Hamilton wins Austrian GP after last-lap contact with Rosberg


Lewis Hamilton has won the Austrian Grand Prix following a race-long battle with Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg that ended in contact on the final lap of the race.

Hamilton dropped behind Rosberg after a slow first pit stop, before spending the majority of the race staring at the rear diffuser of his teammate’s car.

Hamilton carved into Rosberg’s advantage in the closing stages before the two made contact on the final lap, leaving Rosberg with damage and forcing him to slow, ultimately finishing fourth.

For Hamilton, the result sees him reduce the gap in the drivers’ championship to just 11 points, but there will undoubtedly be an inquest into the clash by Mercedes after the race.

Off the line, Hamilton managed to hold onto his lead with a clean getaway as Nico Hulkenberg lost places from second on the grid. Jenson Button was quick to take advantage, moving up into a lofty second place as Kimi Raikkonen settled into third. Rosberg gained places after his grid penalty, sitting fifth ahead of the Red Bulls early on.

Button and Hulkenberg both appeared to be fighting losing battles, having started out of position by virtue of the damp qualifying on Saturday. The better pace of the cars behind soon shone through, with Rosberg, Max Verstappen, Daniel Ricciardo and Sebastian Vettel all picking their way through. Button and Hulkenberg pitted early in a bid to get the undercut, with Rosberg following suit, lifting Verstappen up to third behind Hamilton and Raikkonen at the front early on.

With drivers reporting light rain, Hamilton and Raikkonen continued to exchange quick lap times at the front of the pack. Hamilton had expected his ultra-soft tires to last just five laps, but they held up until he ultimately pitted on lap 21, enjoying a four-second advantage over Raikkonen in P2. The Finn followed suit one lap later.

Hamilton had emerged from the pits behind Rosberg on track, but was in a position to make his soft tires last to the end of the race. With five seconds in hand, Rosberg hoped to open up the gap and try to make his two-stop strategy work as he chased a third straight victory in Austria.

Rosberg’s advantage over Hamilton was wiped away when the safety car was deployed after a frightening tire blow-out for new leader Vettel. The German’s right-rear tire let go on the main straight, causing him to spin into the wall. Ferrari was left crestfallen, while Rosberg now found himself leading with Hamilton latched to his rear diffuser for the restart.

Rosberg was quickly able to open up a gap again, though. After nailing the restart and warming up his tires quicker, the German found himself two seconds clear of Hamilton as the race passed half distance, with Verstappen running third for Red Bull.

Hamilton soon began to turn up the wick and cut into Rosberg’s advantage, halving it to just one second 25 laps from home. Rosberg began to soak up the pressure, his tires 11 laps older than Hamilton’s. He was also now contending with a loose bargeboard, while Hamilton was told to avoid the kerbs at the final corner for fear of damaging his suspension. Despite being clear of the chasing Red Bulls, Mercedes felt the race was far from won.

In a bid to give Hamilton the chance to push late on, Mercedes brought him in at the end of lap 54 for another set of soft tires. Rosberg followed suit one lap later, making the switch to super-soft tires and emerging ahead of his title rival. Verstappen now led for Red Bull, but with a lead of just three seconds, his advantage did not look set to last.

Hamilton immediately questioned why Rosberg was running on a softer tire than him, being told by his engineer that the soft compound would be the best to finish on. Fired up, he carved into Rosberg’s advantage, leaving the front three separated by just two seconds with 10 laps remaining.

Rosberg found a way past Verstappen with the help of DRS, leaving the Dutchman to contend with Hamilton behind. Although he ultimately battled past Verstappen, Hamilton lost precious time to Rosberg at the front, leaving him out of DRS range once again.

Hamilton dug deep in a bid to cut the gap once again. He produced back-to-back fastest laps to whittle Rosberg’s advantage down to just 1.1 seconds with five laps to run. The gap fell further, leaving Hamilton crawling all over the back of his teammate’s car heading onto the final lap of the race.

Heading up to Turn 2, the two drivers made contact, causing damage to Rosberg’s front wing and forcing him to slow. Hamilton was able to move back onto the track and move ahead before crossing the line to take a tenuous and thrilling victory.

Max Verstappen crossed the line second to score Red Bull’s first home podium in Formula 1, with Raikkonen finishing third ahead of the fallen and furious Rosberg. He was left to settle for P4, 10 seconds shy of Hamilton at the front, acting as the latest chapter in Mercedes’ intra-team tension.

The stewards also confirmed soon after the checkered flag that Rosberg is under investigation for causing a collision and failing to stop his car when damaged, meaning his P4 finish could be in jeopardy.

Daniel Ricciardo finished fifth for Red Bull ahead of  Jenson Button, who came home sixth for McLaren after some quick thinking under the safety car allowed him to go to the end of the race without stopping again.

