sport

Rosberg holds off Hamilton

Nico Rosberg extended his championship lead over Lewis Hamilton to beyond a race victory after winning a tense Austrian GP.

Although a pair of mistakes in qualifying had left Hamilton six places behind his Mercedes team-mate on the grid, a stunning start to the race saw the Briton gain four places by the second corner and then end the opening lap right behind Rosberg in fourth as Williams' front-row starters Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas led the opening stint.

However, in a compelling 71-lap race around the Red Bull Ring in which the race's key moves largely occurred around the two pit-stop phases, Rosberg managed to jump both Williams' at the first while Hamilton, following the first of two slower pit-stops than the sister car, only managed to get one FW36 thanks to an opportunistic move on polesitter Massa when the Brazilian stopped several laps later.

The middle phase of the race saw Rosberg, Bottas and Hamilton run in increasingly close company at the front, especially after the title leader made a mistake under braking for Turn Two and ran wide over the asphalt run-off area.

Attempting to undercut the lead Williams at the second stops, Mercedes then pitted Hamilton first but a four-second service meant that the Briton lost further ground to Rosberg, whose own stop a lap later was a second quicker. The one solace for Hamilton was that an impressively quick time on his first flying lap on fresh tyres still allowed him to leapfrog Bottas for second place.

Rosberg's third race victory of the season means he opens up his largest points advantage of the season - 29 points.

Despite leading the early phase, and then remaining strong through the middle stint, Williams had to settle for third and fourth places with Bottas and Massa - although the 27 point haul could be massively crucial to the Grove team's season.

Fernando Alonso finished fifth, but was just a second adrift of former team-mate Massa after a fine drive for Ferrari, with Sergio Perez sixth for Force India from 15th on the grid.