July 04, 2016 @ 04:39 PM

It was all drama and heartbreak at Spielberg, but one man is happy to smile through it all.

Nico Rosberg, Sebastien Vettel and Nico Hulkenberg, vote for the driver who lost out most at the Austrian GP.

Despite the jeers that Lewis Hamilton received when jumping on the top step of the podium in Austria, the man was all smiles and very chatty with second place man Max Verstappen. And why not, with this win and title rival Nico Rosberg demoted to fourth after their final lap collision, Hamilton has reduced the championship battle to just 11 points.

It was a close battle between the leads, thanks to brilliant strategy Rosberg found himself starting from sixth on the grid to leading the race after the end of the first pitstops. But having put on a softer compound tyre than Hamilton in the second stop, Rosberg’s tyre started giving way long before Hamilton’s harder softs did at the closing stages of the race. This allowed Hamilton to catch up with his teammate and proceeded to take advantage of Rosberg’s mistakes resulting in a final lap collision.

Rosberg was duly penalised for causing a collision after the stewards deliberated. A 10 second stop-go penalty was added to his time but luckily for Nico, he managed to maintain fourth in front of Daniel Ricciardo. As if that wasn’t enough, Rosberg was also reprimanded for completing the race with a damaged car and given two penalty points on his license as well.

But Nico Rosberg wasn’t the only German who had to endure bad luck in Spielberg. Fellow countryman Sebastian Vettel was also a victim of bad luck. Vettel was in the lead after the first round of pitstops on the Super Soft tyres and due in for a pitstop of his own when his tyres gave way. The Ferrari driver was catapulted into the wall before rolling backwards narrowly avoiding Pascal Wehrlein in the Manor car before coming to a stop. 

The safety car had to be deployed as Vettel’s blown tyre had left a huge amount of debris on the track. The racing line was redirected into the pitlane to allow marshals time to clean up the debris from the incident.

This wasn’t the first time that Scuderia Ferrari made the wrong call and left Vettel out on the track too long. The same exact situation happened in Spa, Belgium last year when the team insisted to switch Vettel’s two stop to a one-stop strategy in the last minute to ensure Vettel finishes second. But Vettel’s luck did not hold and he suffered a high-speed tyre blow out much like he did in Spielberg.

Nico Hulkenberg was one of the unfortunate victims when the racing line was redirected to the pitlane. Having started in second place, the Force India driver found himself dropping down the grid and out of a point scoring position and battling with the Saubers and slow moving Williams right from the start. And as if that wasn’t a big enough blow, Hulkenberg was also slapped with a five second stop-go penalty for speeding in the pitlane. But his bad luck did not end there, Hulkenberg later started complaining about vibration which eventually led to retirement.

Romain Grosjean in the Haas car was having a stellar race. The team and Grosjean was looking to repeat the success of their under-cut in Australia to get into the points, but unfortunately for Grosjean, the tyres gave way forcing the Frenchman to pit for new tyres. Like Hulkenberg, Grosjean was also penalised for speeding in the pitlane and given a five second stop-go penalty. But fortunately for him, he still managed to finish seventh in the final standings.

Like his teammate, Kimi Raikkonen was also a victim of bad strategy in Spielberg. Raikkonen was racing second behind Hamilton after the first lap shake down. During the first pitstops, Ferrari had decided to stretch his stint longer and was only brought in for fresh tyres after Hamilton’s stop. As a result, the Iceman got caught behind the Red Bulls when he exited the pits.

On the brighter side, Max Verstappen in the Red Bull was the lucky man who took advantage of the slow moving Rosberg to take second on the podium. While Fernando Alonso retired from the race, Jenson Button who started in the second row of the grid had an enjoyable race and came back sixth. Pascal Wehrlein came home tenth scoring Manor Racing their first points.

With this win in the back Lewis Hamilton hits another milestone scoring Britain’s 250th victory in the sport. That is almost a hundred wins more than Germany’s 164 victories! So what is next in Silverstone next week?

Jerrica Leong 
Which driver lost out the most in the Austrian GP?

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