The first race of the 2020 Formula 1 season in Austria was a crazy affair with only 11 cars finishing the Austrian Grand Prix. Mercedes were the team to beat once again but it was Valtteri Bottas who drove a terrific race to claim the win with his teammate, Lewis Hamilton, finishing second but drifted backwards to 4th place after a 5 second penalty was assessed.
Lewis Hamilton claimed a 5s penalty for clouting Alex Albon, just like Brazil last year, and was given a penalty for his efforts. Still, Mercedes nursed their gearboxes home after several warnings over the radio about staying off the curbs in order to protect the car, it was Bottas holding off a charging Hamilton to claim the first win.
Charles Leclerc managed to put in a terrific drive in a car that seemed to have very little interest in securing a podium. Charles said he certainly didn’t expect to take second place but put together a terrific run contrary to his teammate, Sebastian Vettel, who spun and languished back in 10th.
The final spot was secured by McLaren’s Lando Norris who had to close the gap to Lewis Hamilton to take advantage of the looming penalty. On the last lap, Norris put in a terrific lap and finished within 5s of Hamilton for his first podium. McLaren put in a great defense of their 4th place in the constructor’s championship from last season and fended off the Racing Point assault.
Huge win for Bottas who put in a terrific pole position and drive holding off Lewis Hamilton and opening his account on the 2020 season. Lewis tried to take the fight to Bottas but both drivers were creating mechanical issues for their cars and it was Bottas who pulled it off.
A big win for Ferrari who entered the weekend downplaying their chances and they were right to do so but Charles Leclerc managed to do what all champions have done, put a recalcitrant car in a place it doesn’t really belong.
A huge win for McLaren and Lando Norris for securing third place. McLaren, who have been impacted severely from the COVID-19 economic impact, needed the success that Lando delivered and Carlos Sainz was right on his tail to bring home a great points haul.
A fail for Sebastian Vettel who tried to cram his nose underneath Carlos Sainz in an ill-advised move that left him at the back of the grid and recovering to 10th when his teammate managed second.
A fail for Alex Albon who was, in his view, denied a real shot at a grand prix victory by Lewis Hamilton who also denied him of a podium last year as well. With many offering terse words for Sebastian Vettel who has had some issues battling wheel-to-wheel, this is twice for Lewis to the same driver.
A fail for Red Bull and Honda for the issue that removed Max Verstappen from the race while he was running in second. Not how you want to start a season.
What happened to Kimi Raikkonen’s wheel? That issue prompted a serious fine for the team.
A WTH for Haas F1 who, once again, had issues with their brakes and this time it wasn’t just Romain Grosjean but Kevin Magnussen as well ending both they races.
Certainly many are asking why so much technical DNF’s but it is the first race of the season and these cars haven’t put in any serious miles in anger so some attrition is customary but this was a lot of attrition.
The Sky Sports team apportioned some blame to Albon for the clash with Lewis and yet exonerated a few others for banging wheels. The Sainz move on Perez was suspect and there were others but I think making excuses for a 6-time world champion may have been a slight overplay.
Austrian GP Race result – 71 laps
|5||Carlos Sainz Jr.||McLaren/Renault||8.903s|
|6||Sergio Perez||Racing Point/Mercedes||15.092s|
|9||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo/Ferrari||21.146s|
|13||Alexander Albon||Red Bull/Honda||Power Unit|
|–||Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo/Ferrari||Wheel|
|–||George Russell||Williams/Mercedes||Fuel pressure|
|–||Lance Stroll||Racing Point/Mercedes||Power Unit|
|–||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Honda||Power Unit|
|5||Carlos Sainz Jr.||10|