Valtteri Bottas wins an eventful Austrian GP ahead of an impressive and unexpected duo. Charles Leclerc conquered P2 and Lando Norris took his maiden F1 podium, taking full advantage of Lewis Hamilton’s 5s penalty following a contact with Alexander Albon.
A trouble-free start characterised the Austrian GP, as Valtteri Bottas comfortably maintained the lead on Verstappen and Norris. Lewis Hamilton was handed a 3-place penalty after Red Bull appealed to the FIA to review the investigation issued on the Briton after qualifying. The Mercedes driver ignored yellow flags in Q3 and hence started 5th.
Ferrari struggled from the very beginning, as Charles Leclerc was engaged in a battle against Sergio Perez for P6 but was quickly caught and pressured by a faster Carlos Sainz.
Reliability issues battered numerous drivers, starting with Max Verstappen’s clamorous DNF. The Dutchman reported gearbox problems and brake issues and was forced to retire in the early stages of the race.
Lance Stroll lamented an ERS problem during lap 21 and was swiftly called into the pits. More engine problems kicked in with Daniel Ricciardo, the third PU victim of the 2020 Austrian GP.
Kevin Magnussen brought out the first Safety Car of 2020 as he spun out of Turn 4, apparently suffering from brake issues while battling Ocon.
Vettel endured a rather disappointing race, constantly struggling at the wheel of his SF1000, culminating in a spin after locking up as Leclerc and Sainz were involved in a feisty bagarre. The German lost numerous places and found himself in P14.
As Hamilton completed his recovery, an ‘Urgent chassis default 2-1’ message was brought to the attention of both Mercedes drivers, who reportedly started experiencing major sensor issues on both cars. Hamiltonand Bottas were also told by James Allison himself to stay off the kerbs.
George Russell reported an engine problem and was forced to stop the car at Turn 4, causing the second Safety Car of the race to be deployed. Albon took the change to pit and switch to Soft, whereas both Mercedes stayed out on 25-lap old Hards. As the race resumed, Safety Car was deployed again due to Raikkonen’s front-right wheel
The race resumed at lap 61 with Albon made contact with Lewis Hamilton while vying for P2. Subsequently, Perez was gifted with P3 followed by Norris and Leclerc. The Monegasque managed to overtake Lando Norris during lap 65, as he signed the fastest lap of the race. In the meantime, Antonio Giovinazzi entered the Top-10 taking advantage of the damage on Sebastian Vettel’s car.
Leclerc’s Ferrari came alive in the closing stages of the race, completing a masterful overtaken on Sergio Perez for P3. The Stewards decided to penalise Hamilton following the incident with Albon, hence Leclerc virtually gained P2.
Giovinazzi gained a further position on Kvyat, allowing Vettel to enter the Top-10 again. Shortly after, the Russian suffered a left-rear puncture.