Austrian GP – A mountain to climb in the styrian alps

Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen finished fifth and tenth respectively in this the eighth round of the Formula 1 World Championship. All four of the cars that finished ahead of the Spaniard in his F14 T were Mercedes-powered, underlining the current superiority of the German power unit. Nico Rosberg took his third win of the season for Mercedes, ahead of team-mate Lewis Hamilton, while Valtteri Bottas secured his first ever F1 podium finish, in third place for Williams. Despite progress made on the F14 T development front, the other teams are not resting on their laurels, hence the lack of change in the pecking order, on a day when the Red Bulls failed to shine at their home track.

After the start, Fernando who was fourth on the grid, immediately fell victim to Lewis Hamilton, who had charged up the field from ninth on the grid in the Mercedes. As Vettel had a problem in the Red Bull, Kimi was temporarily up one place to seventh. Felipe Massa maintained his lead from pole, while Bottas in the other Williams briefly lost second to Rosberg, only to take it back again on the same lap. By lap 10 of 71, Fernando was having a lonely time in fifth, 5.4 behind Hamilton. Both Ferrari men suffered badly from graining on the Supersoft and their pace improved slightly once they changed to the Softs, Fernando on lap 14 and Kimi on lap 15. In the case, of the Finn, his tyres were very worn by this stage and a slow in-lap dropped him down the field.

GP AUSTRIA F1/2014

At this point, there was not a lot the two Prancing Horse men could do, even if Fernando showed stunning pace, running laps as fast or faster than the leaders in the final stint, after he and Kimi made their second and final pit stops on laps 47 and 44 respectively. If the general feeling after Saturday’s qualifying was that the two Williams would struggle to maintain their front row status in the race, in actual fact Bottas and Massa had a strong pace and the Mercedes duo had to work hard to re-establish their superiority. In the closing stages, Hamilton looked as though he might threaten his team-mate, but Rosberg held him off to the flag.

Mercedes is now on an impressive 301 points, over twice as many as second placed Red Bull in the Constructors’ classification, in which the Scuderia is third. In the Drivers’ Rosberg and Hamilton look similarly dominant, while the battle for third is closer, with Fernando on 79 points closing the gap to Daniel Ricciardo on 83. From a track with fast straights and medium speed corners, the championship now moves to the very different challenge that is Silverstone, where, with just one long straight, but plenty of high speed corners, the teams will face a very different challenge in the British GP.

GP AUSTRIA F1/2014

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