The Mercedes refuses to wilt to other constructors as Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton carved out yet another 1-2 finish that has almost become a routine. While there is no denying the driving skills of the two men, the Mercedes superiority over other manufacturers is making the F1 scenario a bit monotonous. After about 18 months of Mercedes’ dominance at the world-wide F1 circuits, this motorsport has only managed to dull the spectator spirit with hardly any chance for other manufacturers. At the Austrian GP last Sunday, the grandstands were only half full in comparison to last year. There were no cheers in the Red Bull camp what if the event was being hosted by them. The organizers brought out a pre-race publication that dejectedly predicted Mercedes dominance in F1 for the next five years. In the meanwhile, the two Mercedes teammates are close to one another in their quest for the 2015 Formula-1 World Championship. Hamilton still leads the championship standing with 169 points to Rosberg’s 159. Sebastian Vettel is far behind at the third place with a tally is just 120. The wide gap tells the story of how other constructors have been relegated to nothingness by Mercedes. In Sunday’s race, Rosberg started behind Hamilton, who had taken the pole in the qualifying and since Hamilton was served a time-penalty later, Rosberg emerged as the champion after taking an early lead.
The Spielberg circuit was hosting the Austrian GP for the 29th time after 1963 but since 2014, it has been known as the Red-Bull Ring. On Saturday, Nico Rosberg had finished behind Hamilton in the qualifying but he had a blasting start on Sunday, in which he overtook Hamilton at the first turn in Lap-1. Once he nosed ahead, Rosberg only needed to control the race and he did that adequately. Hamilton couldn’t keep up with Rosberg and at one stage; fell 4 seconds behind. Later, the reigning world champion was handed a 5-second post-race penalty for crossing the white line on pit-lane exit. But since other drivers were far behind, Hamilton could still finish second to make it 1-2 for Mercedes. For most part of the race Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel and Williams’ Felipe Massa were third and fourth just as they had been placed on the grid at start. The race had one spectacular drama as Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso collided with each other. At the exit of the hairpin, Raikkonen’s Ferrari suddenly lurched to the left in the path of the tailing Alonso, who careened over the side of Ferrari and rode over on top. Raikkonen slid across the barrier and Alonso’s McLaren stopped while perched on top of the Ferrari. The crash was severe but both drivers escaped unhurt.
After the safety car left the scene, Rosberg barged ahead and continued to extend his lead over Hamilton. Rosberg had a little problem at the hairpin as he got a flat spot. Hamilton had a chance at this stage because Rosberg went to pits for new rubber. But Rosberg completed the next lap with the fastest time and regained the 4.2 seconds’ lead. By this time, Hamilton was served a five-second time penalty for his indiscretion on the pit exit. This made things difficult for Hamilton and he settled for the second place.
Sebastian Vettel couldn’t pose any threat to the Mercedes duo and initially settled at the third place but he lost that spot to Felipe Massa due to an unduly long pit-stop. Williams thus got their second straight podium in 2015 though it was first for Massa. Valtteri Bottas was fifth; Nico Hulkenberg produced Force India’s best finish to take the sixth place; Pastor Maldonado was seventh; Max Verstappen was eighth; another Force India driver Sergio Perez was ninth and Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo brought some consolation to the organizers to take the tenth spot and a solitary point out of the race.
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