Valtteri Bottas wins an incident-packed Austrian Grand Prix
July 6 2020 , 11:36 am
Valtteri Bottas survived reliability worries to win an incident-packed Austrian Grand Prix as Lewis Hamilton took fourth after a penalty.
Four months after the scheduled first race, called off because of the coronavirus crisis, Mercedes’ win was anything but the cruise that had been expected.
Gearbox concerns slowed the cars and Hamilton was penalised five seconds for a collision with Red Bull’s Alex Albon.
Charles Leclerc came second after a stirring drive in the uncompetitive Ferrari while McLaren’s Lando Norris took his first podium finish, just holding off Hamilton.
The world champion appeared to be the fastest car on track but the safety car periods threw multiple curve balls into the mix and the race came alive in a chaotic final 16 laps.
Albon said: “I am a bit depressed right now so I have to be careful what I say. I really felt like I could have won the race. Mercedes had the outright pace but the guys did a great job with the strategy.
“There is always the risk of overtaking on the outside but I gave it as much space as I could. I was right on the edge, if I gave him all the space I could give him, it is up to him if he wants to crash or not.”
Hamilton said he felt it was a “racing incident”.
Hamilton was penalised five seconds for the incident and now it was a question of whether he could make up enough ground on Leclerc and Norris to keep second place.
Valtteri Bottas: “That was definitely quite a bit of pressure. One safety car was still OK, with the last one I was like ‘come on’ – there were so many chances for Lewis to come through if made a small mistake. I managed to keep it together and control the race from my side and it’s a good start to the season.”
Charles Leclerc: “It was a huge surprise but a good one. We did everything perfect today, had a bit of luck with Lewis’ penalty and a few crashes here and there but that’s part of the race too. We just wanted to to take every opportunity to find the pace to finish where we were. There’s still a lot of work to do but anything is possible. We will work as a team and we can come back strong.”
Lando Norris: “There’s a few moments where I thought I fudged it. I dropped to fifth with a few laps to go and Carlos [Sainz] nearly passed me and I managed to get back past Checo and I ended up on the podium. It was a good race, a hard last few laps to push as hard as I can. I’m so happy for the team to achieve what we have given where we were a few years ago.”