Sebastian Vettel - We didn't have the pace to challenge Mercedes

Valtteri Bottas

Despite not appearing on the podium, Mercedes-AMG driver Lewis Hamilton led the race early on, holding off a hard-charging Raikkonen at the start.

Perhaps one meager consolation amid Mercedes' debacle is that the mechanical issues that impacted Bottas and Hamilton were apparently unrelated to the team's recent engine upgrade. Chief strategist James Vowles, his words relayed to a global audience of millions over the team radio, took full responsibility and said his mistake had thrown away the win. "We move forwards. I'm looking forward to getting the vehicle back and trying to understand what the problem is and the guys will all be working hard to rectify it and make sure it doesn't happen again".

Toto Wolff says that the double retirement for Mercedes at the Austrian Grand Prix serves as a huge wake-up call to the team in their championship battle with Ferrari.

The Mercedes team failed to call Hamilton in for a pit stop, which meant he lost the lead when pulling in during race conditions.

It was a disappointing day for Mercedes at the Red Bull Ring in Austria on Sunday as they suffered a double retirement after starting on the front row of the grid, while being touted as the overwhelming favorites to win the race.

Hamilton's retirement, his first in 33 races, ensured a 15-point championship swing in Vettel's favour.

While both Red Bulls and Ferraris went to their boxes to have their tires changed, Mercedes surprisingly let Hamilton driving on. "These rears are not going to f****** last", Hamilton said.

The Finn started the race being on the backfoot dropping to as low as fourth position after the start, before he started to gain momentum and find his way through the cars ahead. In Canada, their failure to give Hamilton a fresh engine contributed to him finishing only fifth.

"I already said it before the race: It is super to start 1-2 but it is better to finish 1-2", Wolff said. "The situation is very complex this year".

"None of the issues on the vehicle had anything to do with the reliability of the engine", he told reporters."We had an hydraulic leak linked to the steering on Valtteri's auto, and we had a drop in fuel pressure on Lewis's vehicle which was linked to the fuel system".

"And it takes courage to admit in public that you made a mistake".

"We made a decision to leave Lewis on track for one lap, because we thought it would take longer to clear the auto from its position, and be able to react to what the cars behind us did on the following lap", said Wolff.

Asked if he could have caught Verstappen with a extra few laps, Raikkonen added: "Sure, [it was] possible, but this is the laps that we have in the race. This is where we lost the race".

A major strategy error and tyre problems were to blame for Hamilton's withdrawal.

Bottas exited on lap 15 while Hamilton's race ended with seven laps remaining when his auto lost fuel pressure.

Vowles, 39, owned up to his error in front of the world as Mercedes attempted to settle Hamilton. "Lewis, this is James", he said on the radio.

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