Bottas & Mercedes relieved to claim Austria win after reliability concerns

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Valtteri Bottas and Mercedes breathed a sigh of relief after overcoming reliability worries to win in Austria.

The Finn may have led every lap at the Red Bull Ring but it was a stressful 71 laps of racing as the German manufacturer struggled with issues across all teams who use their power units.

For Bottas, there was also the small matter of keeping teammate Lewis Hamilton at bay, who was a growing threat to his position before ultimately, car conservation became more critical.

“Winning a Formula 1 Grand Prix is never easy, but today didn’t definitively come easy at all,” he said after the race.

“In the first stint Lewis lost a bit of time getting through the Red Bulls, so there was quite a bit of margin. I could control and make sure we’d make it to the target stop lap. I tried to do the right thing with the tyres and maintaining the car.

“In the second stint there was never, like, massive pressure, because I was up in front and we wanted to make really sure we made it to the end, but there was all these variables in the race.

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"We had some issues with some sensors, that were damaged by the vibration of the pretty harsh kerbs we have here, so we had to avoid kerbing which, obviously, costs you quite a bit of lap time," Bottas explained.

“And when you are in the lead, getting one Safety Car after another… In the end, I was, like, 'again?', because when you are in the lead you just want things to be constant and trouble-free.

"There were many variables but I managed to dodge many bullets today and get the win.”

Initially, it did appear Mercedes might be using reliability concerns as a way of managing their drivers as Hamilton closed in.

But team boss Toto Wolff explained just how "serious" the issue was.

"The situation was pretty serious, right away from the start," he told "We saw it started with issues on Valtteri's car, but it was something that can be an instant [engine] kill. Then it started on Lewis's car. We didn't really know what it was.

"We know that it was somehow linked to vibration and agitation of the car. That is why we advised them very early on to keep off the kerbs.

"At a certain stage, it looked like we would not finish the race with both cars, so we were trying to really cruise home."