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Bottas wins Austrian Grand Prix

Race winner Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas of Finland celebrates on the podium
Race winner Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas of Finland celebrates on the podium

Valtteri Bottas enjoyed a dominant victory at the Austrian Grand Prix as Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton could only come home in fourth.

Hamilton's title rival and drivers' championship leader Sebastian Vettel finished second to open up a 20-point lead over Hamilton after the Briton could not find a way past Daniel Ricciardo, who finished third in Red Bull's home race.

Starting eighth after being hit with a five-place grid penalty for a gearbox change, Hamilton said he was aiming for a damage limitation weekend heading to Silverstone, but he missed out on the podium as Bottas had enough speed to keep Vettel at bay despite a late surge from the German.

Moving on from the controversial Azerbaijan Grand Prix a fortnight ago, Bottas put himself on the edge of the title picture by taking the chequered flag ahead of Vettel and Hamilton, whose flashpoint in Baku had made sure they hogged the headlines earlier in the weekend at the Red Bull Ring.

Bottas, now only 15 points adrift of Hamilton, was so quickly off the line that the race stewards took 26 laps to investigate if the flying Finn had jumped the start, only to deem he was in the clear and had simply timed it to perfection.

"I think that was the start of my life, I was really on it today," the winner said on the podium.

"I'm really happy. It is only the second win in my career, a massive thank you to the team. It is still a long year ahead, we are not even halfway and it makes good for the points, but we are still developing as a team."

Someone who had differing fortunes was the Red Bull of Max Verstappen, whose race in front of thousands of Dutch supporters would last just one corner.

He was bogged down off the start and fell back into the pack from fifth, and once Fernando Alonso's McLaren was shunted by Daniil Kvyat, he was a sitting duck as he was hit and forced to retire for the fifth time in seven races.

Alonso was also taken out of the grand prix while Kvyat survived but the Toro Rosso driver was hit with a drive-through penalty for causing the collision.

Hamilton came through unscathed but could only make up a place on the first lap with Verstappen off at the first corner.

He soon eased past Sergio Perez on lap six and the fast-starting Haas of Romain Grosjean was next up, despatched with no real problems.

Trying to tackle Raikkonen proved much more of an issue and, after toiling behind the Ferrari for a while, the three-time world champion opted to pit and put on the ultrasoft tyres.

Vettel was in two laps later, although Ferrari opted not to pit Raikkonen in response to Hamilton's stop.

Race leader Bottas suffered from a scrappy stop and came out behind compatriot Raikkonen, who had still yet to come in.

Vettel was closing in as a result of his team-mate holding up Bottas but Raikkonen's tyres were shot and he could not do the job for much more than a lap.

A poor day for McLaren was made worse when Stoffel Vandoorne was hit with a drive-through penalty for ignoring blue flags when being lapped, while former McLaren man Kevin Magnussen retired his Haas due to a hydraulics issue.

Hamilton came on the team radio on several occasions to complain he was struggling since pitting but he was soon posting fastest laps to stave off Raikkonen and close in on the Red Bull of Ricciardo.

As he approached Ricciardo, Vettel was attempting a final push for victory but his efforts were checked as he and Bottas fought past backmarkers.

The retrospective gaps closed in the dying laps to the point where both Vettel and Hamilton were on the gearbox of their rivals going into the last corner, only to be held at bay by Bottas and Ricciardo, respectively.

Raikkonen finished a distant fifth after his fightback was curtailed, with Grosjean coming home for Haas in sixth.

Perez and Esteban Ocon secured a double points finish for Force India, with the Williams pair of Felipe Massa and Lance Stroll recovering from a terrible qualifying session to round out the top 10.

Renault's Jolyon Palmer finished within a second of Stroll as he just missed out on his first points of the year, with Vandoorne recovering from his penalty to finish 12th.

Nico Hulkenberg was 13th in the sister Renault ahead of the Sauber duo of Pascal Wehrlein and Marcus Ericsson, with Kvyat was the last of the finishers in 16th.