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Lewis Hamilton wins Styrian Grand Prix with Mercedes one-two in front of third placed Max Verstappen

Lewis Hamilton kick-started his world championship defence by romping to victory at the Styrian Grand Prix.

The six-time champion improved on fourth place on the same track a week earlier, with this crushing win from pole position by 13.7sec.

That pole was achieved with one of Hamilton’s best ever laps, in the wet.

While Ferrari imploded – their two drivers colliding on the opening lap and retiring from proceedings – Mercedes finished first and second, with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen third after being passed late on by Valtteri Bottas.

Hamilton is four points behind his team-mate Bottas, the Finn who won here a week ago.

No fans were allowed inside the Red Bull Ring, though some stood behind fencing and high in the hills to catch a glimpse of the action.

The afternoon’s major events was the coming together of Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel at Turn 3. Leclerc, who started 14th, tried to push his way down the inside of his senior partner. It was an ambitious move and the Monegasque was launched by the kerb and rode over the back of Vettel’s red car.

Vettel’s back wing was irredeemably damaged. He was pushed into the garage. Leclerc soldiered on briefly but was also forced out.

Leclerc rightly accepted responsibility, saying: ‘I apologised. Excuses are not enough in times like this and I’m just disappointed in myself. I have done a very bad job today. I have let the team down.

I can only be sorry, even though I know it’s not enough. I hope I learn from this and will come back stronger for the next races.

‘It’s a tough time for the team. We don’t need that. The team don’t need that. I put all the efforts of the team in the bin. I was optimistic.’

Vettel said: ‘I was fighting two other cars and I was very surprised. I was not expecting Charles to try something. I don’t think there was any space.

‘A big pity and something we should avoid, but there was not much I could have done differently. I was taking it conservative because it was already very busy and tight.’

It was the second time in four races that the two Ferraris have failed to finish, both as a result of an intra-team smash.

Hamilton’s victory was set up by his blistering lap in qualifying, making his car dance for him as rain lashed down. He was a massive 1.2sec ahead of Verstappen, the next quickest man, on Saturday.

The Brit was comfortably in control all race in easier conditions, having led the grid in taking a knee before the anthem was played. Twelve drivers struck the stance, six stood and two failed to make it to the front in time. A bit of a mess, really.

Lando Norris, who started ninth, rose to fifth, beating his McLaren team-mate Carlos Sainz, by three places. Sainz was compensated by setting the fastest lap.

STYRIAN GRAND PRIX – RESULTS AND STANDINGS 

STYRIAN GRAND PRIX RESULTS 

1 Lewis Hamilton (Gbr) Mercedes 1hr 20min 50.683secs,

2 Valtteri Bottas (Fin) Mercedes 1:21:04.402

3 Max Verstappen (Hol) Red Bull 1:21:24.381

4 Alexander Albon (Tha) Red Bull 1:21:35.083

5 Lando Norris (Gbr) McLaren 1:21:52.153

6 Sergio Perez (Mex) Racing Point 1:21:53.070

7 Lance Stroll (Can) Racing Point 1:21:53.136

8 Daniel Ricciardo (Aus) Renault 1:21:53.274

9 Carlos Sainz (Spa) McLaren at 1 lap

10 Daniil Kvyat (Rus) Alpha Tauri at 1 lap

11 Kimi Raikkonen (Fin) Alfa Romeo at 1 lap

12 Kevin Magnussen (Den) Haas at 1 lap

13 Romain Grosjean (Fra) Haas at 1 lap

14 Antonio Giovinazzi (Ita) Alfa Romeo at 1 lap

15 Pierre Gasly (Fra) Alpha Tauri at 1 lap

16 George Russell (Gbr) Williams at 2 laps

17 Nicholas Latifi (Can) Williams at 2 laps

Not Classified: 18 Esteban Ocon (Fra) Renault 25 lap completed, 19 Charles Leclerc (Mon) Ferrari 4 lap completed, 20 Sebastian Vettel (Ger) Ferrari 1 lap completed

Fastest Lap: Carlos Sainz 1min 05.619secs on lap 68  

DRIVERS’ STANDINGS 

1 Valtteri Bottas (Fin) Mercedes 43pts

2 Lewis Hamilton (Gbr) Mercedes 37

3 Lando Norris (Gbr) McLaren 26

4 Charles Leclerc (Mon) Ferrari 18

5 Sergio Perez (Mex) Racing Point 16

6 Max Verstappen (Hol) Red Bull 15

7 Carlos Sainz (Spa) McLaren 13

8 Alexander Albon (Tha) Red Bull 12

9 Pierre Gasly (Fra) Alpha Tauri 6

10 Lance Stroll (Can) Racing Point 6

11 Esteban Ocon (Fra) Renault 4

12 Daniel Ricciardo (Aus) Renault 4

13 Antonio Giovinazzi (Ita) Alfa Romeo 2

14 Daniil Kvyat (Rus) Scuderia Alpha Tauri 1

15 Sebastian Vettel (Ger) Ferrari 1

16 Nicholas Latifi (Can) Williams 0

17 Kimi Raikkonen (Fin) Alfa Romeo 0

18 Kevin Magnussen (Den) Haas 0

19 Romain Grosjean (Fra) Haas 0

20 George Russell (Gbr) Williams 0 

CONSTRUCTORS’ STANDINGS:

1 Mercedes 80pts

2 McLaren 39

3 Red Bull 27

4 Racing Point 22

5 Ferrari 19

6 Renault 8

7 Alpha Tauri 7

8 Alfa Romeo 2

9 Williams 0

10 Haas 0 

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