in China.

    But as it happened, Mercedes cascading series of problems made the strategy error moot.

    Hamilton stopped on lap 25 for tyres and rejoined in fourth, ahead of Vettel. But the world champion was soon struggling with rear tyre wear and his rival closed in, and overlook on lap 39.

    A dark stripe was appearing on Hamilton's left rear tyre - a sign of blistering, where the rubber overheats, bubbles and tears badly - and it became clear Hamilton would have to stop again and fourth was the best he could hope for. Ricciardo had already run into his own blistering problems and dropped back, and would retire later with a broken exhaust.

    But then on lap 63, Hamilton complained of a loss of power and pulled off the track with a loss of fuel pressure, his first failure to finish in the points since the 2016 Malaysian Grand Prix, when an engine failure inflicted major damage on his title hopes.

    Verstappen's unlikely win
    Heading into the race, few would have predicted a Red Bull victory, after the team's least competitive showing in qualifying of the year so far. Nor would anyone have predicted such a thrilling, eventful race when Mercedes looked set to dominate.

    But hotter temperatures in the race than in qualifying brought them back into the competitive picture, and Verstappen put himself into a position to benefit from Mercedes' misfortunes with an aggressive first lap.

    As Raikkonen ran wide out of Turn Three after challenging the Mercedes, Verstappen pounced. Bottas passed the Ferrari and Red Bull on the outside on the run to Turn Four, and then the Dutchman took third place from the Ferrari with a brave move into the fast Turn Seven.

    Verstappen stayed within range of the Mercedes in the opening stint and was in a position to pounce when Bottas hit problems and Mercedes messed up Hamilton's strategy.

    The 20-year-old had a difficult start to the season, with significant errors in all the first six races, but since the Canadian Grand Prix he has driven beautifully with the control and precision that marked this race.

    Verstappen was six seconds clear of the Ferraris with 20 laps to go, but he began to run into the same blistering problems that had afflicted Ricciardo and Hamilton and he had to measure his pace to the end. He crossed the line just 1.5secs ahead of Raikkonen, with Vettel a similar distance behind.

    [​IMG]
    Nico Hulkenberg was the first to retire from a race which tested many of the cars to breaking point
    The good side to Grosjean
    Behind the top three, Romain Grosjean took his first points of an incident-prone season on a strong weekend for Haas, for whom his team-mate Kevin Magnussen finished fifth, just 1.575secs behind.

    The Force Indias of Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez were next, ahead of an unlikely eighth place for Fernando Alonso's McLaren after starting from the pit lane.

    The Spaniard had a difficult race running at the back for a while, but benefited from the unusually high number of retirements and not being affected by the tyre blistering on some other cars, and passed Sauber's Charles Leclerc in the closing stages.

    Leclerc, expected to replace Raikkonen at Ferrari next season, was ninth, ahead of team-mate Marcus Ericsson, the two passing Toro Rosso's Pierre Gasly together at Turn Four in the closing laps.

    Driver of the day
    [​IMG]
    It has to be Verstappen. Red Bull had looked down and out after qualifying but the Dutchman matched aggression with control and intelligent race management to produce what team boss Christian Horner called "an incredible, unexpected win"
    What happens next?
    The British Grand Prix next weekend is the third race of F1's first 'triple header'. Mercedes will be expected to dominate there, as the track's high-speed nature and sweeping corners is likely to perfectly suit their car's qualities. But Austria showed that nothing can be taken for granted.

    What they said
    Verstappen said: "It was really hard to manage the tyres. We had to manage them and hang on. I need to catch up with the points. It was a good day for me and I just hope we can continue like this."

    Vettel said: "We were chasing him down at the end but couldn't quite make it. The pace was good, the tyre management was good. Positive day."

    [​IMG]
    The hills are alive etc... The race takes place in the Styrian mountains
    [​IMG]
    That guy: the pre race entertainment had nothing on what unfolded on track

    Swami
     

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