Romain Grosjean ended Haas’ points drought by finishing seventh ahead of Carlos Sainz Jr. and Valtteri Bottas, while a late retirement for Sergio Perez saw Pascal Wehrlein finish 10th, marking just the second points finish in the history of Manor.

Justin Grant prevails over Kyle Larson in the Turkey Night Grand Prix

Grant Larson Turkey Night
USACRacing.com / DB3 Inc.

On the heels of his Hangtown 100 victory, Justin Grant worked his way from 13th in the Turkey Night Grand Prix to beat three-time event winner Kyle Larson by 1.367 seconds. The 81st annual event was run at Ventura (Calif.) Raceway for the sixth time.

“My dad used to take me to Irwindale Speedway, and we’d watch Turkey Night there every year,” Grant said in a series press release. “This is one of the races I fell in love with. I didn’t think I’d ever get a chance to run in it, never thought I’d make a show and certainly never thought I’d be able to win one.”

With its genesis in 1934 at Gilmore Stadium, a quarter-mile dirt track in Los Angeles, the race is steeped in history with winners that include AJ Foyt, Parnelli Jones, Gary Bettenhausen and Johnnie Parsons. Tony Stewart won it in 2000. Kyle Larson won his first of three Turkey Night Grands Prix in 2012. Christopher Bell earned his first of three in 2014, so Grant’s enthusiasm was well deserved.

So was the skepticism that he would win. He failed to crack the top five in three previous attempts, although he came close last year with a sixth-place result. When he lined up for the feature 13th in the crowded 28-car field, winning seemed like a longshot.

Grant watched as serious challengers fell by the wayside. Mitchel Moles flipped on Lap 10 of the feature. Michael “Buddy” Kofoid took a tumble on Lap 68 and World of Outlaws Sprint car driver Carson Macedo flipped on Lap 79. Grant saw the carnage ahead of him and held a steady wheel as he passed Tanner Thorson for the lead with 15 laps remaining and stayed out of trouble for the remainder of the event.

“It’s a dream come true to win the Turkey Night Grand Prix,” Grant said.

Kyle Larson follows Justin Grant to the front on Turkey Night

The 2012, 2016 and 2019 winner, Larson was not scheduled to run the event. His wife Katelyn is expecting their third child shortly, but after a couple of glasses of wine with Thanksgiving dinner and while watching some replays of the event, Larson texted car owner Chad Boat to see if he had a spare car lying around. He did.

“We weren’t great but just hung around and it seemed like anybody who got to the lead crashed and collected some people,” Larson said. “We made some passes throughout; in the mid-portion, we weren’t very good but then we got better at the end.

“I just ran really, really hard there, and knew I was running out of time, so I had to go. I made some pretty crazy and dumb moves, but I got to second and was hoping we could get a caution to get racing with Justin there. He was sliding himself at both ends and thought that maybe we could get a run and just out-angle him into [Turn] 1 and get clear off [Turn] 2 if we got a caution, but it just didn’t work out.”

Larson padded one of the most impressive stats in the history of this race, however. In 10 starts, he’s won three times, finished second four times, was third once and fourth twice.

Bryant Wiedeman took the final spot on the podium.

As Grant and Larson began to pick their way through the field, Kofoid took the lead early from the outside of the front row and led the first 44 laps of the race before handing it over to Cannon McIntosh, who bicycled on Lap 71 before landing on all fours. While Macedo and Thorson tussled for the lead with McIntosh, Grant closed in.

Thorson finished 19th with McIntosh 20th. Macedo recovered from his incident to finish ninth. Kofoid’s hard tumble relegated him to 23rd.

Jake Andreotti in fourth and Kevin Thomas, Jr. rounded out the top five.

1. Justin Grant (started 13)
2. Kyle Larson (22)
3. Bryant Wiedeman (4)
4. Jake Andreotti (9)
5. Kevin Thomas Jr. (1)
6. Logan Seavey (8)
7. Alex Bright (27)
8. Emerson Axsom (24)
9. Carson Macedo (7)
10. Jason McDougal (18)
11. Jake Swanson (16)
12. Chase Johnson (6)
13. Jacob Denney (26)
14. Ryan Timms (23)
15. Chance Crum (28)
16. Brenham Crouch (17)
17. Jonathan Beason (19)
18. Cade Lewis (14)
19. Tanner Thorson (11)
20. Cannon McIntosh (3)
21. Thomas Meseraull (15)
22. Tyler Courtney (21)
23. Buddy Kofoid (2)
24. Brody Fuson (5)
25. Mitchel Moles (20)
26. Daniel Whitley (10)
27. Kaylee Bryson (12)
28. Spencer Bayston (25)