Max Verstappen put his car in parc-ferme, climbed out of the car and hopped over the barrier to celebrate with his Red Bull Racing team, at the team’s home track. While not a flashy, dominant victory, he conserved his tires to mitigate Kimi Raikkonen cutting his seven-second lead to a second and a half.
“It was amazing, very hard to manage the tyres, lot of blistering, but we manged to hand on. It was amazing to win at the Red Bull Ring with so many Dutch fans here.
“I needed to catch up with the points, today was a very good day for me and I hope we can continue like this.”
Raikkonen briefly succeeded in splitting the Mercedes duo going into Turn 1 on the initial start, but ran wide rounding the turn and fell back to fourth. Waved yellows from retirements by Brendon Hartley and Daniel Ricciardo in the span of three laps allowed him to significantly reel in Verstappen, but he only cut it down to a second and a half in the remaining laps and finished second.
“I had to back off at turn one because the cars were squeezed together,” Raikkonen said. “After that, the car came good, but we just ran out of laps, and we took it easily too long. We had the right car, today, some points were a little bit difficult, but it was a good day for the team.”
Sebastian Vettel rounded out the podium and took over the championship lead, after Hamilton’s retirement in the closing laps.
“I told Max (Verstappen) he had a very good race, very consistent, no mistakes.
“Obviously it would’ve been nice to start further up, I was left with no place to go at turn one and lost the momentum.
“It was damage limitation but the pace was very good and the tyre management was very good,” Vettel said. “A positive day but it could’ve been better.”
Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen rounded out the Top-five.
Estaben Ocon, Sergio Perez, Fernando Alonso, Charles Leclerc and Marcus Ericsson rounded out the Top-10.
Pole sitter Valtteri Bottas suffered an engine failure on the 14th lap of the race and put the circuit under virtual safety car conditions the following lap. Most of the field took advantage of it to pit onto soft tires and run the remainder of the event without a second stop. Race leader Lewis Hamilton wasn’t one of them. He pitted from the lead on Lap 26, handing it to Max Verstappen.
While second through fourth ran within two seconds of each other, Verstappen was cruising to victory, unchallenged. But after multiple laps under waved yellows conditions, due to engine failures by Daniel Ricciardo and Brendon Hartley in the waning laps, Raikkonen ate into his seven-second lead. He ran out of time, however, and Verstappen drove his way to victory.
Nico Hulkenberg retired from the race with an engine failure early in the race.
Vettel leaves Austria with a one-point lead in the drivers championship, over Hamilton.