F1: 2019 Australian GP Dates Announced; To Start A Week Earlier

Max Verstappen

Finishing in the top 10 were Romain Grosjean of Haas Ferrari (4), Kevin Magnussen of Haas Ferrari (5), Esteban Ocon of Force India Mercedes (6), Sergio Perez of Force India Mercedes (7), Fernando Alonso of McLaren Renault (8), Charles Leclerc of Sauber Ferrari (9) and Marcus Ericsson of Sauber Ferrari (10). Räikkönen was third with 101 points, Daniel Ricciardo with 96, and Verstappen with 93 points.

He leads fellow four times world champion Lewis Hamilton, victor for the past four years at Silverstone, by a point ahead of the 10th round of the season. "It's a real privilege for me and I was just watching some of the replays of past year and if you look at the end when it shows you all of the positions and obviously to see the Union Jack up there is always a great feeling".

"So they have never been in a position - or the management of the team has never been in a position - where they have had to go head to head through an entire season, and of course the closer you get towards the end of the year the more the pressure builds".

"It was a very, very mature drive from him to make sure he had just enough left in the last 5-10 laps. After that, the vehicle came good, but we just ran out of laps".

Lewis Hamilton says it's impossible to say how the F1 season will pan out; especially in a season where both Mercedes and Ferrari have at times appeared dominant while other times have been way off the pace. At the start, Hamilton took over the lead of the race, while Bottas dropped down to second place.

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The reigning champions had not been beaten in Austria since the race returned to the calendar in 2014 and seemed to be heading for a one-two when Valtteri Bottas retired with an hydraulics failure on lap 14. Before being sidelined by a fuel pressure problem, he had already dropped from first to fourth when Mercedes failed to bring him in for an immediate pitstop after the virtual safety auto had been deployed. The Red Bull went backward across the grass and hit the wall with the right front first, pitching the right rear into the wall and breaking the suspension.

Hamilton suffered his first race retirement since 2016 at Spielberg, ending a record run of 33 successive races in the points. "It's my mistake. Do what you can", replied Mercedes strategist James Vowles.

When Hamilton did pit, he came back out in fourth place.

Verstappen was in the lead of the race with Raikkonen a couple of seconds behind. "I'm going to keep it free because I'm going to be in Russian Federation that day, supporting them". On lap 53, he pitted again for super-softs, dropping a place to fifth behind Ricciardo, who nearly immediately slowed and stopped.

The Finn had started from pole, his first of the season, but lost out to Hamilton at the start and dropped to fourth before fighting back to second.

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