Winners and Losers at the Austrian Grand Prix

Winners and Losers at the Austrian Grand Prix

23 June 2014 – Formula 1 returned to Austria for the first time since 2003 and it was Nico Rosberg who led home Lewis Hamilton to collect Mercedes' sixth 1-2 of the season. We also witnessed a first-time podium finisher in Williams driver Valtteri Bottas. GPUpdate.net presents its winners and losers from the eighth round of the season.

Winners

The Red Bull Ring was an unknown quantity to all but four of the drivers – in terms of Formula 1 standards – but across practice it looked as if Nico Rosberg was off the pace compared to Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton. Nonetheless, in qualifying it was Hamilton who dropped the ball by first running wide and then spinning under braking for Turn 2. Rosberg ran wide on his first lap while in an ironic twist of fate Hamilton's spin scuppered any hope the German had of improving on his second run. Rosberg profited from Williams' conservatism in the race but nonetheless passed Sergio Pérez at a crucial moment and repelled the advances of Bottas when his tyres were past their best towards the end of the second stint. A couple of slow stops for Hamilton gave Rosberg a breathable advantage and while the Briton cut the gap in the closing stages, Rosberg hung on. This was a weekend in which Rosberg was probably not the quickest driver, yet he remained composed to extend his championship advantage to 29 points.

Valtteri Bottas
has had a solid start to the season but despite being within the top 10 throughout the year he has gone about his business in an unassuming manner, consequently not getting the attention his talent deserves. However, across the weekend in Austria he was on top form and proved it by topping third practice and setting a strong lap first time out in qualifying. But on his second lap he blew his chance by dipping a wheel onto the grass and had to play second fiddle to team-mate Felipe Massa. At the start he lost out to Rosberg but swiftly gained back the position on the run up to Turn 2. From there he jumped ahead of Massa during the first round of stops but in turn lost out to Rosberg, who he nonetheless challenged over much of the next stint. But while he ultimately regressed a little he retained third place to collect his maiden podium in the sport – a deserved success which can be a springboard for more top results in 2014.

Sergio Pérez
arrived in Austria off the back of a couple of accident-related retirements, with his penalty from Canada hanging over him. However, Force India believed that 'new elements' – along with stewards being able to hear Pérez's side of the story – would result in the sanction being overturned. Ultimately Pérez's penalty was upheld and he was forced to start from 16th on the grid. But from there he made admirable progress and exploited one of his best attributes as a driver to eke out the life in his tyres. He ended up in the lead and from there  maturely resisted the temptation to race faster rivals on a different strategy. Team orders allowed him past team-mate Nico Hülkenberg while an error from Kevin Magnussen, on fairly worn tyres, aided Pérez's advance to sixth. He felt afterwards that he could have finished on the podium; without his grid drop there's every chance he'd have been in the hunt.

Losers

The last few events have been troublesome for Lewis Hamilton. He was sauntering towards the title lead following four straight wins but was bested by Rosberg in Monaco before suffering another mechanical failure in Canada. Throughout practice in Austria he appeared seamless but when it mattered in qualifying he blew both of his chances, the first a slide wide while the second was an uncharacteristic spin. He was able to recover slightly after a bullet of a start and overhauled Massa by pouncing after the Brazilian's first stop. A series of rapid laps enabled him to jump Bottas but in missing his marks slightly he cost himself a second – a deficit which would prove crucial as he tried to hunt down Rosberg. Second place earns him a decent haul of points but he needs to return to the top step of the podium soon – what better place to do that than at Silverstone?

For four years the combination of Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull have swept all before them so company co-founder Dietrich Mateschitz duly decided to host a race at the renovated Red Bull Ring for this year. Vettel, however, was off the pace from the first practice session and he narrowly avoided damaging his RB10 when he dropped it on the exit of the final corner. His Q2 exit came as little surprise in the circumstances although he was once again usurped by team-mate Daniel Ricciardo. Vettel retained his position at the start but slowed on the second lap, before his car got going again – just as the field lapped him, ironically forcing Ricciardo to run wide. A collision with Esteban Gutiérrez was clumsy although the stewards restrained from handing him a penalty. Red Bull opted to retire him mid-distance to save the engine but this was another problematic weekend for Vettel, who has yet to click with the current spec cars. This was hardly an event for the team to remember either, as Ricciardo struggled to eighth place.

