2017 Austrian Grand Prix - Review.
Valtteri: That champagne tasted good
The Finn held his nerve and fended off a late attack from the Ferrari racer to take the win by just six-tenths of a second.
Valtteri made a lightning getaway - a start so good that the FIA investigated it to ensure it was not a jump start - to lead off the line and then built up a strong lead from Vettel in the first stint. The Ferrari came back at him in the second half of the race, as Valtteri struggled with a blistered tyre, but he had just enough left to cross the line first for the win.
"That champagne tasted good," said Valtteri. "The first win is obviously special, but this is only my second win, so it's a great feeling to get it. It's been my best weekend yet with the pole and the win and I hope we can continue from here.
"The start was absolutely perfect - definitely my best start ever. And you saw how close it was with Sebastian at the end, so today I needed it. The car was so good this weekend, so I knew we could still do it.
"I got a massive blister on the rear-left in the second stint after just five laps, which made the car tricky to drive. I was losing more and more performance, but it wasn't my first time having to keep Sebastian behind me. I kept my focus and managed to finish the race without any mistakes. It would have been tricky to keep Sebastian behind for much longer, so it was good to see the chequered flag.
"I'm still in the title fight and I'm only going to get better. We're growing all the time."
Lewis: It's been a difficult weekend
Lewis recovered from P8 to claim fourth at the flag, narrowly missing out on a spot on the podium to Ricciardo's Red Bull.
"It's been a difficult weekend, but I can take heart that I limited the damage to Sebastian in the points and that I went forward through the field," said Lewis. "The car was great today, I could push the entire race on the tyres and I gave it absolutely everything out there.
"I really don't think there was much left in the car at the end of the race, but I was probably a bit too kind in my fight with Daniel - and left him too much space. I won't do that again.
"We've slipped further behind Sebastian again, but there's a long way to go. I'll keep battling and I'll never give up. Valtteri did a great job all weekend and thoroughly deserves the win. He's just 15 points behind me now and he's very much in this title fight.
"I'm really looking forward to Silverstone - I've got a few days to put this weekend behind me. I can't wait to see the home crowd again and start with a clean slate. I hope I can use Silverstone as a springboard for the second half of my season."
Toto: That was a perfect day for Valtteri
Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff praised a 'perfect result' for Valtteri and celebrated 12 points won, rather than lost for Lewis in the title battle.
"That was a perfect day for Valtteri," said Toto. "He made a sensational start - although we had a few nervous moments when we heard it was under investigation. But after that he showed great pace in the first stint, then was able to manage a blistered tyre to the finish in the perfect way on his second stint. It was the perfect result for him and also for Lewis, to score maximum points.
"As for Lewis, he had a glimpse of P3 on the final laps but today it wasn't quite meant to be. It was an afternoon of damage limitation for him and, in the final result, these are 12 points won and not six lost to Sebastian.
"He has had a tough run with the headrest problem in Baku and then the gearbox penalty here but he is still right in the fight. It's not even half time in the championship and there are 275 points still to be won. Our target will be to let him fight back in the best possible way in Silverstone.
James: His pace in the first stint was absolutely mighty
Watching from the pit wall, Silver Arrows Technical Director James Allison said:
"It was a brilliant day for Valtteri whose pace in the first stint was absolutely mighty," said James. "The second half of his race was hampered by a blister but he drove with great poise to score his second win.
"Lewis came achingly close to the podium in the final laps, probably half a car length away from passing Ricciardo. We are sorry about the gearbox penalty he suffered but he tackled the situation as he always does: he got his head down and made the most of it.
"This was a good race for our Constructors' Championship position, extending our slender advantage over Ferrari, but we need to make sure we give Lewis the equipment he needs at the next races to make sure he doesn't start Sunday afternoon on the back foot."
Lewis trails Vettel by 20 points after the Austrian Grand Prix, with Valtteri a further 15 points back after his win. In the Constructors' Championship, the Silver Arrows lead Ferrari by 33 points after nine rounds. Next stop, Silverstone...