It was a wild and crazy day as Valtteri Bottas took the first race of the long awaited Formula One season after starting on Pole Sunday morning in Austria. The Mercedes driver won the season opening race for the second year in a row, having won the 2019 season opening Austrailian GP. Bottas was able to keep a pretty comfortable advantage at the Red Bull Ring throughout the 71 lap race.
Defending champion Lewis Hamilton was served a 3 position penalty to start the race from a the third qualifying session for not slowing down for a yellow flag. Hamilton worked his number 44 Mercedes up to cross the finish line in second behind Bottas. Unfortunately, Hamilton was given a 5 second penalty for causing a spinout of Red Bull driver Alex Albon on lap 61, similar to the 2019 incident at the Brazilian GP. The penalty dropped the Mercedes driver down to 4th place.
Charles LeClerc worked his way up from a P7 start to cross the finish line third after a disappointing performances through qualifying for the Ferrari team. Hamilton’s penalty allowed LeClerc to inherit second place.
Lando Norris also benefitted from the defending champ’s 5 second penalty as he earned his first career podium, making him the third youngest ever (Max Verstappen and Lance Stroll).
Max Verstappen was the first of nine drivers to retire in the Austrian GP. The winner of the previous two Grands Prix at the Red Bull Ring suffered a power failure in his RB16 on lap eleven, preventing him from defending his title. Red Bull teammate Alex Albon was taken out of the race by Hamilton with 10 laps to go. Finishing the first race without any points in a shortened season will make it very difficult for Red Bull to challenge Mercedes for the constructors championship.
Daniel Ricciardo, Lance Stroll, Kevin Magnusen, Romain Grosjean, George Russell, Kimi Raikkonen, and Daniil Kvyat all had to retire their cars.
The racers will be back next week at the Red Bull Ring again for the second GP of the season.