Formula 1 returned to Austria’s Styrian Mountains, the crowds heading to the Red Bull Ring, as one of the sport’s prettiest locations, one known to produce great racing, despite just nine corners.
There, Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas delivered his second career win, and in similar style to his first in Russia – under maximum pressure from a hard-charging Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel.
There was action off the line, with polesitter Bottas getting the perfect start – followed by Vettel, and Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo, who made his move stick on Kimi Räikkönen into Turn 3.
Behind them, carnage, as Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat outbraked himself into McLaren’s Fernando Alonso – pushing him into Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, forcing the Dutchman to retire with clutch damage.
Bottas set a string of fastest laps up-front to pull out a gap on Vettel, while Räikkönen passed Haas’ Romain Grosjean for fourth on Lap 3.
Hamilton, up to fifth on the supersofts, was the first of the front pack to pit on Lap 31 – and onto the ultras to close the gap to Ricciardo in third.
But the Australian protected against a potential undercut with his stop two laps later, followed by Vettel from second on Lap 34.
Bottas showed brilliant speed in the opening stint, the Finn pulling out an 8.2 second gap on Vettel by Lap 31 before his stop 10 laps later.
But he was unable to sustain the pace – with a blistered left-rear tyre, and trouble passing backmarkers, enabling Vettel to close right up.
The last 10 laps were thrilling with Vettel chasing down Bottas for the race lead, and Hamilton catching Ricciardo for the final podium place.
Both were in contention to the final corner – but Bottas was able to stay in front of Vettel by six tenths to win the 30th Austrian Grand Prix, Ricciardo also thwarted Hamilton’s efforts for his fifth-straight podium visit.
“That champagne tasted good! The first win is obviously special, but this is only my second win, so it's a great feeling,” Bottas said.
As broadcast on 11/07/2017.