Austria GP review: Bottas muscles in on title battle

Local battle: Perez leads Hamilton and Ocon in Austria
Local battle: Perez leads Hamilton and Ocon in Austria

The 2017 F1 title race may have a new member in the form of Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas after his victory in Austria on Sunday brought him into the mix and he reeled in both Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel.

The Finnish driver made a rapid start from pole at the picturesque Red Bull Ring and never looked back, easing to a well-deserved victory, and with Vettel second and Hamilton fourth, his 25-point haul bring him into contention for the 2017 title.

A delighted Bottas said afterwards: “That champagne tasted good! The first win is obviously special, but this is only my second so to get it is a great feeling. It’s been my best weekend so far, qualifying on pole and then racing to a win. I hope I can continue my season from here.”

Bottas’ team boss at Mercedes Toto Wolff said: “This was a great day for Valtteri and he drove superbly. His start was perfect and he controlled the race to follow his Russian win with an emphatic display in Austria.

“We have shown that Mercedes are in a good position in the world championship. We are placed second and third and are not far behind the championship leader, everything is to play for and now we head to Silverstone for the British Grand Prix, a race that takes place just a few miles from our factory. We are looking for another success at this race.”

By finishing seventh, Sergio Perez has steered his Silverstone-based Sahara Force India into the top six of the championship, while team-mate Esteban Oxon was also in the points.

Perez said: “We had a good car all week and I was pleased to continue to fight for good positions. With some luck we could finish inside the top three or four and I think that we should go well at Silverstone.”

Part Bicester-based Scuderia Toro Rosso were out of luck in Austria. Daniil Kvyat finished well down in 16th, and Carlos Sainz Jr. was a race retirement.

Standings: Vettel, 171pts; 2. Hamilton, 151; 3. Bottas, 136; 4. Ricciardo, 107.