Lewis Hamilton grabbed a dramatic Austrian Grand Prix victory after colliding with Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg on the final lap.
Rosberg was leading the race but after the German made a small mistake at Turn One on the final tour, Hamilton was able to close on his team-mate and attempt an overtaking move in Turn Two.
Rosberg cover the middle of the circuit, forcing Hamilton to make a move around the outside. With Rosberg’s car wide across the track the Briton ran wide and as he returned to the track, Rosberg left little room and he ran into the side of Hamilton’s car. The collision severely damaged Rosberg’s front wing and that allowed Hamilton to easily pass the German on the run to Turn Three.
With Rosberg slowing as his front wing disintegrated, Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen flew past to claim second place, with Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen also passing the stricken Mercedes to take the final spot on the podium. Rosberg crossed the line in fourth place, ahead of Daniel Ricciardo.
Starting from pole, Hamilton led in the early stage of the race as Rosberg made his way up from sixth on the grid.
Then German climbed to third behind Raikkonen before his first pit stop on lap 10, when he changed from opening used ultrasoft tyres to soft tyres. Behind him at that stage were Verstappen, Sebastian Vettel in the second Ferrari and Daniel Ricciardo in the second Red Bull.
Hamilton, though, stayed out, trying to eke a long stint out of his starting ultrasofts and the Briton continued in the lead until lap 21 when he too pitted for softs. It was a poor stop, however, and problems with the rear left wheel saw him emerge behind Rosberg.
Vettel now led and he too was trying to get the most out of his starting supersoft tyres. It wasn’t to be, however, and after 26 laps his rear-left tyre exploded on the pit straight. He careened into the wall and the safety car was deployed.
When the action resumed Rosberg now led ahead of Hamilton, Verstappen, Ricciardo and Raikkonen.
A long second stint followed for the Mercedes driving during which Rosberg and Hamilton traded blows, one lapping fastest followed by an immediate response from the other.
The pace-setting led to the duo pulling away from the Red Bulls who were in turn slowly being reeled in by Raikkonen who had been disadvantaged by the stops and the safety car.
Raikkonen eventually passed Ricciardo on lap 57 and set off in pursuit of Verstappen. That was Ricciardo’s cue to make a final stop to take on ultrasofts for a final charge. He rejoined behind McLaren’s Jenson Button but soon passed the Briton to reclaim P5. With 24 seconds between him and Raikkonen, though, there was no hope of further progress and he settled for fifth and 10 points.
Ahead, Hamilton was closing on Rosberg and eventually the German erred. Hamilton, seeing his chance pushed hard and attempted a move around the outside into Turn Two. As Hamilton was forced wide and Rosberg took a hard line, collision and controversy were inevitable.
Hamilton powered on to take his third win of the season and the 46th of his career while Rosberg was left to finish fourth and to face a post-race stewards’ investigation for ‘causing a collision and failing to stop with a seriously damaged car’.
Verstappen took the second podium finish of his young career, while Raikkonen salvaged Ferrari pride with third.
With Rosberg fourth and Ricciardo fifth, sixth place went to Button, the Briton’s best result since the US GP of last year. Romain Grosjean took Haas back into the points with seventh place, while Carlos Sainz was eighth for Toro Rosso. Ninth place went to Williams’ Valtteri Bottas and Pascal Wehrlein scored Manor’s first point of the season with 10th place.
2016 Austrian Grand Prix – Race
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 71 laps – 1h27m38.107s 4
2 Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing +5.719 3
3 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari +6.024 3
4 Nico Rosberg Mercedes +16.710 4
5 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Racing +30.981 4
6 Jenson Button McLaren +37.706 4
7 Romain Grosjean Haas +44.668 3
8 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso +47.400 3
9 Valtteri Bottas Williams +1 lap 4
10 Pascal Wehrlein Manor +1 lap 4
11 Esteban Gutierrez Haas +1 lap 4
12 Jolyon Palmer Renault +1 lap 4
13 Felipe Nasr Sauber +1 lap 3
14 Kevin Magnussen Renault +1 lap 4
15 Marcus Ericsson Sauber +1 lap 4
16 Rio Haryanto Manor +1 lap 4
17 Sergio Perez Force India +1 lap 4
18 Fernando Alonso McLaren DNF 5
19 Nico Hulkenberg Force India DNF 6
20 Felipe Massa Williams DNF 5
21 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari DNF 0
22 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso DNF 0