As Nico Rosberg held off a late charge by Lewis Hamilton to claim victory at the Austrian Grand Prix, Mercedes’ return to the top two steps of the podium was rather overshadowed.

This is because in many ways the weekend in Spielberg belonged to a team who had threatened to produce a great result for much of the year finally got it right on race day.

Williams have had a car that has been good enough to potentially even win a race, indeed as their engine supplier faltered in Canada it really should have been either Felipe Massa or Valtteri Bottas who became the third different winner of the year.

In many ways though, Austria was perhaps even more up their alley than what Montreal was.

As Mercedes struggled to extract the improvement in pace most managed from the super-soft tyres, both Williams cars took advantage and achieved the team’s first lockout of the front row at a Grand Prix since Germany 2003.

And in the race, particularly through Bottas, the team looked likely to take the charge to the works Mercedes throughout.

Eventually, however, once Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton were in the clear the pace of the Silver Arrow on the prime tyre was too much, as most had expected, and the team had to settle for third and fourth places.

What was further helping the Grove team was the struggles of their nearest rivals. Force India, with Sergio Perez, looked like a potential disruptor to Williams’ charge at the front but as Red Bull endured their worst weekend in years, at their home race, and Ferrari again showed that it is race pace holding them back.

That meant even the poor tyre wear, both Mercedes and Williams were enduring, wasn’t a factor in the two teams claiming the top four places.

What was also apparent from the race in Austria is Valtteri Bottas really is the potential future star most believe he can become.

It was a poor final run from Bottas and a good lap from Massa that allowed the Brazilian to take an emotional pole, but in the race it was the Finn who proved he is the better driver keeping the pressure on the Mercedes for much longer and taking a well deserved maiden F1 podium.

But in the end it was Mercedes who proved the troubles in Canada, though not completely sorted, were a mere blip when it came to their domination of the 2014 season.

There is a many ways to read into the battle between Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg at the Red Bull Ring.

After his difficult qualifying, finishing second to Rosberg could be viewed as damage limitation for Hamilton, however, after such a great start which saw the Briton right behind Rosberg within the first few laps, you maybe have to argue if Rosberg again proved why he is now favourite to win the championship.

There has been a conspiracy circulating since the race – maybe started by Mark Webber in the post-podium interviews, but it has been leapt upon by some Hamilton fans on social media.

Hamilton’s pit-stops during the race were quite a lot slower than those around with his final stop of four seconds nearly double that of Bottas’s first trip through the pits which saw him stationary for just 2.1 seconds.

Now given Hamilton ended the race less than a second behind Rosberg it could be argued that his slow pit-stops cost him victory, indeed those spreading this theory believe it is Mercedes' way of favouring their German driver, however, to squash the conspiracy theorists, a quicker final stop would have given Lewis the lead prior to his problems in Canada.

It was merely as the cookie crumbles, as they say, and it should have been up to Hamilton to make up the time on the track.

Now Hamilton’s deficit to Rosberg after the Austrian round is 29 points, the highest the gap has been between the two at any point this season.

The next two races, first at Silverstone and then Hockenheim, will be crucial as to whether Hamilton can fight back or if he may have to rely on double points in Abu Dhabi.

As for Rosberg his confidence will just keep growing and growing, he will be heading deep into enemy territory at the next race in Britain and one thing that will still linger is the amount of poor luck Hamilton has had compared to himself.

Just one retirement with Hamilton winning would throw the title back wide open again but for now Mercedes are enjoying this return to the top while being wary of greater threats from behind.

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Formula 1