World champion Hamilton leads Mercedes 1-2 at Styrian GP

Lewis Hamilton celebrates after winning the race.
Image: Mark Thompson/Pool via REUTERS

A dominant Lewis Hamilton secured his first win of the season and the 85th of his career with a perfectly-judged victory from pole position as Mercedes reeled off a one-two finish in Sunday’s Styrian Grand Prix.

The six-time champion bounced back from a disappointing display in the season-opening Austrian Grand Prix on the same Red Bull Ring circuit a week earlier with a consummate display.

Team-mate Valtteri Bottas, who won the curtain-raising race, finished 13.7 seconds adrift in second to deliver first Mercedes one-two in Austria since 2015 with Max Verstappen in third.

The paddock seemed to be split again pre-race as some drivers were absent as Hamilton led the protests in support of the Black Lives Matter movement by taking a knee.

“It’s great to be back up here and thanks to the team,” said Hamilton.

“This feels like it has been a long time coming after a difficult weekend last time.”Bottas said he had enjoyed his battle with Max Verstappen.

“Starting fourth, this was damage limitation for me,” he said.

“I tried, but we are just a bit too slow,” admitted Verstappen.

Bottas leads the embryonic championship ahead of Hamilton with Lando Norris third.

Verstappen was slowed by slight car damage in the final stages, ahead of his team-mate Alex Albon, who defended stoutly to finish fourth.

Norris came home a remarkable fifth for McLaren after passing both of Racing Point’s pink Mercedes cars during a thrilling final lap, Sergio Perez taking sixth after starting from 17th on the grid, and Lance Stroll seventh.

Daniel Ricciardo was eighth for Renault, Carlos Sainz clocked fastest lap and finished ninth in the second McLaren and Daniil Kvyat 10th for Alpha Tauri.

Both Ferraris were eliminated after crashing together at Turn Three on the opening lap, Charles Leclerc apologising to four-time champion Sebastian Vettel, who is in his last season with the team, for his ill-judged dive down the inside that resulted in a disaster for the Italian team.

BY AFP

 

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