Spielberg, Austria: Lewis Hamilton won the Styrian Grand Prix from pole position on Sunday to clinch an 85th career win and move within six of Michael Schumacher’s Formula One record.
Most of Schumacher’s wins were during a dominant spell with Ferrari, but his old team is struggling badly. For the second time in the past four races, Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel crashed into each other and went out.
Hamilton’s record-extending 89th career pole on a rain-drenched track was one of his best in extreme conditions, but during the race he was hardly challenged as he finished a sizeable 13.7 seconds ahead of Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas and 33.7 ahead of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.
Bottas won last weekend’s season-opening Austrian GP on the same Red Bull Ring track in Spielberg at the foot of the Styrian mountains - hence the name change.
Like last Sunday, drivers again wore black T-shirts with ``End Racism’’ and most took the knee a few moments before the national anthem.
Leclerc earlier apologised to Ferrari and his teammate Sebastian Vettel after causing a first-lap collision that put both drivers out of the race.
Both cars suffered damage and returned to the pits, with four-times world champion Vettel wheeled into the garage while Leclerc rejoined in last place after having a new front wing fitted.
The Monegasque, whose car was tipped onto Vettel’s after he tried a lunge down the inside of the German and hit a kerb in the turn three incident, retired on lap five.
The 22-year-old recognised he had been over-optimistic in his move.
“I apologised. Obviously, excuses are not enough in times like this,” the youngster told Sky television.
“I am just disappointed in myself. I have done a very bad job today, I let the team down. I can only be sorry even though I know it’s not enough. I hope I will learn from this and will come back stronger for the next races.
Tough time for the team
“But it’s a tough time for the team. We don’t need that. The team doesn’t need that and I put all the efforts of the team in the bin. So I’m very sorry.” Ferrari, Formula One’s oldest, most successful and glamorous team, are going through tough times with a car that lacks aerodynamic and engine performance compared to last year.
They had rushed through updates but team boss Mattia Binotto said on Saturday they had not shown the expected improvement.
Leclerc, a lucky second in last weekend’s season-opener at the same Red Bull Ring circuit, started only 14th after a three-place grid drop for impeding AlphaTauri’s Daniil Kvyat in qualifying.
Vettel had lined up 10th on the grid.
“I was fighting two other cars into turn three and then I was very surprised because I had the inside and wasn’t expecting Charles to try something,” said Vettel, who is leaving at the end of the season.
“I don’t think there was any space,” added the German.
“Obviously, a big pity, something that we should avoid but not much that I could have done differently. I was just taking it easy and conservative because it was already very busy at the hairpin, it’s very tight.”
Results & Standings
(Start position in parentheses)
1. (1) Lewis Hamilton, Great Britain, Mercedes, 71 laps, 1:22:50.683, 25 points.
2. (4) Valtteri Bottas, Finland, Mercedes, 71, 13.719 seconds, 18.
3. (2) Max Verstappen, Netherlands, Red Bull Racing Honda, 71, 33.698, 15.
4. (6) Alexander Albon, Thailand, Red Bull Racing Honda, 71, 44.400, 12.
5. (9) Lando Norris, Great Britain, McLaren Renault, 71, 1:01.470, 10.
6. (17) Sergio Perez, Mexico, Racing Point BWT Mercedes, 71, 1:02.387, 8.
7. (12) Lance Stroll, Canada, Racing Point BWT Mercedes, 71, 1:02.453, 6.
8. (8) Daniel Ricciardo, Australia, Renault, 71, 1:02.591, 4.
9. (3) Carlos Sainz Jr, Spain, McLaren Renault, 70, “1 lap, 3.
10. (13) Daniil Kvyat, Russia, Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda, 70, “1 lap, 1.
1. Valtteri Bottas, Finland, Mercedes, 25 points.
2. Charles Leclerc, Monaco, Ferrari, 18.
3. Lando Norris, Great Britain, McLaren Renault, 16.
4. Lewis Hamilton, Great Britain, Mercedes, 12.
5. Carlos Sainz Jr, Spain, McLaren Renault, 10.
6. Sergio Perez, Mexico, Racing Point BWT Mercedes, 8.
7. Pierre Gasly, France, Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda, 6.
8. Esteban Ocon, France, Renault, 4.
9. Antonio Giovinazzi, Italy, Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari, 2.
10. Sebastian Vettel, Germany, Ferrari, 1.
1. Mercedes, 37.
2. McLaren Renault, 26.
3. Ferrari, 19.
4. Racing Point BWT Mercedes, 8.
5. Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda, 6.
6. Renault, 4.
7. Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari, 2.
8. Williams Mercedes, 0.
9. Red Bull Racing Honda, 0.
10. Haas Ferrari, 0.