Toto Wolff admits suffering after double Mercedes retirement at Austrian GP

Toto Wolff admits suffering after double Mercedes retirement at Austrian GP

The ninth round of the 2018 FIA Formula One World Championship began with practice Friday at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg as teams prepared for the Austrian Grand Prix Sunday.

His title rival Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari reclaimed the championship lead by a point after finishing third.

Although a strong start to the race, when he muscled past Kimi Raikkonen, meant Verstappen ran behind the then-leading Mercedes cars in third at the end of the opening lap, his race turned on Red Bull's decision to pit both their cars together on lap 15 when the Virtual Safety Car was initiated after Valtteri Bottas had retired.

On Lap 64, the championship leader Lewis Hamilton retired from the race as Lewis Hamilton lost all power from his auto.

"I'm not too impressed to be honest", he told Sky Sports F1. "For me, the most painful day in my years at Mercedes, worse than Barcelona".

"The battle was close between us all, I didn't know who I was going ot be fighting for pole - just knew that it would be close".

"After that the vehicle felt strong, we were running well, but then I suddenly experienced a loss of hydraulic pressure".

'We have to come back strong and the hard days are the ones where you learn the most but you have to stay positive'.

Birthday boy Daniel Ricciardo has had to pull out of the Austria Grand Prix due to engine issues, but his Red Bull teammate Max Verstappen took advantage of a disastrous double no-finish for Mercedes to win the event.

Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari filled the top six places on the timesheets in both sessions, with Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen sixth in both.

The team's fifth major problem in only nine rounds left Hamilton in no-man's land. "It is not a great feeling for all of us", Hamilton said. 'The situation is very complex this year.

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"To feel the improvement on the vehicle and for us be ahead of the Ferraris is obviously quite a privilege to be in that position". "This is natural when you want to win and we would not want to take that away from them".

"We had three runs and I was just punching a hole for everyone and I think if you get one run fair enough".

In came Hamilton for tyres on lap 25. Fact. This is where we lost the race.

Mercedes' chief strategist, James Vowles, took the blame and was quick to say "sorry" to Hamilton over the radio.

There was a growing sense of chaos surrounding Mercedes at the Austrian Grand Prix.

Vowles, 39, owned up to his error in front of the world as Mercedes attempted to settle Hamilton.

"Lewis, it's James. I've thrown away the win today but you have the potential opportunity to get back up. I have every confidence in my team that we'll be able to bounce back".

"Ferrari will start on the ultrasoft tyres whereas Red Bull and us will start on the supersofts so that will be interesting", he acknowledged.

"The luck I'm having this year feels like a bit of a bad joke at the moment", said Bottas, who had collided with Vettel at the start of the previous race in France.

Lap 1: Lewis Hamilton goes into the lead!

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