Hamilton wins as Mercedes duo clash in Austria

Lewis Hamilton gets home over Rosberg in Austria

Hamilton wins as Mercedes duo clash in Austria

Lewis Hamilton claimed victory in the Austrian Grand Prix in controversial circumstances, passing Nico Rosberg on the final lap to seal victory as the Mercedes duo once again came together.

Rosberg had lead much of the race, but a late charge from Hamilton and a mistake from Robserg heading into the final lap set up another clash between the Mercedes pair.

Jenson Button moved his way into second place at the start, bettering a slow starting Nico Hulkenberg who fell further down the order when a recovering Nico Rosberg begun making his way forward.

Button though was far more stubborn, Kimi Raikkonen unable to find a way through in the opening stages even with DRS assistance.

Once Raikkonen was through Button seemed to lose the impetus, quickly losing third place to Rosberg and fourth to Max Verstappen in quick succession.

The McLaren withdrew from the situation after diving for an early changes of tyres after just nine laps, though he was far from alone as a number of others including Rosberg followed suit.

With the early stops over the race rather settled down until a slow stop from hamilton saw the pole sitter switch to soft compound tyres and fall behind his team-mate on track.

A puncture for Sebastian Vettel saw the Ferrari driver spinning down the pit straight while leading, drawing the safety car to clean up the debris that was cast high and wide across the circuit and ending his race.

With Vettel out, Rosberg held the advantage at the front at the restart while the condensed midfield began squabbling among themselves.

The battle at the front was rather more strategic, with Rosberg on older tyres but Hamilton’s rubber also being stretched if it were to make the distance.

Neither could reach the flag without a second stop, Hamilton taking service with 55 laps in the book which afforded him the opportunity to undercut his team-mate.

A slow stop and mistake at Turn 2 however meant it wasn’t enough and Rosberg emerged in the lead after his second stop, though the pair had given track position to Max Verstappen ahead.

It set up a straight fight between the two Mercedes driers for the first time in 2016, or at least the first time outside of the opening lap.

In Rosberg’s favour was the fact he was on a softer compound tyre, much to Hamilton’s annoyance.

Conversely, Rosberg’s car was afflicted by debris from Vettel’s accident which had been caught on the undertray, a fact which hurt the German’s performance in the turbulent air when working through traffic and pursuing Verstappen.

Having tried around the outside of the Dutchman, Rosberg made swift work of the Red Bull to buy himself some time ahead of Hamilton, who wasn’t able to get by quick so readily.

It took a double tow courtesy of Kevin Magnussen was the opportunity Hamilton needed, sweeping by on the approach to Turn 2.

With three laps remaining Hamilton had clawed back the ground he’d lost when passing Verstappen, though traffic conspired against him to rob him off a high percentage passing opportunity.

Hamilton made a last gasp move on Rosberg at Turn 2, looing around the outside before the pair made contact as Hamilton turned in.

The clash damaged Rosberg’s front wing while Hamilton bounced over the grass  as he rejoined the circuit.

There was no doubting whose feet the blame would lay as Rosberg clearly looked to block Hamilton’s turn-in and run the Englishman off the road.

One corner later, his front wing dragging on the road, though there was a question of whether Hamilton passed his team-mate to take the lead under yellow flags as a Force India found itself parked in the gravel after a failure at the rear of the car.

Rosberg, carrying his damaged car to the finish, fell to fourth as both Verstappen and Raikkonen also found a way through.

There will be questions to be answered at Mercedes, primarily from Rosberg who looked as though he’d tried rather clumsily to out muscle Hamilton in the way Hamilton had done to him on so many occasions.

About Mat Coch 203 Articles
Mat is a contributor and looks after the motorsport content for the website. Based in Sydney but widely travelled, Mat Coch began reporting on Formula One in the mid-2000s. In the last decade he has contributed to websites and magazines globally and in 2014 he founded Velocity, Australia’s only monthly motorsport magazine. Passionate about motorsport, Mat is an expert on Formula One.
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