Kimi Räikkönen & Sebastian Vettel

Kimi Räikkönen & Sebastian Vettel

sunnuntai 21. kesäkuuta 2015

Austrian GP: Rosberg beat Hamilton to victory!

Conditions were dry when it was time to race at Spielberg. Kimi had opted to start on the yellow-marked soft tyres along with Maldonado, Perez and Ricciardo whilst all the others were on the supersofts. The start was crucial as always. Rosberg in P2 got a superb start and rushed into turn 1 ahead of his team-mate Hamilton! Finally we saw some "maximum attack" from Rosberg. Verstappen in his Toro Rosso had an excellent start as well and the Dutchman made his way past Bottas´s Williams jumping 6th. The opening lap was very unfortunate for Kimi in his Ferrari: the Iceman got massive wheel spin exiting turn 2 and his Ferrari came into contact with Alonso´s McLaren. Both hit the wall and Alonso´s MP4-30 ended up atop the Ferrari´s cockpit, only inches from Kimi´s head! The accident looked very scary and the situation could have been much worse but luckily both drivers were unharmed. After such a disasterous qualifying I would have hoped to see a splendid recovery from Kimi in today´s race but things evolved in a whole different direction today. So it was a very disappointing DNF for Kimi who should be showing his best performance if the Finn wants to convince the team to use their option on him for one more year in the team... Safety car was deployed due to the crash.

Safety car came in on lap 7 and Rosberg started pulling a gap to his team-mate. Sebastian was third, Massa fourth and Hulkenberg fifth. Bottas had closed the gap to Verstappen and the Finn was clearly determined to overtake the Dutch rookie. Verstappen´s front brakes were overheating and he couldn´t prevent Bottas from overtaking him on lap 15. Bottas´s next target was Hulkenberg and the Finn started chasing the German ahead of him. On lap 25 Bottas attacked again and made an impressive overtaking move on the Force India pilot and passed him in style. Hulkenberg pitted for a fresh set of prime tyres right after that and Williams responded to this by taking Bottas in a lap later. But unfortunately Bottas´s pit stop took a couple of seconds too long and Hulkenberg managed to jump the Finn as Bottas rejoined the track.

Rosberg pitted from the lead on lap 33. There was some drama at the pit entry: Rosberg had a huge lock-up when entering the pits and for a second I thought there might be a penalty coming up for speeding in the pit lane but luckily it turned out that Rosberg had managed to brake in time. Hamilton pitted a couple of laps later but the Briton made a costy mistake when exiting the pits: he crossed the white line at the pit exit and was therefore handed a 5-second time penalty! Still Hamilton´s second place seemed secured as Vettel seemed unable to match the Mercedes´ pace. At the same time Bottas had made his way past Hulkenberg again.

Sebastian made his only pit stop on lap 36 and it went all wrong! The pit stop was delayed as the right rear wheel took longer to change, which cost 13 extra seconds! This was sufficient to drop him behind Massa´s Williams. I was so gutted for Sebastian! I knew Sebastian was going to hunt Massa down but would it be possible to overtake the Brazilian? It was definitely entertaining to watch Sebastian´s chase.

With less than 10 laps to go there was a huge battle going on between Lotus´s Maldonado and Toro Rosso´s Verstappen for P7. Their wheel-banging battle was definitely one of the highlights of the race. On the second last lap there was both scary and thrilling moment in the main straight where Maldonado was at the very edge of losing the control of his E23 but could somehow keep it on the track making his way past Verstappen! There has been a lot of talk about Maldonado and his propensity to make mistakes and cause crashes but this time the Venezuelan drove on the limit in a very entertaining way! The Finnish F1 commentator Oskari Saari has given the Venezuelan a hilarious nickname Maldonator, which naturally comes from the Terminator and you all know how the Terminator tends to sow destruction around him... I love the way Verstappen defends his position on track with such passion but this time he couldn´t prevent the Maldonator from overtaking him.

Sebastian managed to get within striking distance of Massa but there was no chance to try to overtake the Brazilian. So there was no choice but to settle for P4 this time. This was already the second time in-a-row that Ferrari gave away the podium place! In Canada Kimi lost the third place due to the engine mapping incident and Bottas made it on the podium instead. Today in Austria there was this pit stop fuss and Sebastian lost his third place to Massa! Not good work from the Ferrari team at all. But difficult times and setbacks are part of motor racing and the team both win and lose together. Sebastian has a very mature way of dealing with these setbacks as he doesn´t point his finger at the team for the failed pit stop but takes the disappointment as "part of motor racing".

Rosberg won the race although the German had been concerned about his tyres on the closing laps as there had been a lot of vibration. Hamilton completed the 1-2 for Mercedes. Behind Massa and Vettel Bottas finished 5th, Hulkenberg 6th, Maldonado 7th, Verstappen 8th, Perez 9th and Ricciardo 10th. This was the second points finish for Verstappen this season. Toro Rosso seem to be outperforming Red Bull in an eyecatching way!

Hamilton´s lead in the championship standings is now 10 points only. Sebastian is 39 points behind Rosberg. But in the constructors´ standings Mercedes are crushing their rivals: Mercedes have now 328 points whilst their closest rival Ferrari have 192 points... Kimi is clearly going through some difficult times now. I guess it usually goes that way that the difficulties emerge when you would least want them to. But every driver faces these turning points in his career. Sebastian had a difficult time in the summer of season 2010 but he turned those difficulties into victories and won the world championship that year. I´m absolutely convinced that Kimi also can overcome these hard times and return to winning. Kimi certainly isn´t interested in what other people think but I would like him to know that there are a huge amount of fans who are willing to support him no matter what happens on track! I´m part of that group, I will always support the Iceman and I wish this magnificent racing driver all the best in the future!

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