Hamilton loses lead in title race

05 July, 2018, 06:47 | Author: Ellis Copeland
  • Daniel Ricciardo upset with team, and his teammate, after F1 qualifying in Austria

Daniel Ricciardo was left fuming with Red Bull and teammate Max Verstappen saying the tactics used during qualifying Saturday for the F1 Austrian Grand Prix 'could have been more fair'.

As his rivals fell by the wayside with the problem or via mechanical problems, the Dutchman was free to manage his own race at the head of the field and kept his tyres in check to take his fourth F1 victory, the first for Red Bull at their home circuit. His enthusiastic celebratory message over the radio said it all - he might look likely to be staying at Mercedes for 2019, but the Finn is in desperate need of a win to propel himself back towards the title fight.

"So, yeah, fantastic that they all came over here", he said. Verstappen, who started fourth on the grid, managed to move up to third on the opening lap, and then moved into second when Bottas retired on the 14th lap of the race.

"He was very much in control", Horner said.

Max Verstappen has said he ran in FP2 with a cut floor after his RB14 sustained damage at the Red Bull Ring. Verstappen's Red Bull team-mate Australian Daniel Ricciardo was also forced to retire on his 29th birthday.

On his win, he added: "It's wonderful to win with Red Bull at the Red Bull Ring and with so many Dutch fans around here, it's incredible".

More news: Brilliant Cavani brace fires Uruguay into last eight

But while Red Bull and Ferrari quickly brought in both drivers for fresh tyres, the Mercedes garage did not make the same call for Hamilton. This morning I felt better on the soft tyre than the ultra and this afternoon I did a better time on the supersoft than the ultrasoft.

"I had plenty of people coming to see me before the start and saying, 'This was going to be a walk in the park, 1-2, you have the quickest auto'". "We can all understand there is a financial reality that needs to be respected". Fortunately, he was able to hold on for a win ahead of Ferrari duo Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel. "That's why he obviously started to back off a bit". "I think the pace was very good, tyre management was very good". Long term probably the best chance to win a championship.

The race high attrition rate became obvious from the start.

The result was particularly important for Grosjean, who had hitherto failed to score a point through a series of critical driver errors. It was double points finish for Sauber - with Charles Leclerc finishing ninth and Marcus Ericsson taking tenth place.

The triple-header of consecutive French, Austrian and British races concludes next week at Silverstone with the championship now fascinatingly poised.

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