After a minor blip at the Canadian Grand Prix, Mercedes-Benz returned to its dominating winning ways at – of all places – the Red Bull Ring in Austria last weekend.
While the Mercedes pairing struggled slightly in qualifying – with Rosberg lining up in third and Hamilton starting from ninth on the grid after his fast lap was axed due to the British driver running wide and a spin in the early portion of his next lap – the Williams pairing of Massa and Bottas locked out the front row.
Still, it was Mercedes engines that powered the top three.
It was inconsequential, really, as the two Silver Arrows had such pace in the race that it was almost inevitable the two Williams cars would be passed.
The lead W05 Hybrid of Rosberg sat in second behind the first of the Williams to conserve a bit of fuel, before putting in some storming laps after his first pit stop.
With Williams slow to react to the Mercedes strategy call, it means Rosberg took the lead after the Williams lost time staying out on the track on older tyres.
Unfortunately for Hamilton, slightly slower stops than his teammate meant he didn’t quite jump the white cars in the same way, partly undoing all his hard work to battle from ninth to fourth by the end of the first lap. An incredible display of driving proving the raw speed of the car once again.
Biding his time, he eventually made his way into second place. From there it was a straight fight for the lead – a situation we’ve seen so often already this season.
However, with both cars being told to stick to exactly the same engine map and manage the brake temperatures in exactly the same way, it was honours even. Hamilton managed to catch Rosberg a touch, especially with the help of DRS at the end, but the German was just too fast for a battle to ensue.
It finished with Rosberg on top of the podium, Lewis just behind him in second and Valtteri Bottas in the Williams taking his first podium in F1, as well as the first for the rejuvenated Williams team this year. The remaining Williams of Massa finished just off the podium in fourth.
It was a frustrating weekend for Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso once again – the Spaniard recorded an impressive result in fifth place, but it’s not where he wants to be.
This year’s Ferrari clearly doesn’t have the performance the team needs and Alonso is dragging more from the car than he has any right to. But for a former world champion, fifth place finishes aren’t enough. He wants trophies.
By contrast, Alonso’s teammate Kimi Raikkonen could only manage 10th place, proving that the Ferrari doesn’t have the performance the team was hoping for.
Despite major upgrades recently, the McLaren team didn’t show a significant improvement in Austria.
Our local squad bagged seventh and 11th with young gun Kevin Magnussen and former F1 world champion Jenson Button respectively. Solid results, but not where a team of McLaren’s stature wants to be or should be finishing.
Magnussen slipped back one place from his qualifying position while Button made one. Let’s hope the Woking squad can ramp up its development rate to improve its competitiveness to levels seen at the start of the year where McLaren scored a double podium.
Did you watch the 2014 Austrian Grand Prix at the Red Bull Ring? What did you think of the track and the action? Were you glad to see Mercedes back at the front, or would you have preferred a closer battle like previous races this season?