Valttery Bottas, A Serious F1 Title Contender Following Austrian Grand Prix
Valtteri Bottas produced an excellent all-round display to secure a victory at the Austrian Grand Prix 2017. Sebastian Vettel came second, while Lewis Hamilton was the biggest loser of the weekend after only managing a fourth-place finish.
The Finn Who Proved Critics Wrong
Bottas was expected to be more than just a teammate who gave way for Lewis Hamilton, as his arrival into the Mercedes team for the 2017 season has been compared to the way Hamilton made an entry into Formula One as the teammate of Fernando Alonso. After the first few races of the season, it seemed that Bottas would not be strong enough to mount a title challenge – despite showing positive qualities. However, the Finn has proved critics wrong with some stunning results at Russia and Austria.
Bottas is displaying the legendary qualities of Finnish drivers, as he makes his way up to the F1 Drivers’ World Championship. Sebastian Vettel continues to lead the table with 171 points with Hamilton trailing him with 151 points. Bottas is now at 136 points, but the leaders are truly shaken by the way he has demonstrated his ability to step up.
Lewis Hamilton's Disappointing Weekend
Lewis Hamilton had a disappointing weekend, as he faced a grid penalty following a gearbox change. The Brit qualified third but had to start from the eighth spot following the five-place penalty. Yet, Mercedes had planned a different strategy to offset the disadvantage and this meant Hamilton opting for the supersoft tyres at the start of the race. Hamilton had a decent start and managed to stay clear of the melee, but he could not climb up enough places to make it to the podium.
Daniel Ricciardo gave a tough fight for the Mercedes driver and he managed to seal the third spot by finishing 1.4 seconds ahead of Hamilton.
Fighting off Vettel Challenge
Sebastian Vettel was largely untroubled in the race and he managed to put up a late fight for the top spot. Despite managing to close the gap on Bottas to just a couple of seconds, the Ferrari driver was unable to find a way past the Finn. Bottas was struggling with a lack of grip from his overworked tyres towards the end of the race, and there was a serious danger of Vettel grabbing the victory in the last couple of laps. Apart from the tyre blistering problem, Bottas also had to deal with traffic and the threat of Vettel’s DRS.
Shake-up in the Title Challenge
Hamilton may be reasonably happy to come away from a tough weekend with at least a fourth-place finish, but Vettel has been able to extend his advantage by a further 6 points. Besides, the Brit will also have to contend with competition from within, as Bottas has moved too close to comfort. If it had been for Ricciardo’s excellent defensive driving in the last few races, Hamilton could have had a much better end.
The 2017 Austrian Grand Prix has thrown up some interesting results which are sure to make the upcoming British Grand Prix at Silverstone on July 16 even more fascinating.