Valtteri Bottas (left) won his second Formula One, beating Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo (right).    Picture: DAIMLER
Valtteri Bottas (left) won his second Formula One, beating Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo (right). Picture: DAIMLER

Valtteri Bottas clinched his second Formula One victory in style at the Austrian Grand Prix by leading all but one lap on his way to beating championship leader Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari), who finished second, while Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull Racing) rounded off the podium.

Starting from pole, Bottas went untroubled through the opening part of the race before Ferrari used the undercut to bring Vettel back into contention in the closing stages. Bottas was able to manage his tyres and pace well to keep Vettel back despite a late charge, crossing the line 0.6 seconds clear.

The result marked Bottas’s second Formula One win following his maiden success in Russia earlier in 2017 and ensured Mercedes retained its lead in the constructors’ championship. He finished ahead of teammate Lewis Hamilton, who was able to make an alternate strategy work well to fight his way from eighth on the grid after a penalty to finish fourth, just behind Ricciardo.

The foundation for Bottas’s victory charge came at the start when he pulled away so quickly that race control investigated for a possible jump-start. The stewards soon found his reaction had not been premature, coming 0.2 seconds after lights out.

Bottas increased his lead over Vettel to eight seconds as Hamilton began to pick his way up the order. The Briton gained two places off the start as Max Verstappen got caught up in a clash with Daniil Kvyat and Fernando Alonso, forcing the Red Bull driver to retire.

Hamilton was able to rise to fifth and begin to hound Kimi Raikkonen, only for Mercedes to bring him in earlier than planned at the end of lap 32. The stop triggered the leaders into coming in for fear of the undercut, with Vettel and Ricciardo following suit in the next two laps. Vettel had trailed Bottas by eight seconds prior to his stop and was able to put the hammer down while Mercedes kept the Finn out.

By the time Bottas had pitted seven laps later, Vettel had done enough to reduce the gap to just three seconds Bottas soon began to lose time when he suffered a blister on his left-rear tyre early in the stint, allowing Vettel to close. But Vettel was unable to get close enough in the final stages, allowing Bottas to cross the line 0.6 seconds clear.

Vettel still leads the championship with 171 points, followed by Hamilton on 151 and Bottas on 131 points.

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