Anton Andres / Fia, Mercedes-AMG | July 02, 2018 13:03
Mercedes-AMG turns 1-2 finish into double DNF in 2018 Austrian GP
Since the start of the turbo-hybrid era in Formula 1, Mercedes-AMG have been known to be a well-oiled machine, taking titles for drivers and constructors titles since 2014. During the Austrian Grand Prix however, it all went wrong for the team.
It was a hectic start for the grand prix but when the dust settled after the first couple of laps, it was starting to look like another display of Mercedes-AMG domination. Lap after lap, Lewis Hamilton was leading the pack with team mate Valtteri Bottas in tow. However, the first signs of trouble began on lap 17 when Bottas' car suddenly lost power. As it turned out, it was diagnosed as a total failure of the car's hydraulic system.
Still, Mercedes-AMG still had Hamilton running, and leading, the race in dominant fashion. At one point, the defending champ was over five second ahead of Max Verstappen, who inherited second place from the fallen Bottas. Unfortunately, an ill-timed pitstop meant Hamilton would lose the lead and drop down the order.
A recovery drive from the Brit meant he slowly moved up the pack. However, Hamilton would also suffer the same fate as Bottas. He lost power in his normally bulletproof Mercedes-AMG as a result of total loss of fuel pressure. It would be the first time the team would fail to finish since the 2016 Spanish Grand Prix when Nico Rosberg and Hamilton took each other out. It is also the first time both Mercedes-AMG cars were knocked out of the running due to mechanical failure. That weekend, the team went from what almost looked like a 1-2 finish to a double DNF.
However, it wasn't just Mercedes-AMG that suffered problems that day. Renault's Nico Hulkenberg lost his engine in dramatic fashion when his car spat out flames. Red Bull Racing had a scare for Verstappen when Daniel Ricciardo's car suffered engine failure. Toro Rosso's Brendon Hartley then suffered gearbox problems, forcing him out of the race. Stoffel Vandoorne of McLaren retired a few laps after Hamilton with mechanical maladies.
With the Silver Arrows out, it would be Max Verstappen who would take the checkered flag for his first win of the season. Right behind him were the Ferraris of Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel, finishing second and third, respectively. The podium finish also meant that Vettel retakes the championship lead yet again. Meanwhile, it was redemption for Romain Grosjean, finishing fourth and bringing in a healthy points haul for Haas. In fifth was his team mate, Kevin Magnussen, raking in more vital points for the American team.