Formula 1 kicks off in Austria with a win for Bottas
Valtteri Bottas blazed the trail for Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 team in the inaugural race of the 2020 Formula 1 season, winning the Austrian Grand Prix and besting Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow's Charles Leclerc. Meanwhile, teammate Lewis Hamilton, courtesy his contact with Aston Martin Red Bull Racing's Alexander Albon, was slapped a five-second penalty, causing him to be demoted from what would have been a second-place finish to P4. This effectively meant McLaren F1’s Lando Norris finished P3, his first F1 podium.
The duo of Bottas and Hamilton enjoyed a comfortable performance advantage throughout the 71-lap encounter. But with 10 laps to go, the race exploded into life, with Hamilton handed his penalty after pushing Albon into a spin on a Safety Car restart on Lap 61.
A late surge for Leclerc after a difficult weekend for Ferrari saw him climb to third by the flag, meaning he inherited second after the Hamilton penalty, while a late pass on the BWT Racing Point of Sergio Perez was enough to give Norris the P3 spot, which also saw McLaren begin a season with a podium for the first time since 2014.
Hamilton took fourth behind Norris, though he was ahead of the second McLaren of Carlos Sainz and Sergio Perez. Then came the Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda of Pierre Gasly in seventh, ahead of F1 returnee Esteban Ocon in eighth, with Alfa Romeo Racing Orlen’s Antonio Giovinazzi finishing P9 and Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel – who spun early on in the race after contact with Sainz – in P10, just one place ahead of the final finisher, Williams Racing’ Nicholas Latifi.
It was a nightmare race for Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, meanwhile, who experienced a loss of power after just 11 of the 71 laps, costing him a chance of shooting for a third straight win at the Red Bull Ring – while teammate Albon appeared to suffer a similar problem just two laps from the end.
Below are the standings of point-scoring drivers after the Austrian Grand Prix:
Note: Provisional results. Norris scored an additional point for setting the fastest lap of the race. Hamilton received a 5-second time penalty for causing a collision, as did Perez for speeding in the pit lane.