Hamilton dominates Styrian GP ahead of tight midfield battle – Report

Lewis Hamilton turned in a dominant performance to win the Styrian Grand Prix, with Valtteri Bottas claiming second through a late overtake on Max Verstappen.

The biggest drama happened at both ends of the race – on the opening lap the two Ferraris collided, ending both of their races, while wing damage for Sergio Perez at the end of the race resulted in four cars separated by a second at the line.

The race didn’t live up to the blockbuster season opener last week, but a strong fight in the midfield provided the entertainment with Perez putting in a supreme drive from 17th on the grid to finish sixth.

The Mexican looked to be on for a fourth-place finish as he closed in on Albon at the end of the race, and ran within a second of him for several laps.

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At the end of the race Lando Norris, Perez, Lance Stroll and Daniel Ricciardo were all battling for fifth position with Norris taking the place on the penultimate corner. Perez was suffering wing damage after a collision with Alex Albon and lost ten seconds in the final two laps but looked to have held the place.

With two laps to go Norris, who had been at the back of the train, took advantage of Stroll overtaking the Australian to make up a place, and then took Stroll too on the final lap.

At the front, Hamilton was always in control – he led most of the laps apart from when he pit before Bottas and eventually won by 14 seconds from his teammate.

Carlos Sainz allowed Norris through in the closing laps and then pit for soft tyres to make an assault on fastest lap. He duly claimed the extra championship point to finish a second good weekend for the British team.

Bottas started fourth but overtook Albon early in the race and spent most of it chasing Verstappen, who pit earlier in the race.

The Mercedes looked to have made the place on the back straight with five laps to go, but Verstappen defended brilliantly and the two ran side-by-side through the whole second sector before the Dutchman retained the place.

However, Bottas took the position on the next lap with Verstappen struggling with front wing damage.

Daniil Kvyat rounded out the top 10 with a good performance for Alpha Tauri. Pierre Gasly had done well in qualifying, coming eighth, but dropped off in the race, but Kvyat gained a valuable point for the team on a second consecutive strong weekend.

The other team of note were Ferrari, who finished a torrid weekend with a double none-finish. At the start Vettel was in a group of cars, and was in the middle of the track at turn four.

But Charles Leclerc launched an optimistic move up the inside and then bounced up the kerb. His rear left tyre hit Vettel’s rear wing and put him out of action. He was followed shortly into the pits by the Monegasque driver – a big comedown from his second-place last week, and Leclerc took full responsibility for the incident.

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