While Formula 1’s return to Austria after an 11-year absence ended in farce for Red Bull and Torro Rosso – with just one of the local boys’ four challengers finishing, and at that in eighth – Mercedes’ flying Brit Lewis Hamilton may ultimately have come off worst of all in Styria.
The future Mr Nicole Scherzinger (or not) put mistakes in qualifying behind him with a blistering start at the Red Bull Ring, moving up from ninth to fifth before the second corner and finishing the first lap hot on the heels of third-placed teammate, and championship leader, Nico Rosberg.
Mercedes’ 2014 dominance – they’re 1/500 to take the Constructors’ Championship, having already accrued twice as many points as second-placed Red Bull – was always going to tell, and a spirited attempt from Williams’ front-row qualifiers to see off the German cars ultimately came to nought.
Once Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas backed off less than two-thirds of the way into the race, a fight to the finish between the two fastest machines looked very much on the cards.
For the second Grand Prix in a row, however, the Mercedes set-to never materialised, but while power failure put paid to a Rosberg/Hamilton scrap in Montreal, the former’s superb control after hitting the front kept the latter frustrated in Austria.
A slight mistake by Rosberg during the final lap almost let Hamilton in, but that was the only misstep the 28-year-old made during the 71 circuits and he sits atop the Drivers’ Championship by a healthy 29 points – from Hamilton in second – after eight of 2014’s 19 events.
The 8/13 available about Rosberg taking the big prize for Germany for the ninth time in 14 years will not stick around long if he defends his British Grand Prix title next time out, and Hamilton – who’s 6/5 for a second overall win this year – hasn’t triumphed at Silverstone since 2008.
As the previously mentioned Mercedes price intimated, the Constructors’ Championship looks all but over already, especially considering Red Bull’s travails on their home track.
Quadruple defending champion Sebastian Vettel lost power within the first lap and eventually retired for the third time this season, while Daniel Ricciardo did well to finish eighth after his Canadian Grand Prix breakthrough last time out.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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