A couple of teams had underwhelming weekends in Austria – Lotus was off the pace while reliability problems for Toro Rosso masked what had been a promising situation, especially for Daniil Kvyat. But a loser for this weekend has to be Sauber. That their current position in the pecking order is expected is a sad indictment of their fall from grace, but a series of errors compounded a woeful Sunday. The team released Gutiérrez from his first pit-stop prior to his right rear wheel being securely fastened; as a result they ordered him to stop immediately. However, the radio message was also distributed to Adrian Sutil – circulating at racing speed on track – who duly obliged and lost almost 10 seconds before the mistake was realised and rectified. Sutil went on to finish 13th and while points weren't lost, it was an amateurish error from the team. To compound matters, Gutiérrez was handed the obligatory 10-place grid penalty for the British Grand Prix.

Phillip Horton
Twitter: @PHortonF1

related

Comments

Latest News
Full
Compact

  1. Thursday 5 March 2015

  2. 18:52

    Subscribe for GPUpdate Manager 2015!

    F1
  3. Manor passes crash tests with updated car 18:46

    Manor passes crash tests with updated car

    Manor Marussia has been officially cleared to compete in next weekend's season-opening Australian Grand Prix, after passing...

    F1
  4. Speed joins Vergne at Andretti for Miami 16:20

    Speed joins Vergne at Andretti for Miami

    Andretti Autosport has confirmed that Scott Speed will make his Formula E debut at next weekend's Miami round, alongside...

    FE
  5. Manor in talks with 'quick young guys' 15:17

    Manor in talks with 'quick young guys'

    Manor's President and Sporting Director Graeme Lowdon says the squad is in discussions with a few 'quick young' drivers and...

    F1
  6. Weekend deadline for German Grand Prix 11:16

    Weekend deadline for German Grand Prix

    Formula 1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone says that the future of the German Grand Prix needs to be resolved by this weekend,...

    F1
  7. Van der Garde takes legal action against Sauber 10:25

    Van der Garde takes legal action against Sauber

    Giedo van der Garde is taking legal action against Sauber, claiming that he was unfairly dismissed from the team with which...

    F1
  8. Stöckinger to make GP2 debut with Status 09:05

    Stöckinger to make GP2 debut with Status

    Status Grand Prix has confirmed that Lotus F1 junior driver Marlon Stöckinger will make his GP2 debut with the squad in...

    GP2
  9. Jaafar switches to Fortec for FR3.5 campaign 08:05

    Jaafar switches to Fortec for FR3.5 campaign

    Malaysian driver Jazeman Jaafar will race for Fortec Motorsports in this year's Formula Renault 3.5 Series. Jaafar made...

    FR 3.5
  10. Video of the Day: Ice driving with Rosberg 05:22

    Video of the Day: Ice driving with Rosberg

    Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg shows off his ice driving skills ahead of the new Formula 1 season.

    F1
  11. Wednesday 4 March 2015

  12. Manor confirms it will race in Australia 16:40

    Manor confirms it will race in Australia

    Manor has confirmed that it will return to competition and race in next weekend's season-opening Australian Grand Prix,...

    F1
  13. Pirelli names tyre choices for first four races 14:27

    Pirelli names tyre choices for first four races

    Formula 1 tyre supplier Pirelli has announced its compound nominations for the first four races of the season in Australia,...

    F1
  14. Ricciardo answers GPUpdate reader questions 14:02

    Ricciardo answers GPUpdate reader questions

    Last month, GPUpdate.net gave readers the opportunity to pose questions to Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo. We picked out a...

    F1
  15. Marciello to get practice outing in Malaysia 11:26

    Marciello to get practice outing in Malaysia

    Sauber test and reserve driver Raffaele Marciello has announced that he will take part in the opening free practice session...

    F1
  16. Lotus pleased with engine, chassis gains 10:14

    Lotus pleased with engine, chassis gains

    Lotus Technical Director Nick Chester reckons the team is in a much stronger position this year with its new...

    F1
  17. Pons confirms Merhi for 2015 season 09:38

    Pons confirms Merhi for 2015 season

    Pons Racing has signed Roberto Merhi for the upcoming Formula Renault 3.5 campaign. The Spaniard, 23, made his series...

    FR 3.5
  18. F1 2015: How did each team fare at Barcelona? 08:12

    F1 2015: How did each team fare at Barcelona?

    After eight more days of testing at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, the pre-season period is officially over....

    F1
  19. Video of the Day: Red Bull driver photo shoot 05:04

    Video of the Day: Red Bull driver photo shoot

    Go behind the scenes at Red Bull's driver photo shoot with renowned photographer Michael Muller.

    F1
  20. Tuesday 3 March 2015

  21. Video: Red Bull puts UE Boom to the test 14:43

    Video: Red Bull puts UE Boom to the test

    After teaming up with Ultimate Ears last year, Red Bull decided to put the UE Boom to the ultimate test.

    F1
  22. Alonso to sit out Australian Grand Prix 12:13

    Alonso to sit out Australian Grand Prix

    McLaren has confirmed that Fernando Alonso will sit out the Australian Grand Prix in the wake of his testing crash at the...

