Valtteri Bottas has won the first race of the 2020 Formula 1 season, and was joined by Lando Norris on the podium at the Austrian Grand Prix, with Charles Leclerc taking second.
An appeal from Red Bull meant Lewis Hamilton received a late grid penalty, dropping him to fifth in the starting order, but it didn’t take the reigning champion long to pass Norris and Alexander Albon.
Next up for the Mercedes driver was Max Verstappen, but the Dutch racer’s Red Bull lost power, dropping him to the back of the field. He managed to bring the car back to the pitlane, but the mechanics weren’t able to fix the issue, making him the first retirement of 2020.
Daniel Ricciardo soon followed, with the Australian’s Renault appearing to get stuck in fifth gear while he was battling with Sebastian Vettel and Lance Stroll, with the Canadian also struggling with issues, causing him to pull into the garage a couple of laps later.
Haas were the first team to do a pitstop, with Romain Grosjean forcing their hand after spinning and sending his car through the gravel.
There were further issues for Haas moments later as Kevin Magnussen came under pressure from Esteban Ocon, and the Dane ran long, beaching his car in the run off area and bringing out the safety car.
The incident meant the majority of the field came in for new tyres, with Norris and Sergio Perez almost coming together in the pitlane as the Racing Point crew released the Mexican driver into the path of the McLaren.
With the field bunched up behind the safety car, Leclerc came under pressure from Carlos Sainz, but the Spaniard also faced a challenge from behind, with Sebastian Vettel trying to squeeze passed on the inside. There wasn’t room though, and the four-time champion’s Ferrari collided with the side of the McLaren, sending Vettel spinning and dropping down the order.
Hamilton started to hassle Bottas at the front of the field, but Mercedes warned both drivers to take it easy, fearing the kerbs could cause issues for their cars.
Grosjean had his second visit to the gravel trap, ending his day, while George Russell’s Williams lost power, forcing the Briton to pull to the side of the track and bring out the safety car for the second time.
Albon, sitting third, dropped behind Perez by coming in for a second set of new tyres, while the front three remained out, leaving the Red Bull driver on fresher rubber than his rivals.
He passed Perez to reclaim third, but the safety car was back out for a third time moments later as a tyre came off Kimi Raikkonen’s Alfa Romeo, leaving the Finn stricken at the side of the pit straight.
On newer tyres than those ahead of him, Albon looked to move up to second, and appeared to have the better of Hamilton before the two came together, spinning the Red Bull and dropping him to the back of the field. The stewards took a look at the incident, and ruled Hamilton to be at fault, resulting in a five-second time penalty for the British driver.
Hamilton’s time penalty promoted Leclerc to third, with Norris just over five seconds behind the Mercedes heading into the last lap of the race. However, the McLaren driver recorded the fastest lap of the race with the final lap to move back within five seconds of Hamilton, demoting the current champion to fourth and giving Norris his first F1 podium.
Perez also received a five-second penalty for speeding in the pit lane, but he held on to sixth, while Nicholas Latifi narrowly missed out on a point on his debut, finishing 11th.
Albon suffered a failure late on, meaning he didn’t see the chequered flag, while Daniil Kvyat had a tyre failure, ending his race prematurely.
1 Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes)
2. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari)
3. Lando Norris (McLaren)
4. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
5. Carlos Sainz (McLaren)
6. Sergio Perez (Racing Point)
7. Pierre Gasly (Alpha Tauri)
8. Esteban Ocon (Renault)
9. Antonio Giovinazzi (Alfa Romeo)
10. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari)
11. Nicholas Latifi (Williams)
Daniil Kvyat (Alpha Tauri)
Alexander Albon (Red Bull)
Kimi Raikkonen (Alfa Romeo)
George Russell (Williams)
Romain Grosjean (Haas)
Kevin Magnussen (Haas)
Lance Stroll (Racing Point)
Daniel Ricciardo (Renault)
Max Verstappen (Red Bull)