Formula 1 2020 Round 1: Austrian GP
The Hills are Alive with the Sound of Formula 1.
With such a long wait for Formula 1 to return, we were treated to a race that has became an instant classic.
After 71 laps, we had 3 Safety cars, time penalties, a driver on the podium for the first time, a fastest lap on the last lap of the race and only 11 cars finishing.
Lets try and break it down.
Hamilton demoted before the race starts.
Lewis Hamilton, suffered a 3place grid penalty, for not slowing down enough for the yellow flags, he was initially cleared, however with new evidence that clearly shows the infraction the decision was reversed and Hamilton penalised.
The lights go on 1-2-3-4-5…. They go out and 2020 is GO GO GO…..
The cars all get off the line together, Bottas runs away in first, with Verstappen in 2nd and Norris in 3rd.. The expected shower of carbon fibre did not happen, rather close but fair racing.
The Mclaren cars could not maintain their pace dropping back to 5th and 9th for Norris and Sainz respectively, with Perez keeping them honest in the Racing Point, and Albon in the Redbull also doing well.
Hamilton started in 5th after his late penalty, quickly moved into 2nd behind Bottas in the other Mercedes.
Max Verstappen and Redbull had a different strategy as the only car in the top on the medium tires, compared to the other cars on the faster but less durable soft tire. It looked as though the Redbull cars could pull of a surprise with a decent paced car and a competitive tire strategy.
Max Verstappen’s Redbull car lost power, he managed to get the stricken RB16 to the pits to allow the mechanics to try and resolve the issue, but it was a lost cause. Max Verstappen and Redbull have the dreaded 1st retirement of 2020.
Shortly after the Max Verstappen’s retirement he was joined by Daniel Riccardo’s Renault, as the Australian driver had to retire with cooling issues. The race continued at pace with Hamilton making quick work of both Norris and Albon he set his sights on the Leader Bottas.
The Next retirement was the Racing Point of Lance Stroll, he finally retired on lap 22 after trying to manage an engine issue.
Grosjean sets the tone for the HAAS team when he spins his car after dropping his rear wheel in the dirt, no damage but a trip to the pits for a new set of boots.
Safety Car 1…..
The race needed something to spice it up. What normally spices up an F1 race? A SAFETY CAR !!!!
The HAAS of Magnussen goes off, breaks failed and a Safety Car is deployed, cars dive in to the pits, with the Mercedes double stacking.
The safety car dives into the pits and we are away again, Leclerc and Sainz are battling with each other when Vettel decides to dive down the inside of both cars, tapping the Mclaren and sending himself into a spin and tumbling down to the back of the field.
What was Vettel thinking with that move?
Hamilton is starting to look for a way past Bottas in front, with the team telling both drivers to stay away from the curbs, to help manage a gearbox issue will Hamilton be able to attack Bottas?
The nightmare race for HAAS was compounded when Grosjean went off again, this time he had break issues, a slow trip back and into retirement, just a lap later, George Russell retired in the Williams with a fuel pressure issue, a shame for the Williams car as they seemed to be a lot closer to the rest of the pack than previous seasons.
Safety Car 2
Safety Car “the sequel” was deployed to assist the marshals with moving the stricken Willliams car, Albon and Redbull sacrifice track position and dive in to the pits for a new set of soft tires, the 2 Mercedes cars and Racing Point’s Perez stay out.
The Safety car is in and we are on our way … Perez and Albon are fighting for position …. Not even a lap into the race we get the final safety car of the race, the trilogy of Safety Cars is complete.
Safety Car 3
The 3rd and final Safety car is deployed, after Kimi Raikkonen’s Alfa Romeo loses a wheel, the car comes to rest on the main straight against the pit wall.
Sprint to the Finish
The race is now an 11 lap sprint race to the end, its Bottas and Hamilton in Mercedes cars with critical gearboxes Albon in 3rd with a fast Redbull wearing new soft tires…..
The safety car dives for the pits for the final time and we are away….. Bottas sprints down the track, Hamilton is not able to shake the faster Albon, they tussle for position, until Albon gets down the outside of the Mercedes car, Hamilton’s front left tire hits the right rear of Albon, the Redbull is sent spinning around …. not again, Hamilton has robbed Albon of his first podium for the second time.
The Albon/Hamilton incident is investigated, the result is a 5 second time penalty for Hamilton for causing a collision. At almost the same time as Hamilton received his penalty, Sergio Perez was given a penalty for speeding in the pit lane.
LANDO ON THE PODIUM?
With Hamilton and Perez receiving 5 second penalties, it cleared the way for Lando Norris in the Mclaren to try and get his first podium, in only his second season in F1. Alex Albon, who might have won the race, retired with an engine issue along with Kvyat, who retired with a left rear puncture in the Alpha Tauri.
We start the last lap, its time for Lando to push, the young Brit flings the Mclaren MCL35 around the Redbull Ring he crosses the line ……WITH THE FASTEST LAP OF THE RACE AND 3RD PLACE ……..
LANDO DID IT!!!!!!
In all the excitement, we nearly didn’t notice Charles Leclerc in a woeful Ferrari car, manages an amazing 2nd place. With Vettel at the back if the field in 10th (only 11 cars finished), this performance from the young Monagasque goes some way to prove to Ferrari, that Charles Leclerc IS the Future of Ferrari.
OH I almost forgot We do it all again next weekend…….
Full Classified Results
Winner: Valtteri Bottas +25 points
2nd Charles Leclerc +18
3rd Lando Norris +16 (15 for 3rd, 1 for Fastest Lap)
4th Lewis Hamilton +12
5th Carlos Sainz + 10
6th Sergio Perez + 8
7th Pierre Gasly + 6
8th Esteban Ocon +4
9th Antonio Giovinazzi +2
10th Sebastian Vettel +1
11th Nicholas Latifi
Kvyat, Albon, Vertappen, Ricciardo, Stroll, Raikkonen, Grosjean, Magnussen, Russell.