    F1
  23. Force India braced for early regression 09:31

    Force India braced for early regression

    Force India Deputy Team Principal Bob Fernley says the squad is braced for a slow start to the 2015 campaign following the...

    F1
  24. Williams confirms Wolff's on track programme 09:24

    Williams confirms Wolff's on track programme

    Williams has confirmed the details of Susie Wolff's on track programme for the 2015 season. Wolff, who stepped up to the...

    F1
  25. Toro Rosso has performed 'as expected' – Key 08:42

    Toro Rosso has performed 'as expected' – Key

    Toro Rosso Technical Director James Key hailed a positive pre-season campaign for the Italian squad, believing that the new...

    F1
  26. Video of the Day: Berlin ePrix launch 05:24

    Video of the Day: Berlin ePrix launch

    Highlights from the launch event of Formula E's Berlin ePrix, which will take place later this season around the grounds of...

    FE
  27. Monday 2 March 2015

  28. Arrivabene urges concentration at Ferrari 15:42

    Arrivabene urges concentration at Ferrari

    Ferrari Team Principal Maurizio Arrivabene has emphasised that the Italian outfit must remain disciplined as it prepares for...

    F1
  29. Renault 'quietly confident' ahead of Australia 14:14

    Renault 'quietly confident' ahead of Australia

    Renault Managing Director Cyril Abiteboul says the French power unit supplier is 'quietly confident' ahead of the opening...

    F1
  30. FIA confirms clampdown on helmet changes 13:08

    FIA confirms clampdown on helmet changes

    Formula 1 drivers will be restricted to just one helmet design per season after a proposals put forward by figures inside...

    F1
  31. Final Barcelona pre-season test in numbers 11:01

    Final Barcelona pre-season test in numbers

    The final pre-season test at Barcelona saw Nico Rosberg and Mercedes top the timesheets, and Sauber lead the mileage stakes....

    F1
  32. Vettel expecting close fight behind Mercedes 10:52

    Vettel expecting close fight behind Mercedes

    Sebastian Vettel says he expects a close fight between Williams, Red Bull and his Ferrari team this year – albeit some way b...

    F1
  33. Mick Schumacher to race in German Formula 4 10:45

    Mick Schumacher to race in German Formula 4

    Mick Schumacher, son of seven-time Formula 1 World Champion Michael, will make his car racing debut in German ADAC Formula 4...

    Misc
  34. Pons Racing parts company with Tunjo 10:33

    Pons Racing parts company with Tunjo

    Formula Renault 3.5 outfit Pons Racing has confirmed that it has parted company with Colombian youngster Óscar...

    FR 3.5
  35. 09:57

    Photos: Red Bull presents RB11 livery

    F1
  36. Red Bull reveals final RB11 livery 09:32

    Red Bull reveals final RB11 livery

    Red Bull has revealed the RB11 in its final race colours, ahead of the squad's planned filming day at the Circuit de...

    F1
  37. Tost happy with Toro Rosso's preparation 08:38

    Tost happy with Toro Rosso's preparation

    Toro Rosso Team Principal Franz Tost says he is encouraged by the progress the squad has made across its pre-season testing...

    F1
  38. Chilton joins Nissan's LMP1 project 08:15

    Chilton joins Nissan's LMP1 project

    Former Formula 1 driver Max Chilton has confirmed that he will make the switch to the World Endurance Championship this year...

    LM
  39. Video of the Day: Chilton links up with Nissan 08:12

    Video of the Day: Chilton links up with Nissan

    Former Marussia racer Max Chilton and Nissan GT Academy mentor Alex Buncombe discuss their roles with Nissan ahead of the...

    LM
  40. Sunday 1 March 2015

  41. 19:26

    Photos: Barcelona pre-season testing – Day 4

    F1
  42. Pérez upbeat after first experience of VJM08 19:12

    Pérez upbeat after first experience of VJM08

    Sergio Pérez expressed his optimism after he received his first taste of Force India's VJM08 at the Circuit de...

    F1
  43. McLaren prepared for tricky start to 2015 18:57

    McLaren prepared for tricky start to 2015

    McLaren Racing Director Eric Boullier says the squad is prepared for a tricky start to its 2015 campaign after pre-season...

    F1
  44. Lotus: Brake issue caused Maldonado crash 18:33

    Lotus: Brake issue caused Maldonado crash

    Lotus has confirmed that a brake problem caused Pastor Maldonado's crash on the final day of pre-season testing in...

    F1
  45. Rosberg pleased with Mercedes' pre-season 18:13

    Rosberg pleased with Mercedes' pre-season

    Nico Rosberg declared himself happy with Mercedes' pre-season preparations, after topping the combined times at the final...

    F1
more news