Austrian Grand Prix: Nico Rosberg fought the bull

“Bullfight critics ranked in rows Crowd the enormous Plaza full; But he’s the only one who knows— And he’s the man who fights the bull.”  – Domingo Ortega

The man who fights the bull

Red Bull Ring

Rosberg wins at Red Bull Ring

Nico Rosberg came in to the Austrian Grand Prix at the top of the F1 drivers champions standings.   He had performed well in the preseason testing and then finished 1st or 2nd in every one of the first seven races.   His closest competition had been Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton, who strung together four wins in races 2 through 5.

Coming in to Austria, though, it finally appeared that the rest of the field was ready to challenge.

Red Bull had finally broken Rosberg and Mercedes at the Canadian Grand Prix, where Daniel Ricciardo staged a late charge to overtake Rosberg for the win.  It seemed that would create great momentum for the Red Bull team as they headed to the new Red Bull ring in Austria.   Further, four time champion Sebastian Vettel has been locked out of the winners circle all year.  He would surely break through at some point… right?

F1 Fastpass:  Sebastian Vettel

Williams surprises the field in qualifying

Once in Austria, opposition came from an unexpected challenger:  the Williams-Meredes team.   Felipe Massa and teammate Valtteri Botas took first and second in qualifying to have the first all Williams front line in more than a decade.   Massa, released by Ferrari last year and coming off of a late race wreck in Canada seemed to be finally getting the break the F1 community was hoping to see.

F1 Fastpass:  Fernando Alonso

Mercedes shakes off the competition

By the halfway point of the race, the Rosberg / Hamilton team had overtaken the Williams pair and separated themselves from the field.  In the face of the Red Bull challenge the week before and the Williams challenge at qualifying, Rosberg captured his third win of the season, extending his lead in the drivers championship.  Teammate Lewis Hamilton finished second, keeping himself in the running.  Williams’ young Valtteri Bottas came in third and found the first podium of his career.

F1 Fastpass: Lewis Hamilton

Valtteri Bottas

Valtteri Bottas finds the podium in Austria

Felipe Massa finished fourth after some questionable pit strategies followed by Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso in fifth.

Sergio Periz came in sixth, which was especially impressive considering he started 15th due to a FIA penalty imposed after his wreck with Massa in Canada.

The rookie Kevin Magnussen finished seventh to continue a fantastic rookie run for McLaren.

The Red Bull team that looked so ready to make a run at the Red Bull ring failed to mount a serious challenge.  Reigning champion Sebastian Vettel did not finish and red Bull teammate Daniel Ricciardo finished 8th.

Complete race results

Pos. No. Driver Constructor Laps Time/Retired Grid Points
1 6 Germany Nico Rosberg Mercedes 71 1:27:54.976 3 25
2 44 United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 71 +1.932 9 18
3 77 Finland Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes 71 +8.172 2 15
4 19 Brazil Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 71 +17.357 1 12
5 14 Spain Fernando Alonso Ferrari 71 +18.553 4 10
6 11 Mexico Sergio Pérez Force India-Mercedes 71 +28.546 15 8
7 20 Denmark Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes 71 +32.031 6 6
8 3 Australia Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 71 +43.522 5 4
9 27 Germany Nico Hülkenberg Force India-Mercedes 71 +44.137 10 2
10 7 Finland Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 71 +47.777 8 1
11 22 United Kingdom Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 71 +50.966 11
12 13 Venezuela Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Renault 70 +1 Lap 13
13 99 Germany Adrian Sutil Sauber-Ferrari 70 +1 Lap 16
14 8 France Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 70 +1 Lap PL
15 17 France Jules Bianchi Marussia-Ferrari 69 +2 Laps 18
16 10 Japan Kamui Kobayashi Caterham-Renault 69 +2 Laps 19
17 4 United Kingdom Max Chilton Marussia-Ferrari 69 +2 Laps 21
18 9 Sweden Marcus Ericsson Caterham-Renault 69 +2 Laps 20
19 21 Mexico Esteban Gutiérrez Sauber-Ferrari 69 +2 Laps 17
Ret 25 France Jean-Éric Vergne Toro Rosso-Renault 59 Brakes 14
Ret 1 Germany Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 34 Withdrew 12
Ret 26 Russia Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Renault 24 Suspension 7

Back in the rotation

By most accounts, the 2014 Austrian Grand Prix was a great success and will return to the calendar in 2015.   The drivers referred to the circuit as a throwback to old school racing.   The fans delivered as one of the great fan bases in Formula 1.   The race itself provided great theater and a memorable race weekend.

10 Reasons to watch the Austrian Grand Prix

F1 Fastpass:  Jenson Button

F1 Fastpass:  Daniil Kvyat

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