Mercedes Back on Track (2014 Austrian GP Review)

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Formula 1 would finally return to Austria for the first time since 2003 for the 6th leg of the 2014 season. The race would be the first where the Mercedes team was not coming off of a win in the previous race. The Mercedes team has dominated this year but in Canada they would take a back seat to Red Bull who would finish first and third. Now the teams would go to Austria where Red Bull Racing was looking to begin a winning streak on their home track. Red Bull would be the team with the most experience on the track as 11 years had passed since anyone raced on the track. Only three drivers had ever raced on the track before, giving the Red Bull team a leg up on the competition after practicing on the track for the entire offseason. After the first loss by Mercedes it seemed like there may be a chance for another team to begin their own streak and start challenging for the championships. As the race weekend began it seemed like Mercedes might be in trouble but it was not Red Bull that was challenging them. Instead it was the Williams team that was putting on the pressure. Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa had the top two spots in qualifying sitting on the first row of the grid. It was the first time that anyone but Mercedes had taken the pole in a race and it would set up an interesting matchup. Mercedes was now looking to make up the difference rather than defend the top spot in the race. It was a new experience for Mercedes as may wondered if they could come back from behind to win a race or if they needed the pole to win races. It is a different race when coming from behind as the clean are is not there to make an engine operate at peak capacity. That is what the Mercedes team would compete against and for the start of the race it was a tight battle between the four drivers. Despite a bad qualification for Hamilton, the Mercedes and Williams teams would end up as the challengers for the top spot early. The Williams team would keep the top two spots not letting Mercedes get much on them but when they went to pit and change tires the Mercedes team, that had pitted earlier, would move up. Still they would sit behind Sergio Perez in the Force India who passed them during their own pit stop. Eventually Perez would pit and the race between the Williams and Mercedes teams would continue. This time it was the Mercedes team that would sit in first and second while Williams sat in third and fourth. The race would continue but the Mercedes team would begin to pull away and once again make it a two driver race. Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton would once again fight it out for the top spot in a race. The battle would get back to what had happened in the previous races with Williams putting up a good fight but eventually it was Mercedes sitting at the top of the podium. This time it was Nico Rosberg who would take the win, his third of the year, while Hamilton would sit in second place. The race would start out looking like it could be the second race in a row that the Mercedes team finished outside of the top spot. It ended with both Mercedes drivers at the top of the podium once more as the dominance of Mercedes continued.

The one-two finish would be only the latest in the season as the Mercedes team has finished at the top of the podium in all but three races. In two of those races Lewis Hamilton would not finish the race leaving Nico Rosberg to win the race while other teams battle for the other podium spots. This time both cars were up and running they would once again take the big points on the race. The win for Rosberg would be only the second win when Hamilton finished the race and that would help him expand his lead in the driver’s championship pushing him further ahead of Hamilton. Rosberg has been good as of late and he has finished every race near the top this year in what has been one of the best seasons of his young career. Meanwhile Hamilton sits in the second place spot looking to get back to winning after three straight races sitting outside of the top podium. He will continue to look to get that leg up on his teammate to get the lead in the championship back. As Hamilton and Rosberg continue to win races and finish on the podium they are creating a bigger gap between them and everyone else. The driver’s championship is quickly turning into a two driver race as Hamilton and Rosberg are running away with it. The constructor’s championship continues to be a one team race as Mercedes saw another big amount of points come in after a 1-2 finish. They are putting a bigger distance between them and any other team for the constructor’s championship. Red Bull looked like they were going to give Mercedes a run for the championship after finishing with two driver’s on the podium in Canada but they couldn’t repeat their performance in Austria. As the season continues to move on the championships are dropping contenders every race as it seems like it is clearly Mercedes’ season and could continue that way until the last race.

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