Hamilton overcomes collision to win Austrian Grand Prix
Spielberg, Austria — Lewis Hamilton won the Austrian Grand Prix on Sunday after colliding with Nico Rosberg on the final lap, an incident he blamed on his German teammate.
The two Mercedes drivers touched as Hamilton sought to overtake and Formula One championship leader Rosberg ended up losing his front wing, which caused him to drop back to fourth.
“He made a mistake into Turn 1, went wide, I had an opportunity and I got a run into him,” Hamilton said. “I left a lot of room, but he locked up and crashed into me. He was in my blind spot, I don’t really know what happened.”
“I think he … had a problem with his brakes but I am here to win, that’s all,” he said.
Max Verstappen in a Red Bull was second and Kimi Raikkonen of Ferrari was third.
More than three hours after the race, stewards penalized Rosberg 10 seconds for causing the crash. The penalty did not change the finish order and left him in fourth. He was also reprimanded for continuing to drive a damaged car.
Hamilton’s 46th career victory cut the gap to Rosberg in the drivers’ championship to 11 points.
“I needed those points, I did everything not to give up and push all the way,” Hamilton said.
As Hamilton took the checkered flag, his engineer told him over the radio: “Not the race we were after, but good work.”
“I was on the outside, it wasn’t me who crashed,” replied Hamilton, a three-time Formula One champion who has won the last two titles.
Mercedes had been hoping for a 1-2 finish and team chief Toto Wolff banged his fist when his saw a replay of the incident.
Hamilton was later booed when he climbed on to the podium.
Rosberg and Hamilton have a long history of clashes including a coming together at the Spanish Grand Prix in May that knocked them both out of the race, allowing Verstappen to become the youngest F1 winner.
Rosberg had won the last two Austrian GPs and started from sixth on the grid after a penalty.
Wolff told German television that the brakes on Rosberg’s car “were at the end.”
“He (Rosberg) didn’t give him enough space. It’s a pity, it shouldn’t happen,” Wolff said.
Team director Niki Lauda also blamed Rosberg, saying, “Nico had tried at all cost to prevent Lewis from overtaking with non-functioning brakes.”
But Rosberg said that although his brakes had overheated “everything was under control” and that he was “very surprised” to see Hamilton make his move.
“I’m gutted. That’s sport sometimes, but unbelievable,” Rosberg said. “I was sure to win, I lost in the last lap — pretty intense.”
“We were battling, and I was struggling a bit with my brakes and tires degrading, and that gave Lewis a chance. Nevertheless I was confident I could defend accordingly.
“I had the inside line. I went a bit deep into the corner but that’s OK, I dictate, but I was very surprised Lewis turned in. I’m frustrated about losing the win like that — I was out front, felt great and was going to win the race.”
Hamilton’s third win of the season was also the first race he won from pole. He led early but dropped back to fourth after a messy pit stop that included a slow change of his rear tire.
Both he and Rosberg had to overtake the 18-year-old Verstappen after pitting for the second time.
Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari had his right rear tire explode as he was leading the race on the 27th lap, allowing Rosberg to hit the front after the safety car departed. Vettel had started ninth, after a five-slot penalty.
Tire supplier Pirelli blamed debris on the track for the blowout.
The duel between Hamilton and Rosberg overshadowed another fine performance from Verstappen.
“It’s an amazing day, great feeling to get the second podium of my career. For sure that was a good race today, the car was performing well, as were the tires,” Verstappen said.
“I managed to overtake some cars at the start and had some good battles so that was really good fun. From there on I did my own race, Kimi was catching fast but I managed to hold him off until the end.”
Raikkonen said he felt Ferrari should have done better.
“Not an easy day for us. I did the best I could,” Raikkonen said. “We had good speed at the end, maybe I could have attacked Max without the yellow flags. With the speed we had I feel we didn’t really get what we deserved.”
The yellow flags had come up after the crash of Sergio Perez in his Force India.