Nico Rosberg led a fifth one-two of the season for Mercedes as he won the Austrian Grand Prix in Spielberg on Sunday.
Nico Rosberg closed the gap on Formula One championship leader Lewis Hamilton with a third triumph of the 2015 season after a stunning start at the Austrian Grand Prix.
The German snuck past his team-mate before the first corner in Spielberg to take the lead, with Hamilton subsequently unable to find a way past in the following 70 laps as Mercedes continued to dominate.
However, in his attempts to stay close to Rosberg, an over-eager Hamilton exceeded the pit-lane limits too early and incurred a five-second penalty, handing his team-mate top spot on the podium.
Behind the Mercedes duo, another mistake in the pits – this time from Ferrari – cost Sebastian Vettel third place. A slow stop allowed Felipe Massa to snatch third place in a heavily upgraded Williams.
Another car with several new parts was Fernando Alonso’s McLaren, but any hopes of salvaging a positive weekend were wrecked on lap one when the Spaniard’s race was ended by a heavy crash with Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen, poorly positioned after a below-par qualifying.
While Rosberg was serene in front, there were several entertaining battles elsewhere in the points, Valtteri Bottas getting the better of Le Mans winner Nico Hulkenberg to secure fifth and round off a fine day for Williams.
WHERE THE RACE WAS WON
Having taken the lead on lap 34 as Rosberg pitted, Hamilton threw away any chance he had of catching his team-mate a lap later as he crossed the pit-entry line too early. Following an investigation, Hamilton was given a five-second penalty, wrecking his hopes of snatching victory away from the German.
OFF TO A FLYER
Rosberg got a lightning start off the line as he evaded the attention of Hamilton – who tried to closed the door – down the 185 metres to turn one, before solid defence helped him make the move stick.
With Hamilton briefly taking over the race lead as Rosberg pitted, the German put his fresh rubber to good use, putting his foot down to keep the two-time world champion at bay with a lap clocked at one minute 11.235 seconds.
RACE TO FORGET
Alonso’s McLaren return was supposed to be given a kickstart this weekend with an overhauled aero package. Instead, after a host of penalties tallied to an equivalent 20-place grid drop, his race lasted mere seconds as he clipped the back of Raikkonen and finished mounted on top of his 2014 team-mate – ending both their races.
RACE STAT TO REMEMBER
For the first time in his F1 career, two-time champion Alonso retired for a fourth-successive race. Luckily for the Spaniard he suffered no injuries during as a result of the collision, both him and Raikkonen walking away unhurt.
IN THE POINTS
1. Nico Rosberg (Mercedes)
2. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) +8.800s
3. Felipe Massa (Williams) +17.573s
4. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) +18.181s
5. Valtteri Bottas (Williams) +53.604s
6. Nico Hulkenberg (Force India) +64.075s
7. Pastor Maldonado (Lotus) +1L
8. Max Verstappen (Toro Rosso) +1L
9. Sergio Perez (Force India) +1L
10. Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull) +1L
1. Lewis Hamilton 169
2. Nico Rosberg 159 (+10)
3. Sebastian Vettel 120 (+49)
4. Kimi Raikkonen 72 (+97)
5. Valtteri Bottas 67 (+102)
1. Mercedes 328
2. Ferrari 192 (+136)
3. Williams 129 (+199)
4. Red Bull 55 (+273)
5. Force India 31 (+297)
Silverstone hosts the next grand prix on July 5, with Rosberg looking to avenge last season’s retirement due to gearbox failure and make further inroads on championship leader Hamilton after three wins in the last four races.