10 Jul 2017

Bottas wins Austrian cliffhanger

9:14 am on 10 July 2017

Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas won a cliff-hanger Austrian Grand Prix as second placed Sebastian Vettel increased his lead in the overall Formula 1 championship race.

Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas

Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas Photo: Photosport

Ferrari's Vettel finishing a mere 0.6 of a second behind Bottas to increase his lead over Lewis Hamilton to 20 points after nine races.

Hamilton, Bottas's team mate, started in eighth place after a grid penalty triggered by an unscheduled gearbox change and finished fourth.

Sebastian Vettel had to settle for second.

Sebastian Vettel had to settle for second. Photo: Photosport

Vettel now has 171 points to Hamilton's 151. Bottas is third overall on 136.

"I had a bit of deja-vu in the end from Russia," said Bottas, referring to his first Formula One win at Sochi in April when Vettel again almost reeled him in at the finish and also crossed the line 0.6 behind.

"At the beginning I could control the race but it was trickier towards the end."

Australian Daniel Ricciardo finished third for Red Bull for his fifth successive podium finish with Hamilton pushing him hard to the chequered flag.

The victory from pole position was the second of the season and of his career for Bottas, who joined Mercedes in January as a replacement for retired 2016 world champion Nico Rosberg.

Apart from the closing laps, with Vettel reeling in the Mercedes in a nail-biting finish and Bottas looking anxiously in his mirrors as he wrestled with blistered tyres, the Finn's biggest scare came at the start.

Bottas reacted with split-second precision, his getaway so blindingly quick that Vettel alongside immediately questioned whether the Mercedes had jumped the lights. Stewards investigated and took no further action.

"I think that was the start of my life. I was really on it today," he said.