PIELBERG.- El finlandés Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) ganó el Gran Premio de Austria, la novena prueba del Mundial de Fórmula Uno, disputada este domingo en el Red Bull Ring de Spielberg.
Bottas logró su segunda victoria desde que pilota en Fórmula Uno al ganar en Austria por delante del cuádruple campeón del mundo alemán Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) -que reforzó su liderato en el Mundial- y del australiano Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull), que lo acompañaron en el podio de una prueba en la que los dos españoles, Fernando Alonso (McLaren-Honda) y Carlos Sainz (Toro Rosso), tuvieron que abandonar.
El triple campeón mundial inglés Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes), quien había arrancado octavo, acabó cuarto y ahora sigue segundo en la general del Mundial, pero a veinte puntos de los 171 con los que lidera Vettel.
Bottas, que había arrancado desde la ‘pole’, ocupa el tercer puesto, con 136 puntos, 29 más que Ricciardo, que es cuarto en la general.
La próxima carrera, el Gran Premio de Gran Bretaña, se disputará el próximo domingo en el circuito de Silverstone.
Valtteri Bottas enjoyed a dominant victory at the Austrian Grand Prix as Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton could only come home in fourth.
Hamilton’s title rival and drivers’ championship leader Sebastian Vettel finished second to open up a 20-point lead over Hamilton after the Briton could not find a way past Daniel Ricciardo, who finished third in Red Bull’s home race.
Starting eighth after being hit with a five-place grid penalty for a gearbox change, Hamilton said he was aiming for a damage limitation weekend heading to Silverstone, but he missed out on the podium as Bottas had enough speed to keep Vettel at bay despite a late surge from the German.
Moving on from the controversial Azerbaijan Grand Prix a fortnight ago, Bottas put himself on the edge of the title picture by taking the chequered flag ahead of Vettel and Hamilton, whose flashpoint in Baku had made sure they hogged the headlines earlier in the weekend at the Red Bull Ring.
Bottas, now only 15 points adrift of Hamilton, was so quickly off the line that the race stewards took 26 laps to investigate if the flying Finn had jumped the start, only to deem he was in the clear and had simply timed it to perfection.
“I think that was the start of my life, I was really on it today,” the winner said on the podium.
“I’m really happy. It is only the second win in my career, a massive thank you to the team. It is still a long year ahead, we are not even halfway and it makes good for the points, but we are still developing as a team.”
Someone who had differing fortunes was the Red Bull of Max Verstappen, whose race in front of thousands of Dutch supporters would last just one corner.
He was bogged down off the start and fell back into the pack from fifth, and once Fernando Alonso’s McLaren was shunted by Daniil Kvyat, he was a sitting duck as he was hit and forced to retire for the fifth time in seven races.
Alonso was also taken out of the grand prix while Kvyat survived but the Toro Rosso driver was hit with a drive-through penalty for causing the collision. Hamilton came through unscathed but could only make up a place on the first lap with Verstappen off at the first corner.
He soon eased past Sergio Perez on lap six and the fast-starting Haas of Romain Grosjean was next up, despatched with no real problems.