Valtteri Bottas insisted before the season-opening Austrian Grand Prix on Sunday that he has what it takes to win the Formula One world championship.
Thats a tall order with six-time F1 champ Lewis Hamilton as his colleague at Mercedes. Particularly as Hamilton needs one more title to equivalent Michael Schumachers record of seven.
But Bottas revealed remarkable composure to win Sundays race – which had no fans present due to the coronavirus pandemic – with Hamilton just a half-second behind him for spells. Hard for Bottas when Hamiltons among the very best chauffeurs at surpassing in F1 history, and when a disorderly race reboots three times behind a safety vehicle.
” There was definitely a fair bit of pressure. One security automobile was OK however by the last I resembled, Come on – once again?” a relieved Bottas stated.
” There were many opportunities for Lewis to take the lead if I made a small mistake and he was truly fast today. I managed to keep it together, could really manage the race from my side, and theres obviously no better way to begin the season.”
The race had actually looked like a straight fight between the 2 Mercedes, as has been the case so frequently in the last few years, but late drama in Spielberg guaranteed otherwise.
” It seemed like a victory today. 2nd location is something I never ever would have expected,” said Leclerc, who started from seventh.
” I will rank this as one of my best races, I didnt do many mistakes.”
Hamilton crossed second but completed fourth after getting a late time charge.
Bottas kneeled with the winners trophy and the podium trio – consisting of second-place Charles Leclerc for Ferrari and third-place Lando Norris for McLaren – held up a black T-shirt with “End Racism” written on it.
Nine of 20 chauffeurs abandoned, consisting of both Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Alexander Albon – who tried to surpass Hamilton on the outside with 10 laps left, touched wheels and flew off track.
It was much better to be up ahead.
” I evaded a couple of bullets today,” Bottas said after the 8th F1 win of his career.
Aussie Renault chauffeur Daniel Ricciardo retired with a suspected “cooling issue”, while his teammate Esteban Ocon completed in eighth location.
Daniel Ricciardo of Australia and Renault Sport F1 comes in for a tyre modification (Getty) Hamilton was given a five-second time charge for triggering Albons crash, having previously been hit with a three-place grid penalty after an event in Saturdays qualifying was examined by stewards.
” It was just a slipup by Lewis at the end of the day and it d be great if he apologised for it,” Red Bull team principal Christian Horner stated.
” This sport can be pretty ruthless often and it seems like todays been among those days. Alex drove an excellent race, he didnt should have that.”
” Today was a tip of what Formula 1 can be like and, often, its unkind,” Ricciardo stated.
” Its a shame to retire early, however we had a cooling concern and we needed to retire the car as a preventative measure prior to we did any additional damage. I believe there are a great deal of positives from the weekend.
” Our low fuel pace looked strong and we understand we have a bit to learn on high fuel. We can take a lot from it and its great we have another opportunity next weekend. Well discover and move forwards.”
” It was a common very first race of the season with lots of things going on throughout and some possible high benefit for anyone finishing the race range. We didnt manage that totally with Daniels retirement as a precaution for a cooling concern,” Renault Team Principal Cyril Abiteboul said.
” Ahead of next week, we need to concentrate on the primary unfavorable of the weekend: the car dependability that not just cut Daniels race short however likewise affected Estebans develop to qualifying earlier in the weekend jeopardizing his starting position.”
F1 remains in Austria next Sunday, then goes to Hungary as part of an eight-race European swing.
The rest of the calendar stays uncertain amid the pandemic. The cancelled Australian GP had originally been arranged as the opening race of the 2020 season in March.
The safety car came out a second time on Lap 52 and again after the best tire flew off the front of Raikkonens vehicle and narrowly missed Vettels cars and truck.
After that restart, Albon made a little hasty however daring proceed the exterior of Hamilton, who appeared to restrain him just as he was passing.
Norris sent McLarens garage into raptures, and threw social distancing out of the window amid the bliss as CEO Zak Brown hugged everyone in sight.
His festivity was understandable.
It was the 20-year-old British chauffeurs first career podium and his superb final lap was the fastest of an interesting opening race. Norris became the youngest British chauffeur to secure a podium surface and the third youngest ever in F1. Just Verstappen and Lance Stroll were more youthful.
All motorists used “End Racism” T-shirts before the race, however six motorists did not take the knee: Verstappen, Leclerc, Kimi Raikkonen, Daniil Kvyat, Antonio Giovinazzi and Carlos Sainz Jr
Daniel Ricciardo (Renault), Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean (Haas), Stroll (Racing Point), George Russell (Williams), Raikkonen (Alfa Romeo) and Kvyat (AlphaTauri) also deserted.
When Magnussen went off track after attempting to surpass Esteban Ocons Renault, a very first safety car was released for 2 laps– permitting Hamilton to claw back a couple of seconds on Bottas.
When the race re-started on Lap 30, Bottas got away cleanly.
However moments later on Vettel attempted to pass Sainz on the outdoors but misjudged his attack, spinning his cars and truck after nudging into the McLaren and losing numerous positions.
Hamilton hid right behind Bottas for the next 20 laps however could not discover a way past.
” Our low fuel pace looked strong and we know we have a little bit to find out on high fuel. We can take a lot from it and its good we have another possibility next weekend. It was the 20-year-old British chauffeurs first career podium and his outstanding last lap was the fastest of an amazing opening race. Norris became the youngest British chauffeur to protect a podium surface and the 3rd youngest ever in F1. Only Verstappen and Lance Stroll were more youthful.
. Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP and a few of the F1 motorists take a knee on the grid in support of the Black Lives Matter motion (Getty)Hamilton, the only Black chauffeur in F1, used a T-shirt with Black Lives Matter on the front and End Racism on the back.
Verstappen was chasing a hat technique of wins at the Red Bull Ring, however his race ended early while Sebastian Vettels unpleasant type from last season rollovered as he ended up 10th.
Hamiltons three-place grid penalty pressed Verstappen as much as 2nd put on the grid. Norris leapt to third and Albon to 4th.
Bottas made a strong start from pole position while Hamilton took a bit to overtake Norris and Albon, however he was gifted a position as Verstappen crawled to a stop.