Vettel denies Hamilton in final Austrian GP practice


Verstappen relished it all at the front of the field as he managed his tires and cruised to victory at the Red Bull Ring.

On a bleak day for Mercedes, who suffered a double mechanical retirement for the first time since their return as a constructor in 2010, Verstappen and his 20,000-strong army of orange-shirted Dutch fans led the celebrations.

Often criticized for taking his aggressive race style too far, Max Verstappen kept himself and his Red Bull perfectly in check to win the Austrian Grand Prix on Sunday, taking full advantage of a bleak day for pre-race favorite Mercedes.

Hamilton's retirement is his first in 33 Grand Prix stretching back to Malaysia in 2016.

Carlos Sainz was ninth for Renault ahead of Monegasque Charles Leclerc‚ who delivered another impressive run for Sauber before he‚ too‚ was hampered by a power failure on his final out lap.

Verstappen's Red Bull team-mate Australian Daniel Ricciardo was also forced to retire on his 29th birthday.

Verstappen did not elaborate on the nature of the floor damage, only saying that it was not a result of the raised kerbs that caused problems for several drivers in the opening Red Bull Ring sessions.

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He subsequently pitted and rejoined in fourth, then had to stop again when his rear tyres blistered. We were the quickest. Dropping behind Raikkonen, Daniel Ricciardo, and race victor Max Verstappen in the standings, Bottas is 52 points off the championship lead and his challenge for this season is all but done. I had plenty of people coming to see me before the race and saying it would be a walk in the park, one and two, you have the quickest auto, and I said "let's talk in two hours" and this is exactly how motor racing can go.

Immediately, both Ferrari and Red Bull responded with double pit-stops for their drivers while Mercedes left Hamilton out - a tactical oversight that was to prove costly. "The most important thing is to understand why an error happens, and go back into the situation and analyse it".

On lap 53, he pitted again for super-softs, dropping a place to fifth behind Ricciardo, who nearly immediately slowed and stopped.

Hamilton had already been on the back foot before he stopped on lap 64, his auto suffering lost fuel pressure while he was in fourth place, after a glaring strategy error by Mercedes had cost him the lead. Sebastian Vettel (GER/Ferrari) 3.181,4. Magnussen's best time was a 1:06.404 on his 21st lap, placing him 12th on the speed chart.

They were split by the Haas of Romain Grosjean. Sergio Perez (MEX/Force India-Mercedes) one lap, 8. McLaren's Fernando Alonso started from the pit lane but finished eighth. Pierre Gasly (FRA/Toro Rosso-Honda) one lap, 12.

Williams driver Lance Stroll, who did a good job to make Q2 for the first time since the Azerbaijan Grand Prix two months ago rounded out the top 15.

Bottas had to quit after 14 laps with a hydraulic defect to his gear box.