Jun.22 (GMM) Toto Wolff has tipped the 2015 title battle to go “down to the wire”.
Although Lewis Hamilton started from pole position in Austria, it was teammate Nico Rosberg who was clearly faster all weekend and he duly won on Sunday.
Hamilton, however, has been the on-form Mercedes driver throughout 2015, but the consistent German Rosberg is just 10 points behind after eight races.
A decisive moment on Sunday was when Hamilton was beaten off the line by Rosberg, and the reigning world champion explained that he has not felt comfortable on the clutch since Barcelona.
Hamilton was also penalised for crossing the pit exit line on Sunday, but team chairman Niki Lauda insisted: “Nico was outstanding today, I have to say.
“He would have won it without Lewis’ penalty.”
Hamilton also acknowledged that, admitting Rosberg was “quicker during the race”.
Rosberg said he has worked hard on improving his race pace since being beaten to the 2014 title by Hamilton.
“I think this year I found what I needed to find last year in terms of the race,” he said.
Many insiders predicted that Hamilton’s 2015 form to date had established a clear hierarchy, but boss Wolff said the way Rosberg keeps bouncing back is proof of his mental strength.
“Nico was the faster man all weekend,” he said on Sunday. “Except for one lap in qualifying.
“It is going to go down to the wire,” Wolff predicted. “As we saw it last year, it can vary who has the edge at every circuit.”