Max Verstappen hailed his 20,000-strong orange army of fans after giving his Red Bull Formula One team a first home victory in Austria on Sunday (July 1) to open his own winning account for the season.
Despite his newer tyres Hamilton too began struggling with blistering, and after a frustrated burst of radio messages he was called into the pits for a second tyre change on lap 52, dropping him down to fifth behind Ricciardo, both now out of victory contention.
"This year they came back and they got a victory".
Having started the race 1-2 on the grid on the back of its biggest vehicle update of the season, Mercedes had every right to feel a bit of confidence about its hopes for the race.
"The risk I see is if the FIA and promoter aren't fully aligned we end up with compromises and vanilla-type regulations", he said.
- Verstappen revealed: "If you want to win a race this is the flawless place, in a Red Bull vehicle at the Red Bull Ring".
Verstappen made a fearless move at turn eight to pass Raikkonen, with the Red Bull giving the Ferrari a nudge without consequences.
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- Sadly for Ricciardo, he had to retire with an exhaust problem and then Hamilton's vehicle lost power soon after to leave Verstappen in prime position to claim victory. "It was damage limitation for me and a positive day".
France's Romain Grosjean scored his first points of the season with a bang, finishing a lapped fourth for the US -owned Haas team, who also had Denmark's Kevin Magnussen taking the chequered flag in fifth.
"We had three runs and I was just punching a hole for everyone". Fernando Alonso took McLaren to eighth place, which was an unexpected result given that he started from the pits.
"We were one and two on the grid, Lewis had a fantastic first lap and then DNF-ing twice - and obviously losing the race under the Virtual Safety Car (VSC): it doesn't get more cruel for us". Second place in the race went to Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen, while third place went to Sebastian Vettel. "I think the pace was very good, tyre management was very good". The short lap also makes the times very close.
Qualifying begins at 2:00p BST Saturday, 30 June, and the race starts at its now traditional time of 2.10p BST.
Sauber duo Charles Leclerc and Marcus Ericsson finished ninth and 10th.
The triple-header of consecutive French, Austrian and British races concludes next week at Silverstone with the championship now fascinatingly poised.