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Valtteri Bottas holds off Vettel to win Austrian GP

VALTTERI BOTTAS HOLDS OFF VETTEL TO WIN AUSTRIAN GP

Valtteri Bottas roared to the second victory of his career on Sunday when he won the Austrian Grand Prix for Mercedes ahead of championship leader Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari.

Valtteri Bottas in a Mercedes won the Austrian Grand Prix in a thrilling finish ahead of Formula One championship leader Sebastian Vettel in a Ferrari on Sunday.

Daniel Ricciardo was third in Red Bull's home race, holding off a challenge from Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton, who had started eighth on the grid at the 4.326-kilometre Spielberg circuit.

Bottas led from pole, was cleared of making a jump start in a stewards' investigation and drove a faultless race to take the chequered flag 0.658 seconds ahead of Vettel.

It was his second win of the season following the Russian Grand Prix, his maiden career victory.

Bottas got off to a fast start and was investigated by stewards - but cleared - for possibly jumping the lights.

Red Bull's Max Verstappen and McLaren's Fernando Alonso retired after a first-turn collision involving Toro Rosso's Daniil Kvyat after the start, the latter receiving a drive-through penalty.

It was a fifth retirement in seven races for Verstappen, to the disappointment of thousands of Dutch fans at Spielberg.

After 30 of the 71 laps, Bottas had built up a lead of some 7.6 seconds over Vettel. He pitted on lap 41, giving Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen the temporary lead but soon overtook the Finn to go back in front.

Raikkonen eventually pitted, coming out fifth behind Bottas, Vettal, Ricciardo and Hamilton.

Hamilton, who won at Spielberg last year, appeared to struggle at times with his tyres after starting with the more durable super soft rubbers before changing to ultra soft on lap 32.

However he drew nearer to Ricciardo with a series of fastest laps despite blistering tyres as the race went into its last 10 laps, while Vettel began closing the gap on Bottas.

"Keep an eye on the tyres, I'm a bit worried about them," Hamilton reported over team radio with seven laps remaining.

The Briton could however attack Ricciardo with two laps remaining, but was unable to take the Australian, while Bottas in front managed to fend off Vettel who had closed right behind in a cliffhanger last lap.

Vettel extends his lead to 20 points over Hamilton in the championship standings, with Bottas now 15 points behind his Mercedes team-mate.

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