Valtteri Bottas claimed his second F1 win with victory in the Austrian GP ahead of Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo.
Courtesy of his second place, Vettel has extended his lead of the world championship to 20 points after Lewis Hamilton was unable to pass Ricciardo for the final podium position in the closing stages.
A largely uneventful race came alive at its conclusion as Hamilton challenged Ricciardo and Vettel tried to force victory out of Bottas’ grasp.
After Bottas beat the title leader to pole position by less than a tenth of a second on Saturday, less than a second separated their two cars when they crossed the finishing line at the end of a slow-burning afternoon in the Austrian mountains.
Having survived a lengthy investigation from the stewards over an alleged jump start, Bottas had built up a substantial lead through the opening stint. But after the leaders switched from ultrasofts to supersofts, the balance of power shifted to Ferrari and saw Vettel rapidly close in on the Mercedes after Bottas blistered his tyres.
Critically, Bottas gained almost half a second in traffic three laps from the end and made no mistake during a tension-filled final lap as Vettel shadowed him to the chequered flag.
Later told that Bottas’ reaction time off the line was measured at 0.201 of a second, a thousandth above the threshold for a penalty, an incredulous Vettel retorted: “I don’t believe that.”