F1 2015: Austrian GP

Final Race, June 21, 2015

Red Bull Ring, Spielberg, Austria

Nico Rosberg probably rode the best race of his career so far, as he pipped team-mate Lewis Hamilton, to pole position at Spielberg. Hamilton entered history books despite finishing 2nd, as he equalled Sir Jackie Stewart’s long-held record of leading 17 consecutive races at the start. Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen escaped unhurt after a freak accident, where Raikkonen lost control of his car and the McLaren car ended up on top of the Ferrari. Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg finished at 6th, after a good race where he was constantly challenged by the Valtteri Bottas of Williams.

Rosberg took the lead right at the start, and retained his lead till the end. Hamilton tried to overtake his team-mate early on, but the introduction of safety car after the Raikkonen-Alonso crash blocked his attempts to put up a convincing challenge for the top spot. Later on, Hamilton acquired a 5-second penalty after edging over the white-line, where the pitlane re-joins the racetrack. This mistake by the Brit seemed to seal the race for the German at the lead.

Behind the Mercedes cars, it was constant action with a lot of overtaking moves from the drivers. The wet track ensured that competition was very close, as the drivers had to control their speed throughout the race. Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel had qualified on 3rd, and had a comfortable lead over Felipe Massa at 4th. Vettel made a pit-stop at the 37th lap and Massa took a 4-second lead, and he kept his lead till the end, despite Vettel getting very close to him at 1/10th of a second with 10 laps to go. At 5th and 6th, a battle raged between Nico Hulkenberg and Valtteri Bottas, which lasted throughout the race, and was won by Bottas.

With Red Bull, McLaren and Ferrari struggling with their cars, this year will surely be topped by Mercedes. Rosberg is now 10 points behind Lewis Hamilton at the driver’s standings, and this brings the title race back to life again. His go-getter performance won the heart of former Grand Prix champion Gerhard Berger, who cheekily complimented him by asking, “Why don’t you drive every race like this?” Rosberg’s win also drew praise from BBC commentator David Coulthard, he said: “This level of performance from Nico Rosberg this weekend, he needs to deliver that more often. And if he can…” We have got one hell of a season at hand, with two great drivers, after a very long time.