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Both Mercedes drivers retire from Austrian Grand Prix

Disaster for Mercedes AMG at the Red Bull Ring

Austrian Grand Prix – Both Mercedes AMG drivers retired from the Austrian GP, having looked strong early in the race.

The two Mercedes drivers were the class of the field in qualifying on Saturday, qualifying P1 & P2 with Valtteri Bottas & Lewis Hamilton respectively.

At the race start, Hamilton moved up ahead of Bottas to take the lead and the pair settled into a relatively comfortable lead ahead of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen. 15 laps into the race, Bottas pulled over to the side of the track with an apparent gearbox failure. A lack of hydraulic failure made the car seize up and he stopped the car at Turn 4 and clambered out.

While Lewis Hamilton continued leading until a strategic error from his team lost the lead to the Red Bulls and Ferraris under the Virtual Safety Car, he suffered a similar looking problem with seven laps remaining in the race. Having just inherited back P4 from the retiring Red Bull of Daniel Riccciardo, Hamilton slowed into Turn 3 with an apparent loss of power and stopped the car halfway along the back straight. At this point, it’s believed to be a fuel pressure issue, but will need further investigation when the car is returned.

It’s the first double retirement due to mechanical issues for Mercedes in the Hybrid era, starting in 2014, and coincides with the introduction of a ‘Spec 2.1’ power unit that was rolled out in France last weekend. Force India’s Sergio Perez retired from that race with the new spec engine fitted, with a problem related to the power unit.

This double retirement will cause concern for Mercedes, who now lose the lead of both championships. Ferrari lead the Constructor’s championship by 10 points over Mercedes, with Sebastian Vettel a point clear of Hamilton in the Driver’s Championship.

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Thomas Maher

Co-owner, Chief Editor and a journalist for FormulaSpy.com - Ireland's only accredited F1 & Formula E website. Also working in the Irish radio broadcasting industry. Donations: PayPal - paypal.me/thomasmaheronf1 ETH/ERC20 - 0x9d0b8071180AAcB0bD5f0c1d43281768C73e8763

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