2017 Austrian Grand Prix

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Haas matches debut F1 season points total after nine races in 2017

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Romain Grosjean’s sixth-place finish in Sunday’s Austrian Grand Prix saw Haas match its score from its debut Formula 1 season after just nine rounds of the 2017 campaign.

NASCAR team co-owner Gene Haas took his eponymous F1 operation onto the grid in 2016, with Grosjean scoring all 29 of its points across the 21-race campaign.

Haas has made yet more progress through 2017, enjoying its first double-points finish earlier this year as Grosjean and new teammate Kevin Magnussen both impressed.

Grosjean enjoyed a perfect race in Austria on Sunday to finish sixth, trailing only the Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull drivers to win the midfield battle for Haas.

“It was pretty strong, really strong first lap,” Grosjean told NBCSN. “I was P4, enjoyed that for a little bit, but then Lewis [Hamilton] passed me.

“[I] focused on Perez, keeping him behind, and we pushed hard all the way, that’s the racing we like, hammering it down. Finished a bit tired but that’s what we love.

“It was a great race, great job from the guys, happy with the car all weekend long. There are a few things we need to improve clearly, but happy with that.

“We were the best of the rest. We won ‘Formula 1 Grand Prix 2′!”

The result saw Haas move on to 29 points in the constructors’ championship after just nine races, with the American team now sitting just four shy of Toro Rosso in sixth place.

Ferrari chairman wants to see more commitment from Raikkonen

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Ferrari chairman and CEO Sergio Marchionne wants to see more commitment from Formula 1 driver Kimi Raikkonen as discussions regarding the Finn’s future continue.

Raikkonen is out of contract with Ferrari at the end of the year and has struggled to match Ferrari teammate Sebastian Vettel’s form so far this season.

While Vettel has claimed three wins and four further podium finishes to lead the F1 drivers’ championship by 20 points, Raikkonen has just two top-threes under his belt, giving him less than half his teammate’s score.

Speaking in the Red Bull Ring paddock ahead of Sunday’s Austrian Grand Prix, Marchionne sent a warning to Raikkonen about his form, questioning his desire.

“I think Kimi has got to show a higher level of commitment to the process,” Marchionne said, as quoted by Reuters.

“There are days when I think he’s a bit of a laggard, but we’ll see.

“I am going to talk to him today, we’ll see what happens.”

Raikkonen finished Sunday’s Austrian Grand Prix in fifth place, 20 seconds back from race-winner Valtteri Bottas as Vettel took P2 to extend his championship lead.

Raikkonen’s future has been a hot topic for a number of seasons, but Ferrari has opted to retain him alongside Vettel for the past three years on a rolling 12-month deal.

F1: Austrian Grand Prix race videos on NBCSN (VIDEO)

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Videos from today’s Austrian Grand Prix at the Red Bull Ring on CNBC are linked below.

Valtteri Bottas returned to the top for his second victory of the year, using an excellent start to his advantage and then defending from Sebastian Vettel at the end of the race.

With a mix of post-race interviews and in-race highlights, there was a lot to digest. The post-race edition of Paddock Pass will also attempt to recap it all.

POST-RACE INTERVIEWS/FEATURES

Valtteri Bottas post-podium

Daniel Ricciardo’s latest shoey

Lewis Hamilton frustrated with fourth

Kimi Raikkonen on a tough fifth

Romain Grosjean a solid sixth

Hamilton takes heart from run to P4 in Austria, limits points loss

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Lewis Hamilton took heart from his run to fourth place in Sunday’s Austrian Grand Prix, ensuring that Formula 1 title rival Sebastian Vettel’s championship lead only stands at 20 points.

Hamilton was resigned to eighth place on the starting grid in Spielberg after a gearbox change triggered a five-place penalty earlier in the week.

Hamilton ran fourth heading into the closing stages after a charge on the ultra-softs late on thanks to his reverse strategy, but failed to make a pass on Daniel Ricciardo, crossing the line 1.4 seconds further back.

“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,” Hamilton said after the race.

“The car was great today, I could push the entire race on the tires 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.”

Finishing fourth, Hamilton lost more ground on F1 title rival Vettel in the championship standings, but is happy to have limited the damage of a rough weekend.

“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,” Hamilton said, before praising race-winning teammate Valtteri Bottas.

“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.”

Hamilton’s attention now turns to his home grand prix at Silverstone next weekend where he hopes to kick-start a better run of form.

“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,” Hamilton said.

“I hope I can use Silverstone as a springboard for the second half of my season.”

Vettel adamant Bottas jumped start in Austria, calls it ‘inhuman’

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Sebastian Vettel remained adamant in the aftermath of Sunday’s Austrian Grand Prix that Formula 1 rival Valtteri Bottas jumped the start, despite the Finn being cleared by the FIA’s data.

Bottas made a stunning getaway from pole, sparking race control to investigate a possible jump start as Vettel also complained over the radio.

The stewards found that Bottas had reacted 0.201 seconds after the lights had gone out, clearing him of any wrong-doing.

Bottas went on to beat Vettel to victory at the Red Bull Ring by 0.6 seconds, leaving the German disgruntled about the start-line antics.

“From my point of view he jumped the start. I was sure that he did,” Vettel said in the post-race press conference.

“It looked like it from inside of the car, but it’s not for me to judge at the end of the day. Probably it was a bit late because it’s quite tricky then to keep standing still.”

When informed Bottas’ reaction time was 0.201 seconds, Vettel said: “I don’t believe that.”

Bottas defended himself by explaining he did gamble on when to pull away, saying this is a normal tactic.

“There’s always a variation of time for when the lights go off, but for quite a long time that variation hadn’t been massive,” Bottas said.

“You know more or less the zone when it is going to be off, you are so alert at that point, your gambling between your reaction and guessing.

“Sometimes you get a mega start, sometimes you react a bit late and today it was one of my best reactions to the light. As long as the reaction time is positive, you’re fine.”

Vettel replied: “First of all, to clarify, I don’t want to take anything away from Valtteri. I think he drove an excellent race. Also at the end with a difficult car, he didn’t do a mistake, so he performed well.

“When I said I don’t believe this, I don’t believe it. I don’t believe that reaction times are around 0.2 for everyone. I don’t think that everyone was that much slower today. That’s why I don’t believe Valtteri was that much quicker.

“I had a strong belief at the time he jumped the start. I’m guessing that there’s reason to believe he didn’t, but I can’t imagine his reaction time was 0.2.

“From my point of view his reaction was inhuman.”