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Austrian GP: Bottas wins as penalty sees Hamilton miss out on podium

06/07/20

Formula 1® returned with another dramatic finish in Austria.

Valtteri Bottas won the season-opening Austrian Grand Prix on Sunday but Lewis Hamilton missed out on a podium due to a five-second time penalty following contact with Alex Albon.

Bottas led from start to finish for his eighth Formula 1® victory as the campaign got under way behind closed doors at the Red Bull Ring four months later than initially planned due to the coronavirus pandemic.

In a dramatic finish Hamilton, who started fifth after a receiving a three-place grid penalty for failing to slow during yellow flags in qualifying, crossed the line second but was denied a place in the top three after he sent Albon spinning at turn four with 11 laps remaining.

That came after the safety car was deployed for the third time and Charles Leclerc consequently moved up to second, while Lando Norris set the fastest lap of the race on the final lap to snatch third from Hamilton and earn his first F1® podium.

Albon was denied a first top-three finish by contact with Hamilton at last year's Brazilian Grand Prix and his wait goes on following another coming together with the six-time champion.

The Thai driver retired on lap 69 to compound a miserable day for Red Bull after Max Verstappen's race ended early on by a suspected electrical issue.

A safety car was deployed after Kevin Magnussen spun off at turn three on lap 26, with Hamilton frustrated to be put on the same hard compound as Bottas.

Despite the Mercedes duo - driving their new all-black cars as part of an anti-racism message from their team - being ordered to stay off the kerbs due to gearbox sensor issues at the midway point, they managed to build a 10-second lead over the rest of the field.

However, George Russell's hopes of scoring his first points in F1® were over when he came to a halt on track and the safety car was deployed again to pile the pressure on Bottas and Mercedes.

Kimi Raikkonen lost a wheel as the race restarted so the safety car was sent straight back out, and the bumping of tyres that sent Albon spinning as he got around the outside of Hamilton soon followed.

Norris collided with Sergio Perez, who was handed a five-second time penalty for speeding in the pit lane, before managing to secure McLaren's second podium in three races with a breathtaking final lap.

VETTEL IN A SPIN

Leclerc's podium was a surprise, given Ferrari barely threatened all race; they were significantly helped by the nine retirements and Hamilton's time penalty.

Vettel finished 10th - only ahead of debutant Nicholas Latifi - after a needless attempt to dive down the inside of Sainz, who will replace him at the Scuderia next season, left him in a spin.

Sainz was trying to overtake his future team-mate Leclerc at that point and Ferrari may well feel they have put themselves in a better position for next year.

ALTERNATIVE CELEBRATIONS

There was minimal jumping for joy with the garage members, with a remote-control trolley delivering water and a towel to each driver after being interviewed by Jenson Button.

The podium was placed in front of their cars on the start-finish straight and each driver was handed a face mask in addition to the traditional cap worn during the ceremony.

No dignitaries were involved with the trophy presentation, but there was still champagne sprayed by Bottas, Leclerc and a jubilant Norris.

IN THE POINTS
  1. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes)
  2. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) +2.700s
  3. Lando Norris (McLaren) +5.491s
  4. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) +5.689s
  5. Carlos Sainz (McLaren) +8.903s
  6. Sergio Perez (Racing Point) +15.092s
  7. Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri) +16.682s
  8. Esteban Ocon (Renault) +17.456s
  9. Antonio Giovinazzi (Alfa Romeo) +21.146s
  10. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) +24.545s

STANDINGS

Drivers
  1. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) 25
  2. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) 18
  3. Lando Norris (McLaren) 16
  4. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 12
  5. Carlos Sainz (McLaren) 10
Constructors
  1. Mercedes 37
  2. McLaren 26
  3. Ferrari 17
  4. Racing Point 8
  5. AlphaTauri 6
WHAT'S NEXT?

There is barely time to rest before the teams return to the Red Bull Ring next week for the second race of the season.