SPIELBERG (Austria) - There was drama at the start and finish of an incident-filled Austrian Grand Prix yesterday, as Nico Rosberg claimed his third win in four races on Sunday.
The German driver repeated his 2014 success when he came home 3.8 seconds clear of Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton, reducing the world champion's lead from 17 points to 10.
"It's an awesome feeling of course to win again here," Rosberg said after the 11th win of his career. "The start made the race. It really worked out perfectly today."
Austrian Grand Prix
1 Nico Rosberg (Ger) Mercedes 1hr 30min 16.930sec
2 Lewis Hamilton (Gbr) Mercedes +8.800sec
3 Felipe Massa (Bra) Williams +17.573
4 Sebastian Vettel (Ger) Ferrari +18.181
5 Valtteri Bottas (Fin) Williams +53.604
6 Nico Huelkenberg (Ger) Force India +1:04.075
7 Pastor Maldonado (Ven) Lotus, 1 lap
8 Max Verstappen (Ned) Toro Rosso, 1 lap
9 Sergio Perez (Mex) Force India, 1 lap
10 Daniel Ricciardo (Aus) Red Bull, 1 lap
1 Hamilton 169 pts
2 Rosberg 159
3 Vettel 120
4 Kimi Raikkonen (Fin) Ferrari 72
5 Bottas 67
1 Mercedes 328
2 Ferrari 192
3 Williams 129
4 Red Bull 55
5 Force India 31
In dry and mild conditions in the Styrian Alps, he made a perfect start as the lights went out, drawing alongside pole-sitter Hamilton to take the lead at the first corner.
The Briton attempted to regain the lead at the next two turns, but Rosberg defended adroitly.
Behind them, a serious collision involving Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso caused the race to be stopped and run behind the safety car until the debris was cleared.
Alonso's McLaren appeared to crash into Raikkonen's Ferrari from the rear. It ended up on top of the Ferrari, fortunately without hitting the 2007 champion's head or hands, and perched on the barriers. Both men were unhurt and walked away from the debris.
Two-time champion Alonso, who had started on the back row of the grid after collecting a 25-place drop following engine and gear-box changes, said the collision with his former Ferrari team-mate had been a scary moment.
"The start was very good. Kimi had a lot of wheel spin out of Turn 2. We were overtaking him and he lost the car on the left. I was on the left. I could not see anything," he said. "I looked in the mirror and saw a car under my car. I jumped quickly to see he was OK. I saw he was, so was happy."
It was another hugely disappointing day for the struggling McLaren-Honda team.
On top of Alonso's first-lap crash, Briton Jenson Button had to make an early retirement in the other car with engine problems.
The leaders made their scheduled pit stops after 33 and 34 laps respectively, Hamilton crossing a white line as he exited, for which he was given a five-second penalty. Still, it was a nervous finish for Rosberg as he battled with a car he worried might fail him.
His car developed a severe vibration but he took it over the finish line.
"Nico did a fantastic job today. He was quicker during the race, I had a bad start which lost me ground," said Hamilton in a podium interview conducted by former F1 racer Gerhard Berger. "I was pushing as hard as I could."
Brazilian Felipe Massa came a distant third for Mercedes-powered Williams, 17 seconds adrift of the two Mercedes men.
The one-two means that Mercedes have had more than the solitary car finish on the podium in eight straight grands prix - an all-time F1 record.
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS