Verstappen wins in Austria as Hamilton fails to finish

Verstappen wins in Austria as Hamilton fails to finish

Verstappen took the lead after Mercedes kept Hamilton out during a virtual safety auto period that followed Bottas's retirement on lap 14, with all the others behind the Briton pitting for fresh tyres. First, Bottas retired with a loss of hydraulic pressure.

"But with one auto out there against two others, the thinking process was: What would happen if the others would split the cars?" But Raikkonen ran wide, and passed both Raikkonen and Verstappen to take P2.

Finland's Valtteri Bottas, last year's victor from pole position after team mate Hamilton took a grid penalty, was third on the timesheets with a time 0.134 seconds slower than the Ferrari.

Hamilton headed the pair of 90-minute practice sessions in overcast conditions at the Red Bull Ring, while Valtteri Bottas backed up his team-mate by placing second. Another retirement of the race.

Poland's Robert Kubica made a Friday appearance for Williams, replacing race regular Sergey Sirotkin for the morning only, but was the slowest man on track with a lap of 1:07.424. The new version should make reliability better, according to the manufacturer, but the team decided not to deploy it as Verstappen and Ricciardo would have received grid penalties for using yet another version.

But it was a poor strategy call by the team that left Hamilton fuming.

The gap may be lengthy when you look at the title standings in reality, but the Finn - for all his bad luck - must be left wondering if he will ever be able to reach the rarefied air shared by Vettel and Hamilton.

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"The teamwork with the two fantastic pit stops and we were sharp with the virtual safety auto".

Former champions McLaren have said they know they have an aerodynamic problem but can not fix it in the wind tunnel, meaning they have to try out potential solutions on race weekends instead.

But Hamilton's frustration was then compounded when he was overtaken by world championship rival Vettel shortly before the new-spec engine which Mercedes introduced at the Canadian GP three weeks ago failed.

"I tried to look before I got in the vehicle but I couldn't really notice too numerous differences!" he said.

"The most important thing is to understand why an error happens and go back into the situation and analyse", said Wolff.

McLaren was fined 10,000 euros ($11,500) for an "unsafe release" after sending Stoffel Vandoorne out of the garage just as Vettel passed, forcing him to brake sharply. Ricciardo was also passed by Hamilton. The auto has been great all weekend - we were the quickest - but to have two different faults on each vehicle, which is very unusual, we really can't throw away points. "All you can see is the guy in front and the guy behind". "No I didn't, you did".

That remained the lead order, with Verstappen's best enough to keep him a tenth clear of Vettel in the best of the Ferraris.

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