SPIELBERG BEI KNITTELFELD, June 22- A fast car and aggressive approach were the key to overtaking Williams on Sunday, as Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton again locked the top of the podium for Mercedes in Austria.
The two drivers started in third and ninth position behind an all-Williams front row, but this did not stop them from taking the lead early and fighting off the competition to take their sixth 1-2 finish in eight races.
“I have to thank the team for a great car and a perfect strategy,” Rosberg, who extended his championship lead by 29 points against teammate Hamilton, said afterwards.
“We chose the aggressive way to pit earlier and to overtake the Williams that way and that worked out quite well.
“We had to look after our brakes, which was a big job for the whole race. Also this worked out perfectly for me.
“So I can be quite confident before the next home race for our team in Silverstone.”
Mercedes saw their winning streak halted by Red Bull in Canada two weeks ago as both drivers suffered power problems, and this was a major concern in Austria.
“It wasn’t the easiest of races, trying to manage certain things that were a bit on the limit on the car,” said Rosberg.
“The race was all about management: managing the brakes because this is such a tough circuit for them, and also looking after the power unit to make sure we didn’t have any repeat of the problems in Canada,” Mercedes team chief Toto Wolff also noted.
But their strategy paid off: everything went “pretty much exactly like we were trying to make it work,” said the day’s winner.
“I knew pre-race that even if I am third after the start, the chances are still very good to make it and win the race because we have just a little bit more pace and less tyre degradation than the Williams… so we could go aggressive on the stops.”
Still, Mercedes’s massive 158-point lead on their nearest rivals Red Bull in the constructors’ standings did not mean there no improvement to be made.
Hamilton lost almost two seconds to Rosberg in the pit stops at the Red Bull Ring.
“It is frustrating when you lose time because you’re constantly doing everything you can to gain a tenth here, a tenth there, so when you lose quite a chunk — two seconds over two pit stops — it’s tough.
“I’m hoping in the future we won’t have those problems.”